PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT (And Other Publishing Myths)

1331923161599_760411This week we’re talking publishing myths — and which ones we’d like to personally bust. What I have found interesting, since I started telling people I wrote a book, is how often I hear these two things:

“So, are you going to be the next JK Rowling?” (Um, I wish?)

“So, are you going to be the next 50 shades?” (Um, no. NO.)

I have also fielded a ton of questions around the following: Do you get to design your own cover? (No, thankfully, because it would probably only be one step above bubble letters and stick figures); Why does it take so long for your book to come out? (There’s an entire process and teams of people working hard for sometimes more than two years to bring a book to shelf); Guess you can retire now that you have a book deal? (*insert maniacal laughter*); How great is it to sit around in your pjs all day and just write words? (I’m not sure … let me ask around); How did you figure out who to send it to at the publishing house? (I didn’t, my agent did); How much did you have to pay for the editing part of it? (Zero. That’s all part of a traditional book deal!); How many books have you written? (Three to get one published) You wrote two books that will never get published? Why don’t you just self-publish them? (They were my practice books, and should probably stay inside my computer files…also, self-publishing isn’t easy…)

But of all the misnomers about publishing, probably the biggest for me is this:

Once you’ve done it, it’s easy to do it again (or, Practice makes perfect).

I’ve had many a conversation around what the hardest part of publishing is. Writing the book … Finding an agent … Getting a book deal … Marketing and promotion … and while each of those stages are challenging (at times brutally so), for me nothing has been tougher (so far) than book two.

My book two was really book four, so I wasn’t a complete beginner, but that didn’t make things any easier. I should clarify that the writing of the book actually went quite well, once I got into it. But the lead up to book two made me question my skills as a writer — made me wonder if my first book might have been merely a fluke.

I had a two-book deal, but the second book was TBD. So once book one (COME AWAY WITH ME) was put to bed, it was time to turn our attention to the second book — which meant I had to come up with proposals for ideas to send to my editor. This should have been simple, if not easy — I am one of those writers with too many ideas and not enough time to execute them. However, book two had a lot more pressure on it — it had to be the right follow-up to Come Away with Me. And that one, incredibly important criteria sent me in a bit of a tailspin.

Turns out every book is hard, even if you’ve already written a handful of them — a lesson that has been both comforting, and a little terrifying, to learn.

I’m happy to say that once the idea for book two was sorted out, the story flowed from my fingers beautifully (though not entirely effortlessly — hey, it’s still a lot of work, this writing thing), and I’m as excited for this book as I am for COME AWAY WITH ME!

Tell me … which myth do you think most needs to be busted? 

 

 

 

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Karma Brown is the author of COME AWAY WITH ME (MIRA/Harlequin, September 2015), an emotional story of one woman’s discovery that life is still worth living, even if it’s not the life you planned. Karma is also a National Magazine award-winning journalist, and lives outside Toronto, Canada, with her family and their mischievous labradoodle puppy, Fred.

This article has 3 Comments

  1. I love this, and the reality of everything you mentioned. When people find out I’ve written a book (hoping to get it published SOME DAY!) I get asked similar questions and my favorite is one you mentioned – people assume once you get a book published your path is lined with endless money, lavish trips to fly around the world for book signings, and being able to quit your day job.
    Oh, if they had a clue we write simply because we can NOT write, that it is definitely not for the money! 🙂

  2. Book 2 nearly killed me. And technically, it’s not officially done yet. Still several rounds of revisions left to go.

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