This week on Romance Writers Weekly, Leslie Hachtel asks, “If you’re published, how is the business different than what you expected? If you’re planning to publish, what are your expectations?”
This is a sensitive subject for me at the moment. When I first began writing, I didn’t expect to publish. As time passed, a beta reader suggested I query my story. It wasn’t until I joined a writing group that I made strides toward being published.
I entered the publishing world first by signing on with a small press for my paranormal novella which was published as an e-book and later in paperback. Afterward, I won a contest with my novel, Hot as Blazes. By the next year, I’d obtained a contract with a major publisher. I was surprised by the number of editing rounds with the larger publisher. My wonderful editor taught me more than I’d learned from reading books, conferences or even from fellow writers.
For me, getting published wasn’t about becoming a best-selling novelist but the hope of gaining a following of readers. As far as earnings, enough cash to pay for our family’s annual beach rental would be satisfying enough.
Sadly, neither goal has come to pass. To date, I’ve received one e-mail from a reader. Though only one, it was the best review I could have wished for. Reviews on my four published works have been above average. However, sales have yet to earn enough to even cover my annual RWA membership or the premium version of my WordPress website for a year.
A writer friend told me it took her seven years to build a following so I have a few years to go. I’ve never been a social butterfly and find the marketing aspect of authorship extremely difficult. I’ve also found, unless you’re a best-selling author, promotion from any publisher is minimal at best. However, it you land a good editor, what you’ll learn will be worth the percentage in royalties.