Life as a Published Author

This week I’m answering questions from readers, and today I’m responding to Megan, who was curious about why published authors always talk about being so busy. What’s taking up so much of their time? Megan’s trying to decide if she’s really ready to take on everything publication would entail, since her life is pretty full already.

I think Megan’s smart to consider this. Sometimes the dream of finally being a “published author” is different from the reality. So here are a few hints.

Life is going toย get harder, not easier. There will be so much to do that you never really thought about. The minute that publishing deal is done, you might begin receiving requests from the publisher. Do you have a video we can show our sales reps? Can you send us your thoughts on cover design? Do you have any other ideas for your book title? And that’s just the beginning.

You’ll be busier than you can imagine. If you’re contracted for multiple books, consider that 18 months from now, you may be simultaneously trying to promote book #1, edit book #2, and write book #3. All on top of your current job and family responsibilities.

The writing itself can be more challenging. This may be the first time you’ve written under contract and under deadline, especially in book-length works. If you’ve always written on your own schedule, with no one to please but yourself, it could be a rude awakening.

The necessity for marketing can be daunting. You already know you’ll need to be doing everything you can to engage your tribe, using social networking and anything else at your disposal. Around the time of a book release, the time commitment can be overwhelming.

Did you get an advance? Staring at a blank screen is a totally different thing when people have already paid you money for words you haven’t written yet.

Are you ready for the pressure? Are you ready for the demands on your time and energy? What are you doing to prepare yourself for your dream coming true?

What does the “dream”of being a published author look like for you?

Posted in

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Books & Such Literary Agency. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. Life as a Published Author | Grace Bello on April 2, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    […] Life as a Published Author […]

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  3. Kaela on May 10, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    This is a great post…another one that would be so helpful is an attempt to answer the question you posed at the end – just how SHOULD we be preparing ourselves? Haha because now I’m starting to freak out a little ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Leslie Einhaus on May 5, 2012 at 1:15 PM

    When I was in a MFA program, these types of things that Rachelle brings to the table time and again were never ever discussed. I don’t know if that is common or just the MFA prog I went to but I am extremely grateful for this “nuts and bolts” knowledge. I have such a passion for writing that I do say “bring it on.” I would love the opportunity to try! Some people might find what I am about to say cheesy but I am mean it with all my heart: Writing is the one thing I am truly passionate about! It’s what makes me tick and very much a part of who I am. Without it, I wouldn’t be me. Every job or career has its challenges and with being an author, yes it may be stressful at times or even a good chunk of the time, but it’s the one career I’d like to be stressful in because I love it so much! Does that make sense? I’ve tried one particular career where when the “water boils” aka the stress goes through the roof, I’d rather run. Because of my character I wouldn’t but inside I grew to feel that way in that field. I’ve been on deadline for stories many times and it can be hectic but I love the rush. I love a challenge and again it’s in writing and storytelling where I enjoy those challenges most!

  5. Mellanie Crouell on May 4, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Rachelle, I enjoy your post. I am currently about to release my fourth book. I do inform others who ask about publishing that it is time consuming. Thanks!

  6. Peter DeHaan on May 3, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    If it was easy, everyone would be a writer.

  7. […] Terrence King tells us how to avoid a self-publishing nightmare, and Rachelle Gardner asks us all to seriously consider is we are really ready to face life as a published author. […]

  8. […] shares her words of wisdom for those just dying to get published. Specifically, she shares that the dream of being published may be a teensy bit different from the reality. Read, learn, ย and don’t say you weren’t […]

  9. Janet on May 2, 2012 at 2:28 PM

    It looks scary busy. But the only way to overcome that fear is to pinch my nose and jump in feet first.

    Also…it looks to me like I’d better make a bunch of money up front because there’s no way I could do all that without quitting my day job. ; )

  10. Charlee Vale on May 2, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    The thing that has proven true over and over again about me is that I work better under pressure. My mind snaps into a completely different level of creativity and determination when I am given a structure and deadlines. I look forward to the challenge!


  11. James L. Rubart on May 2, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    Sorry, Rachelle, no time to comment.


  12. Joyce Scarbrough on May 2, 2012 at 10:00 AM

    First World author problems. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Carol J. Garvin on May 2, 2012 at 3:06 AM

    It’s been interesting to read all these comments and see so many different reactions to the reality you’ve described, Rachelle. There’s everything from “through rose coloured glasses” to “OMG, I’ll never be able to do this!”

    Our backgrounds probably play a big role in how we will approach the rigors of the published life. I owned my own professional dog show business, and for each event I handled everything, from contracting with the hosting kennel clubs to creating the initial publicity brochures, copying and mailing thousands of them, receiving all the entries and money, recording all the information on computer, creating catalogues and doing advertising layouts, preparing judges’ sheets, ordering ribbons, then going to the event and dealing with hundreds of people. There’s more, but you get the idea. It was hectic preparing for one event, but there were multiple events in the works, so there were overlapping preparations going on all the time. I ran on little sleep and lots of adrenalin at times, but everything got done. Despite being exhausted and occasionally overwhelmed by the never-ending schedule, I loved what I was doing. And I think that’s the secret.

    What does the dream look like for me? If the opportunity to be published arrives, I expect to go into it well prepared with the knowledge that there will be pressure, schedules and stress. I know it’s part of that job and I’m looking forward to it as a new and challenging adventure. I’ll also have more time to cope with it since I no longer have young children at home and I’m retired from my previous business. I realize that’s an advantage a lot of younger writers may not have!

    Thanks for providing this opportunity for a great discussion!

  14. Kate Larkindale on May 2, 2012 at 12:37 AM

    All I can say is it’s a good thing I’ve already learned to live without sleeping….

  15. On Keeping On « J. L. Mbewe on May 2, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    […] Check out what Rachelle Gardner says about Life as a Published Author. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in […]

  16. Priscilla on May 1, 2012 at 11:40 PM

    This post was probably the wake up call I needed. I always dreamed of being a writer, but I have a progressive disability and as holding down a job became more difficult, I had to set aside my WIP. I had to stop working because of my disability and recently began to focus on writing. I had a book self published locally with my father about his memoirs of the ministry he began here in The Bahamas with Haitian immigrants. Now I’ve finished my WIP, and I’m itching to have it published. Those who’ve read it think I should try to get an agent, and I must admit I’ve been dreaming of book covers and the like! But after researching agents and the publication process, reading blogs, tips and advice, I’ve become worried that with my disability I might not be up to the challenge. I’ve been praying about it for months while working on a query letter and proposal. Can I do this?
    This post really gave me a good dose of reality. Thank you.

  17. Shari Lopatin on May 1, 2012 at 10:50 PM


    This was an exceedingly helpful post; thank you for publishing it! Yes, I’m ready. I’m so, so, sooooooo ready. Ha! But this post has also given me solid aspects to think about, ahead of time, as to better prepare my schedule and my family. Not to mention, perhaps I can start thinking about answers to some of the questions you raised ahead of time, too.

  18. Joanne Bischof on May 1, 2012 at 10:49 PM

    It is insanely busy…balancing a 3 book contract and 3 kids + home-school, but I am LOVING every minute of it. I keep pinching myself that I get to live my dream ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Sharon K Mayhew on May 1, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Congratulations to Kristen, who just got “the call.”

    Wonderful post! I anxiously await the busy life of a published author.

    The advance for books not written makes me nervous though.

  20. Erica McNeal on May 1, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    And, then there are those of us who chose to self-publish… and the work load is INSANE… unbelievably exciting, but definitely more than I expected. Great post Rachelle!

  21. Kristen Ethridge on May 1, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    This is so timely, Rachelle! I just got THE CALL from Love Inspired at 9:30 this morning…and had the revision letter by 4:00 pm. Here we go! Whoa!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. terri tiffany on May 1, 2012 at 9:09 PM

    I’ve loved reading all these comments. I personally had to step back this year from pursuing my dream. The timing in my life for a book contract and all that it means (IF I had a book written that was good enough to be accepted) wouldn’t work right now with all that’s going on in my life.
    But publication is still my dream and when the timing’s right, I will go at it again:)

  23. Vicki Orians on May 1, 2012 at 9:05 PM

    I think the life of a writer sounds wonderful. I can handle the deadlines. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Alana White on May 1, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    This really hit home for me, and I really appreciate all these comments. My first historical mystery (Renaissance Florence) comes out in December and I feel as if I have hit a tidal wave of, ta-da: social media. What I try to keep reminding myself is that I’m in control here. I can pick and choose. I am so fortunate that I don’t have to have another job to support myself. The trick is just to keep it all in perspective and enjoy. Believe me, I know how lucky I am. I just need to keep remembering how hard it was to get this far. Good luck to everyone.

  25. June on May 1, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately. I’ve been putting so much pressure on myself to edit my ms and I don’t even have a book deal yet. I came to the conclusion that I’d better slow down and enjoy the process while I still can–before “official” pressure rears it’s head. Thanks for the confirmation.

  26. David Todd on May 1, 2012 at 6:18 PM

    My famous author dreams date back to 2001 to 2003, until they were dashed at my first writers conference. Strangely, I never had dreams of big advances, people lined up to have me sign a book, or best seller status. My dream was just one thing: The pub house coming to my house and setting up an awesome computer home network for me, so that I could communicate with them adequately and keep in touch with hoards of fans. The computer is my bete noir, so that’s where my dream went.

    Now, I have not writing dream beyond what I can do myself.

  27. Patrick on May 1, 2012 at 4:30 PM

    This post is spot on. Since I signed my three-book deal with Harvest House, all of these the above have happened – Except they did like my book titles.

    As far as deadlines, I have tricked myself into thinking that my deadlines are actually three months earlier and I’m writing to my “imaginary date.” Since I have a full time job and a place to keep up, it can be very challenging.

    I have been working on increasing my network through FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter and have pushed my score up around 50. I have also contacted Thomas Umstaadt about redesigning my webpage so that my Series blog is incorporated into the site. It will cost me bu I think it will be worth it.

    That’s the bad news.

    The good news is that I’m loving every minute of it. ๐Ÿ™‚


    • Joseph Jerome on May 1, 2012 at 11:40 PM


      I love your realistic optimism. Or is it optimistic realism?

      All these negatives don’t really seem so bad. I feel like I’ve been asleep before I started to write. now, I would not change a thing.

  28. P. J. Casselman on May 1, 2012 at 4:13 PM

    OK, here comes another silly pastor comparison, but the life you describe is quite similar to what we contend with. We social network in homes, hospitals, care facilities, and even online. While preparing this week’s sermon, we’re also planning tomorrow night’s Bible study and contemplating our series for Pentecost.

    My vision for “life of an author” is somewhat blurry, because while I want to see my books published and I’m willing to strongly market them, I don’t want to be under contract. Instead, I would like to write some quality books over the next few years and see them published by a company with marketing power. Is this “part-time” or “seasonal” type of author a realistic goal or a delusional path in today’s literary market?

  29. K.L. Parry on May 1, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    A two bedroom apartment instead of one.

  30. Karen Chatelain on May 1, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    This is the kind of “busy” I’ve been dreaming of. Being retired, I do have a part-time job that I would gladly give up to be able to be busy at what I love more than anything…writing…and everything that goes along with it. I look forward to the day I can be doing all those things you listed.

  31. Ruth Chambers on May 1, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    What did the life of a published author look like to me? Six pairs of new shoes and a haircut! When my novel was published we were as poor as I was naรฏve. I spent my advance on things Iโ€™d done without far too long. This was back in the late 80s so things were different than they are today. Coiffed and shod, being published was a lot of hard work. To get to the publication stage, I had to work with an editor to bring the novel up to the publishersโ€™ standards. The nuts and bolts of editing and typing were daunting. I worked full time and had a family with expectations of my role as wife and mother to continue uninterrupted. Without an underestanding, supportive boss, I couldn’t have done it. Pre Internet, I spent many hours writing newspapers and magazines to get reviews of my novel, giving talks in support of my work, traveling to book signings. I was suddenly called on to submit short stories, write articles, etc. I loved every minute. That was a long time ago. My husband has become jaded waiting for “the second wave.” Iโ€™d love to know what it would be like to publish a novel today. I promise you, Iโ€™d use the advance to promote my book and worry less about my hair and shoes.

  32. Jana Dean on May 1, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    “Constant toil is the law of art, as it is of life.”


    ‘Nuff said.

  33. Joanne Kraft on May 1, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    LOVED this post, Rachelle. As a published author, my words are for those “Authors-in-Waiting”…

    My eyes were opened once my contract was signed. Don’t let the hard work discourage. Yes, it’s incredibly overwhelming at times. Yes, there are days I wonder “Why do I do this?”. But, just like the first night I brought home my baby from the hospital, the work was overwhelming. There were moments I was discouraged…BUT it was ALL worth it.

    The same can be said about authorship. The late nights. The tear-stained moments, the exhaustion…ALL worth it.

    Each time I stand before a group and encourage and share the message I’ve written about, well, there’s nothing like it.

    ALL worth it.

  34. Patti Mallett on May 1, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    You have offered much to ponder, as always, Rachelle, thanks!!

    Top in my mind right now are the things from the past I would never have thought I could accomplish, but did.

  35. Jill on May 1, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Stress is good for the human spirit and, therefore, good for the artistic spirit.

  36. Douglas Thompson on May 1, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    A timely post for me. Just last night I completed the (first draft) of my Christian crime novel’s crescendo moment. You may be happy to know -yes the bad guy gets caught. The sun also begins to shine and American Idol is once again picked up for another season.

    The bottom line is that after I polish this GEM up for it’s appropriate place in the center of your desk(top of the pile), I’ll need to seriously consider all this “successful writer pressure” you’ve been talking about.
    Being a starving Civil Engineer in this economy from HELL as well as the diabetic father of three wonderful but also diabetic children, whom we home school, I have no idea what real pressure is all about yet.

  37. Donna Pyle on May 1, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    I’ve given this a lot of thought as various projects shout for time in my day and space on the page. Thanks so much for this concise list of what to expect! The way I see it, any road worth traveling offers bends, dips, steep grades, and potholes. But traveling them strengthens us beyond measure and clarifies the end goal with each step.

  38. Lindsay Harrel on May 1, 2012 at 12:03 PM

    The grass is always greener, right? When we’re on this side of publication, we think, “If only I could…” Despite hearing all of that, I still want to be a published author. I want that to be my full-time job. So I’m going to keep working toward it.

    But maybe I won’t be in such a rush to get there (I tend to be impatient…). I need to just pray for the Lord’s timing. Because I can’t imagine doing all of that AND working full time somewhere else. I know it can be done, but wow. God knows my circumstances and He knows when I’ll be able (financially, mostly) to handle life as a published author.

    • Jennifer Major on May 1, 2012 at 12:22 PM

      Well said. I may write “God’s timing-not yours” on a post-it and slap it on my laptop.

  39. chris vonada on May 1, 2012 at 11:56 AM

    Thanks for the reality check Rachelle!!

  40. Josh C. on May 1, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    The only thing that sticks out to me is being paid for work I’ve yet to produce. This may be a reality for full-time writers, perhaps, but I don’t think I’d be comfortable with that. I’d much rather have a product on hand before taking a check.

  41. TC Avey on May 1, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    As I hope, dream and pray about becoming a published author, these sort of things come to mind. As I wait, I know God is preparing me for is to come. He knows my schedule and what I can and can’t handle. So while I am anxious to become a published author, I am leaving this in His all knowing hands.

  42. Matthew MacNish on May 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM

    The problem, I think, is that the chances of being this super busy being a professional writer, AND making enough money to be able to leave the job you already have are slim to none.

    Still, it is kind of inspiring thinking about dedicating that much time to writing and promoting your books when you know for a fact it will have concrete results.

    Thanks, Rachelle!

  43. kathryn Magendie on May 1, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    All that is true, but it’s still better than every other job I ever had in my entire life. The only other job that came a little closer to being “cool as this” was my personal trainer days, which I did love to do.

    The stress and busy is there, but it’s all for something that I love and that I created and not something I’m working for that someone else created or for someone else’s dream. It’s up to me what I put into it – though there are of course things out of my control and days I bang my head against a wall or feel “inadequate compared to someone else’s success,” but really, I am still in control of how I approach this life and what I put out into the world.

  44. Daniel F. Case on May 1, 2012 at 11:19 AM

    Ahhhhh. The dream. That wonderful dream. Fame, fortune, and fun, the leisurely writing life of the wealthy novelist.


    I gave that dream up about the time I began meeting a few real, live, multi-published authors who I assumed were living it, because they weren’t afraid to tell me the truth. Things like:

    “You think rejection is hard? Try rejection when there’s a shelf full of books with your name on the spine in every Barnes and Noble.”

    “I hope my next royalty check is big enough to cover my taxes. I’m still making payments on last year’s.”

    “It doesn’t matter how many best-sellers I’ve had. My worth is based on how my current book sold last month.”

    And perhaps the most poignant (at the time, at least), a successful multi-published author who said, “I envy the place where you are. You can still write what you want to write. You don’t have to pander to the market and write what sells, no matter how much it makes you want to barf. Enjoy it while you can.”

    Yes I still have a dream, but with the help of my mentors it’s more realistic and less likely to turn into a nightmare.

    And I look forward to the challenge.


  45. Cherry Odelberg on May 1, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    ” Staring at a blank screen is a totally different thing when people have already paid you money for words you havenโ€™t written yet.”
    This is one type of pressure I hate the most. It is like an unpaid bill gathering dust on the table. So, I favor having the manuscript finished before I sign a deal-edits and rewrites are trouble enough. Can’t I just be a one book wonder for an indefinite period of time?

    “Are you ready for the pressure? Are you ready for the demands on your time and energy?”
    Can we just skip pressure, please and have a little peace? Time to contemplate is like air and food and water to a writer.

    “What are you doing to prepare yourself for your dream coming true?”
    Looking in my wardrobe to see if I have anything ready to wear. Checking the closet for a proper touring suitcase. Catching up on sleep and exercise and relationships so I will be ready for the famine when the marketing begins.
    Truthfully; the only thing I am doing is practicing and honing the writing. I want to be ready when the right doors open.

  46. Ann Bracken on May 1, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    This really solidifies the advice about writing your second and third books while waiting for the first to be published. Anything we do now will help alleviate the stress down the road.

    I’ll definitely have to switch priorities around if I get published. Every success comes with sacrifice. Thanks for making us aware of a few we might not have anticipated.

  47. Jeanne T on May 1, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    I love your dosese of reality, Rachelle. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s good to pursue this dream with my eyes wide open. Because I have friends who are newly published, I have had the opportunity to glimpse what their new reality looks like. I do hope to be published, and I’m working to prepare my life for that one day hope. Working on becoming more social media savvy and connected is one of my biggest goals right now. I’m pretty good about setting writing goals and doing what’s necessary to meet them. Working under deadlines like what some friends have encountered…I’ll have to cross that bridge if/when I get there.

    • Jennifer Major on May 1, 2012 at 10:54 AM

      *when* Jeanne, WHEN.

      • Jeanne T on May 1, 2012 at 11:21 AM

        Thank you, Jennifer. When. ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. Connie Almony on May 1, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    My dream looks like me basking in the sun as I read all my rave reviews in the latest magazine
    Okay, really its me in front of the computer, scheduling social media, writing on my blog, answering comments and emails … oh yeah, writing a book in there somewhere … and writing speeches for women’s groups. All while desperately trying not to get bummed by that one (or more) review that tore my baby to shreds :o).

    • Connie Almony on May 1, 2012 at 9:45 AM

      Oh no, I didn’t realize when you put something in brackets, the comments delete them. The above comment was supposed to read “record screeching noise here” right after me reading rave reviews. Learn something new everyday.

  49. Patricia Zick on May 1, 2012 at 9:41 AM

    I’m ready for it all. I am a published author but it’s been awhile since I put anything out there because I was out in the world working for others to earn the living my published books were not. Now for the first time, I’m able to work for me and I have to say I agree with those who say bring it on. All the things you stated only make me even more grateful that I no longer work for a corporation or a school board or a state agency. This is the good life.

  50. Richard Mabry on May 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Rachelle, You’ve got it right. It reminds me of the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.” Right now I’m working on edits for novel #5, trying to write novel #6, continuing to market novels #1-4, while maintaining what’s laughingly called my life.
    Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy to be in this position, but it certainly isn’t a life of eating bonbons, watching daytime TV, and enjoying fame… like an agent. : )
    Thanks for the dose of real life.

  51. Lori on May 1, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    I’m already busy trying to make ends meet by doing “other” things while waiting for my novels to be ready. In my opinion I’m willing and ready to trade my current busy-ness in for the good of my novels. Work is work, and I’d be thrilled to be working on something I created and enjoy.

  52. Heidi Lee Munson on May 1, 2012 at 9:13 AM

    Thanks Rachelle! I’ve realized through the editing process that time is on my side right now. I’ve been working on strengthening my tribe and determining the direction for my next book with only self-imposed deadlines.
    This is giving me time to also put myself in a better Financial position to sustain my family when I do finally realize the craziness you mention above. Terrifying and exciting to think about at the same time.
    I appreciate you for all that you share.

  53. Angela Brown on May 1, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    A blogger named Sophia Chang started “A Day in the Life of…” series. I happened to be the lucky “first” for the series. LOL! It happened to be during the time of my daughter’s community basketball league and I did my daily breakdown on one of the busiest days of the week. It was astounding to see just how busy I really was. Sort of like doing a daily journal of what you eat only to baffle yourself at realizing how you snack your way into a daily 2500 calorie “issue”. But when I looked at my daily schedule breakdown, I also looked at ways to improve my use of time, not that there was really much room, but I did so with this publishing aspiration in mind.

    The one truth about having my publishing dream come true – whenever it happens (crossing fingers, toes, eyes, turning in a circle three times, and chanting, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…”) – is that the bills will continue coming. Rent won’t let me wait until a royalty check comes in two years from now if I get an agent and a traditional contract in the next 2 to 3 months. My credit cards won’t give me a two year delay and hold the interest build up. So my publishing dream is one that I’ve always had to wriggle in between the daily “have to”s. With a contract, it will wriggle in with some deadline pressure, but I know I can do it.

  54. Wendy on May 1, 2012 at 9:10 AM

    Iโ€™m thankful to have witnessed several dear friends whoโ€™ve gone through this. Theyโ€™ve been gracious to show me the ropes as they climb. Iโ€™m inclined to say Iโ€™m ready. At the very least, Iโ€™ll provide humorous fodder for when Iโ€™m pulling my hair out, dangling like a monkey on those same ropes.

    Laughter is a legitimate survival mechanism.
    ~ Wendy

  55. Anne Mateer on May 1, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    I appreciate you telling the truth about this, Rachelle! I never imagined the increase not only in workload but in pressure and in learning to juggle several things at once. It makes me very thankful that publication did not happen for me when I first wanted it to! While some can handle all that and small children, too, I could not have. This tends to be an all-consuming, more-than-full-time job, especially when you are publishing on a yearly schedule.

  56. Stephen H. King on May 1, 2012 at 8:58 AM

    Wow, sounds exactly like the life of an independent author, except for the advance and the pressure of deadlines. But I’m currently out there promoting three books while I write two more (I got hooked into a non-fiction idea, and it’s working well so far). It’s a busy, busy project, but it’s rewarding. I received my February royalties last week; it was nice. March’s will be nicer. April’s royalties, I just calculated, after taxes will be enough to pay the car payment and my utilities, if I think of it like that. Otherwise it’ll be a nice entertainment boost to the budget while my day job continues to cover the boring stuff.

    Nobody ever promised I’d get rich at this or any other venture. But this one’s turning out to be worth my time, and it’s certainly proving to be an exciting time to be an author!

  57. henya on May 1, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    Yes, I dream about being published. But dreaming is not a reality. Meanwhile, I’m editing….editing….editing…and some more.

    • Jennifer Major on May 1, 2012 at 9:35 AM

      And don’t forget revising, re-working and re-thinking. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • henya on May 1, 2012 at 10:43 AM

        Till I’m brain-dead. But yes! You’re right, indeed!

  58. Raychelle Muhammad on May 1, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    Thank you, Rachelle. This is a very valuable post. These are also some great “problems” that I am one day looking forward to having! Sharing!

  59. Jennifer Major on May 1, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    I’d love to say “bring it!!”.
    Okay. Clears throat…

    Bring it!!

    Since I do diddly squat around the house anyway, I may as well not be here. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    All I need is a schedule, a bucket of Earl Grey and my cell phone. I do my best organizing and creative work under deadlines. AND I can rant and rave in American Sign Language, so almost anyone in a room who is talking to me won’t have a clue that I’m talking back and loosing it.
    So yeah.
    Bring it.

    • Jeanne T on May 1, 2012 at 10:10 AM

      You’re funny, Jennifer! ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Jennifer Major on May 1, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        Thanks. But seriously…bring it!

        I just signed that too.

    • P. J. Casselman on May 1, 2012 at 4:01 PM

      Why does it not surprise me you drink Captain Picard’s tea? ๐Ÿ˜›

      • Jennifer Major on May 1, 2012 at 4:22 PM

        Au contraire mon frere. Captain Picard drinks MY tea.

  60. Peter Jackson on May 1, 2012 at 8:13 AM

    An interesting wake up call! Nevertheless something to aspire towards. Thanks for a look at the “real world.”

  61. kiff on May 1, 2012 at 7:37 AM

    A friend asked me late last year “are you ready for the dramatic change your life will take when you become a published author?” and I have to admit it was not until then that I gave it some thought.

    life for me as a published author will involve having to make permanent decisions. I have to keep saying this all the time, I live outside of the US and realise that to live my dream I may eventually have to leave my job (as there is no way I would get so much time off to do promote my book) or even have to leave my home country. in the end I may have to relocate.

    Though I do not have children or family to take care of, I am a home owner. I prefer not to worry about it too much now, because when the times comes at that point, I will definitely have to work everything out.

  62. Brigid Kemmerer on May 1, 2012 at 7:13 AM

    My debut novel (STORM) came out last Tuesday. I have a full time job, and two kids, one of whom is a baby who can’t seem to understand that he’s supposed to be sleeping through the night at 8 months. ๐Ÿ˜›

    My third book is due this fall, I have a stack of page proofs to get through by Friday, and I’m going gangbusters trying to promote the first book. All while working 40 hours and raising my kids. I’m not going to lie — I’m insanely busy, and living on caffeine. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, because it’s an amazing feeling. I drove to libraries and did school visits and did all kinds of online promo and got over 100 people to my launch event this Saturday. But I also had to leave my kids with a sitter for a lot of weekend time (when my time with them is already so limited), and I had to sacrifice time with my husband. It’s definitely a balancing act.

    Just because it’s fun and a dream come true doesn’t mean it’s not a metric ton of hard work, too. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Great post, Rachelle!

    • carol brill on May 2, 2012 at 7:51 AM

      wow, I am in awe at your juggling act.

  63. Rebecca Belliston on May 1, 2012 at 6:58 AM

    Wow. That just summed up my life. With my first book recently published, I’m struggling to find time to write and edit the next two. It’s fun, it’s amazing, but it’s a lot of hard work.

  64. carol brill on May 1, 2012 at 6:57 AM

    Rachell, thanks for telling it like it is–or could be.
    Just curious, if a novel is accepted and edited by a traditional publisher, does the editor go ahead and make the corrections, or do they mark up a MS for the writer to edit/rewrite.
    And, I know it probably depends, but how much time does a writer typically get to rewrite?

  65. Luke Alistar on May 1, 2012 at 6:00 AM

    I had a dream…once…

    Seriously, though, that sounds fantastic. I look forward to the day when I can be super busy being a writer, instead of super busy working a full time manual labor job and trying to write on the side when I’m really tired.

    As a self-published author (and one-time magazine published, so far), I actually earned nearly as much in royalties in April as I made working full time for $12 an hour the entire month. With college coming up this fall I’m not quite willing to take the plunge and work hard to make writing a paying career, since I’m still mostly unknown and self-published. The royalties are a nice addition to my savings account, though. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Someday. Someday it shall come to pass, and I shall be super busy being a published writer.

    ~Luke Alistar

    • Luke Alistar on May 1, 2012 at 6:06 AM

      And I hardly had to do anything to earn those royalties…it was all on writing I did a year ago or more. I was the guy who, unable to find a job in this terrible economy, wrote a steady 3,000 words a day for many months, so I have a huge backlog of work. Looking forward to editing it all and shoving it into the market.

    • Stephen H. King on May 1, 2012 at 8:51 AM

      Congratulations! You’ve reached a spot the vast majority of writers never do. Be proud of where you’ve come.

    • Cherry Odelberg on May 1, 2012 at 10:26 AM

      That is my kind of success story. I would be most content to earn royalties in the amount of a $12.00 per hour job.

  66. Neil Ansell on May 1, 2012 at 5:14 AM

    For me becoming a published writer was my dream come true. I received enough of an advance for me to take the leap, and I’ve enjoyed the public appearances, feature writing commissions and so on more than I expected. It would be hard though if I had to keep up a day job too, especially as I am a single parent. As for the money, I might as well be stacking shelves at walmart, but I don’t care, I am living my dream and I would rather be a poor writer than a rich banker.

  67. terri patrick on May 1, 2012 at 4:42 AM

    Yep. The frenzy sounds great. I’ve watched and learned as some of my writer friends have taken the leap from aspiring to published authors. I’d be delighted to have so many publishing professionals committed to the value of words I put on the page. I’ve already got a million…

    Got marketing covered. And, stories? Yep, got those too. I’ve also seen authors commissioned, advanced, promoted – then dropped on their heads with no warning.

    I’ve also got confidence. Corporate America is very intense and deadline driven. The publishing time line is a business model that can only exist in the world of stories.

    The bottom line will always be, what will the reader purchase? That’s the shotgun approach. Does a writer want to be beloved to pay the mortgage or after death? Both are viable agendas.

    Harry Potter and The Hunger Games peculated in obscurity for years. That’s the beauty of what you, Rachelle, do. As do authors. It’s a marvelous journey.

    Enjoy the ride!

  68. Jeannette Duwe on May 1, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    As a PR consultant by day, and a writer by moonlight, I can greatly appreciate the challenges you outlined. It’s so easy to think once a book is done (and destined for the best seller list), you are good to go and smell the roses. Not so – at least if you actually want to make a go of it! And that’s just the marketing end of things

    But, Rachel, I appreciate your candor. There is much to consider when deciding when it’s time to truly make the leap!


  69. Ibtihal Mahmood on May 1, 2012 at 2:15 AM

    Your article has motivated me to take my writing more seriously. I need to write and get published. The voices in my head keep getting louder, they need to be heard.

  70. Addy Rae on May 1, 2012 at 2:14 AM

    My dream of being a published author really just revolves around being allowed to write. A lot. With feedback and readers.

    Seriously, money doesn’t even factor in. It’s all about the writing for the sake of writing. Kind of flat for a dream I guess. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Cherry Odelberg on May 1, 2012 at 10:21 AM

      Yes, but free room and board is a heavy consideration.

      • Addy Rae on May 1, 2012 at 10:23 AM

        I’m not sure I get what you mean?

        • Cherry Odelberg on May 1, 2012 at 11:31 AM

          Addy, I so agree: “My dream of being a published author really just revolves around being allowed to write. A lot. With feedback and readers…Itโ€™s all about the writing for the sake of writing.”

          You said it well, BUT, for me there is the matter of needing food and shelter, and so making money becomes an issue.

          • Addy Rae on May 1, 2012 at 12:49 PM

            Ah, I see what you mean! ๐Ÿ™‚

            I’m disabled (I need help with daily tasks and self care) so my food and shelter is provided. It isn’t a lot of food or good food, but I have the fortune of living with friends who don’t mind helping take care of me. So, food and shelter don’t really factor into the dream.

            On the other hand, I don’t get spending money or much extra past internet and phone, so it would be nice if I made some money writing so that I could be a little less frugal! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Katie Ganshert on May 1, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      I’m getting a kick out of all the comments.

      Because pre-publication, I was totally that girl who was like, “Bring it!” “What are these published writers complaining about? They have a book deal!” “I can’t wait for the busyness!”

      Now my debut hits shelves in a week.

      And yes, the journey has been filled with excitement and a lot of really fun firsts.

      But wow….it’s incredibly stressful and time-consuming. So much so, that people around me are like, “Aren’t you totally pumped!?” And I’m pretty sure I have that deer-in-the-headlights look while I nod my head.

      The dream of publication is so much different than the reality. I don’t think it’s something anyone can understand until they are there.

      Yes, there are highs. But there are also a lot of lows. And mainly, the daily grind.

      I actually wrote about it recently in this blog post:

      But despite all that, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

      • Katie Ganshert on May 1, 2012 at 11:07 AM

        whoops! Don’t know why my comment posted as a reply! Sorry about that!

        • Jennifer Major on May 1, 2012 at 12:19 PM

          Don’t worry. It’s the effects of pre-publicationitis.

          • ahmed on May 21, 2012 at 3:03 AM

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      • Jennifer Major on May 1, 2012 at 12:27 PM

        But isn’t “bring it” better than “run away now, you can’t do this”? If I don’t think in terms of a huge challenge, I hobble myself.

        Or…am I so utterly narcissistic to think you were referring to my comment? Most likely the narci…whatever.

        I’m walking away now.

        • Katie Ganshert on May 1, 2012 at 1:29 PM

          For sure! Bring It is the BEST attitude. One I’m still clinging to in this busy and very fun season. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Katie Ganshert on May 1, 2012 at 2:13 PM

        I didn’t mean “a lot of lows”. Sheesh! That sounds bad! I meant “some” lows. There aren’t a lot of lows – I promise!

        This is what I get for commenting in a hurry. ๐Ÿ™‚

  71. Sarah Allen on May 1, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    Gah! Why does that all sound so fantastic?

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

    p.s. I’m serious.

    • Katie Ganshert on May 1, 2012 at 10:58 AM

      You sound like me! It all sounded so fantastic.

      But now I’m here – my debut hits shelves a week from today – and I’m too busy to stop and enjoy what’s happening. I have to actually remind myself. That picture up above makes me laugh….mainly because it’s so true! Published = perpetually frazzled

      • Dianna Dixon on May 1, 2012 at 11:53 PM

        sooo, is the pay good enough you can quit whatever other job you had or have? one day all i ant to do is write!

    • Sara on May 1, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      LOL. I love your reply because I thought the same thing. Great Sara(h) minds think alike?! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  72. Gabrielle Meyer on May 1, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I’ve always dreamed of being published, but I was busy having babies, remodeling a house and helping my husband get our business up and running. In January I started getting serious about my writing, pulled out my WIP, blew off the cyber dust and knocked out the first draft.

    That’s when I came across this blog and Jody Hedlund’s blog. Ever since then I feel like I signed up for a couple intense college courses. Blogging, social media, the publishing industry, writing craft books, blogs, conferences, retreats, agents, editors, ACFW, MBT and on and on! Not to mention working on my “tribe” – which is a part time job in itself. And all of this is just the beginning! I’ve been taking it one day at a time and learning as much as I can.

    I’ve been following Katie Ganherst, Keli Gwyn and Beth Vogt as they debut their first novels and I’m amazed just thinking about everything they are doing right now. Publishing isn’t the end, it’s just the beginning. I’m watching and learning – dreaming about my own publication some day, but doing so with knowledge and realistic expectations.