Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Grass May Be Greener, But.......

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Writers spend time (sometimes years), money (books, workshops,       conferences, etc.), sweat (typing away, hours and hours) and tears (from painful critique and rejections) trying to get published. In this day and age, a manuscript has to be practically perfect in grammar, spelling and all the variables (few adverbs, varying sentences, yadda yadda). Writers enter contests and receive helpful (or not) feedback, revise and send in to editors or agents, then play the waiting game.
Once a writer gets “The Call” (or “The Email” in this day of e-book publishing), and accept, they land on the “other side” of the fence. Is the grass greener on the side of being a published author? YES!  You bask in a Sally Field-esque glow (They like me! They really like me!) and accept congratulations from friends, supporters, family and colleagues. You realize (eventually) that you’ll soon see your name in print on a book cover (or an e-book), which is exciting beyond compare. All your hard work is finally over. Right?
The grass in the published “field” may be greener, but it grows *faster* -- whether your book is coming out from the “big six” in NYC or a small press. Promotion is now in the hands of the author. Long ago, a bad cover could tank your book sales but it was out of your hands. Your editor could orphan you—leaving your book waiting to fit into another editor’s schedule. Now plenty of authors are controlling their own cover art and editing their own books to leave the final edits easier to handle. But promotion is still key.
Promotion can range from free to a huge expense (RT ads, chapter excerpts bound with covers, on-line radio time, etc.). The new author has to make a lot of decisions – just how much can I afford? What kind of giveaways should I offer? Do I join a huge blogfest? Do I attend a conference or workshop and offer to present a topic, or spend the money on a professionally designed website, or two, or three?
And then there’s the next book, waiting to be written.
So yes, the grass is greener, but it needs a lot more mowing. The dog and cat might get fed, but dinner may be late getting to the table, the laundry forgotten in the dryer, the kitchen floor still sticky while you, the new published author, plot and plan to build your platform, entice readers with tweets, Facebook and blog updates, and write. Congratulations and best of luck!
You’re gonna need it.

Meg Mims is a freelance writer and author of Double Crossing, a historical romantic suspense coming out from Astraea Press in August of 2011. Are you a True Grit fan? Then check out Double Crossing,


  1. There is such a fine line between trimming the lawn and mowing it into oblivion. You have to promo, sure, but you can't make a pest out of yourself while doing it. I hang with other writers and pay attention to the things they do and what works for them. It seems to me that being friendly and available to chat, as well as posting on other blogs and doing anything that gets your name out there where people see it.

  2. A very good comparison Meg. Most writer spend so much time trying to find their way over or through that fence that they forget that they will need a plan to tackle mowing that grass. You need to find the right balance between grabbing support and helping.

  3. I agree with both of you. Finding a balance between promo and "being social" as well as making time to write and keeping up with the tweeting, FB and blog postings... it's been an eye opener for me, all right! YOIKS.

  4. Thank you, Meg for telling the truth. So many people think that being a writer is a piece of cake. HAH! Your words help to educate them that we do this because we love it, not because it's easy.

  5. There's a LOT we give up, which I failed to mention. Like, watching TV or having time to play FB Farm Town or Scrabble. ;-D Seriously, we have to make decisions about time management. And budget - I'm still in the "throw receipts in a box and hope to God the tax elf can figure it out for me" mode. Blerg