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The Reality Of Being An Author
by Vanessa Grossett
10/14/2015 / Writing
So you want to be an author? I am not talking about writing a book here and there, I mean a professional author like Karen Kingsbury, Danielle Steele, Tricia Goyer, or Stephen King.
You want to write plenty of books; that sale millions of copies, be in the New York Times bestseller list, and receive great reviews in the Daily Mail or Independent newspaper. How hard can this be?
Many people have the myth that being an author is an easy job, you just sit down and write. In reality, it can be one of the most complex and loneliest jobs, there is.
The author of the book you're reading now, spend hours in front of a computer drafting, and re-drafting the manuscript. Authors have to do intense research, and make sure the writing flows, as well as coming up with plots.
Sometimes they can have what is known as 'writers block,' they haven't got a clue what write next. If they are agented, that is when agents like myself step in and help them with some ideas, and give them encouragement. If they are not agented, then they would normally take a break on the story until inspiration comes to them. This is why a manuscript can take around six months or more to write.
Still interested? Good, it doesn't end there. Once a manuscript is completed then comes the next task of finding the agent or publisher, which again doesn't come easy. Many, many authors face rejection, sometimes one after the other, until they get that 'yes'.
After a publisher is found, next comes more editing. Yes more editing! An author just spent hours on the computer redrafting their manuscript until it is polished, and they have to edit again. This is when you can find them, as the phrase goes, 'pulling their hair out,' or becoming discouraged, thinking 'Will this book ever reach the shelves.' Plus they have to stick to tight deadlines, as the publishers are on a schedule to have the book released, so it is late nights or early mornings for the writer, and plenty of coffee.
So the hard graft is done. A writer has the publisher, the manuscript is now in a book format, the cover design is done, and the book is ready to be released. Surely this must be it for the writer? Wrong next comes the biggest task of them all, and that is marketing. Some people don't think of writing as a business, especially Christian authors, they tend to see it more as a ministry. However if you want to write professionally and really progress in the industry you have to see it as a business, as well as glorifying God through your talent.
An agent and a publisher can only do so much. People are more interested in the author, and the product, which is the book.
This means you will have to market yourself, not just on a one off bases, it has to be a continual process, until you are in the position where you don't need to market yourself as much, since you have a large readership.
Like with all things, building up creditability takes time, you have to take it step by step. Some authors don't sell a book until after three months, so if you were thinking of getting rich quick, this certainly won't do that. However if you want sells to be quicker than three months, it is important to market yourself, build your creditability before the book has come out. I always tell my authors to do this, and it has worked in their favour.
As well as marketing yourself, you would also need to write your other books. Most authors have a schedule plan of when to market and when to write. For example, they would do three days of marketing and four days of writing, which means, yes they do work on the weekends. Their social life becomes non-existent, and if they have families, and are active in their church, they really have to balance.
There you have a life of an author, and this is just the surface. Though it is a lot of hard graft, if you're passionate about a career, and believe this is your God given talent, then you would stick with it all the way through. You will even enjoy it, as it is something that you love to do.
Think about when that book is in a bookstore or online, and don't get discouraged by bad reviews. Not everyone is going to like what you write. You can't please everybody. Just continue to enjoy the journey, and ask God to help you along the way.
Vanessa Grossett is a Literary Agent, and contributing writer for multi award winning Keep The Faith Magazine. She is also Outstanding Business Woman Finalist of 2017, visit www.theauthorscare.co.uk
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