Myth Busting – Our 3rd and Final Day
Money! Marketing! and More!
Myth: It’s all about the bottom line.
Truth: Yes, in the end, the publisher exists to make money. And the people who have the most say in whether your book gets published are the directors of sales and marketing. Everyone is looking for the books they can sell.
And yet…those on the front lines of acquiring books are typically people who love… great books. They didn’t go into this business to get rich. It’s a living yes, but not usually a lavish one. They went into publishing because they love the written word—yes, as much as you do. And let’s face it, you’re hoping to make money on your book too, right? So have faith—while publishing is indeed a business, it’s a business populated with people who care about more than just the bottom line. They care about publishing books they want to read.
Myth: Once your book hits the shelves, you can quit your day job!
Truth: I have seen too many writers stressing out, living advance-check-to-advance-check, getting desperate for the next contract because they’re running out of money… and how do you think this affects their ability to write well? Don’t even think about quitting your day job until you’re regularly making twice as much (in advances and royalties) per year as you need to cover all your bills and expenses.
Myth: But seriously, if you get a six-figure advance, THEN you can quit your day job.
Truth: Let’s look at how this would play out. Say you get an advance of $100,000. Most likely it will be paid out in four installments, and if you’re with a certain Big Six publisher (Random House) that last installment might not be until a full year after the book releases. That means over the next TWO years, you’ll receive four checks for $25,000. Right?
Wrong! First, your agent commission comes off the top. So your four checks will be $21,250. But guess what! You need to set aside 25% for taxes or you’ll be in deep trouble come April 15th. Now your four checks are worth $15,937 each. Can you live on four of those over the next TWO years? You decide.
Myth: “I thought I’d write a book, then speak a few times and sit back and relax.”
Truth: I think we all know better than this by now, don’t we? As one blog reader put it, the reality is that “Three months before my book’s release date, my manuscript is a distant memory. My time is filled with learning the ins and outs of social marketing and local networking opportunities.”
Publishers do put time, effort and money towards marketing books. But no matter how much they do, your participation is needed to reach YOUR audience. Read this post on Mike Hyatt’s blog: Why Authors Must Develop Their Own Platforms.
Myth: The marketing department at your publisher consists of one employee whose greatest talent is the ability to say “It’s not in the budget” in five languages.
Truth: It’s usually seven or eight languages, actually.
Myth: With persistance, every well-written book will eventually be published.
Truth: Sorry. No promises.
Myth: Your work doesn’t need editing.
Truth: If you believe this myth, please don’t pursue traditional publishing. You will be impossible to work with.
Myth: You don’t have to worry too much about spelling and grammar—the editor will fix it.
Truth: See answer to previous myth.
Myth: Once your manuscript goes to an editor at a publishing house, it will be torn to pieces, covered in red ink and completely scrutinized and changed until you’re in tears and your work isn’t recognizable as your own.
Truth: While the editorial process can be challenging (frustrating, painful, infuriating, humiliating), it’s my experience that 99% of authors come through it having learned, grown as writers, and believing their manuscript is much better for it. And believe it or not, many actually love the revision process.
AND THE BIGGEST MYTH OF ALL…
“Becoming a published author is a pipe-dream that will never come true.”
Truth: I’ve only been doing this job for about three years, and already I’ve been involved in helping at least 27 authors get their very first publishing deal. Dreams coming true all over the place!
TOMORROW… a WordServe client guest-posts about his myth-busting path to publishing.
© 2011 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent