On Being Published/pt1. School visits, festivals, book signings? Oh my!
Musings on life after publication
A lot has happened since I became a #publishedauthor in 2019. Good things, bad things, globally catastrophic things. Some of them were things I could control and some were not. My hope for this series of blogs is to help you get a handle on the former, whilst accepting the latter
When I was pregnant with my first child (bear with, this will be about writing eventually, I promise) I attended a series of pre-natal classes with my OH and five other expectant and enthusiastic couples. We learned a lot (sometimes too much) about labour and birth, but it was only after we’d all had our babies that we realised we had no idea at all about what to do next. We’d all been so focused on having the babies that we’d forgotten to ask what we do with them after.
There’s a reason debut novels are often referred to as ‘book babies’
Many writers spend a loooong time waiting for the moment when they can hold their precious newborn paperback in their hands, coo over it, stare lovingly at it for hours, and share its adorable cover on Facebook. But then comes the responsibility of caring for it, which new writers are not always prepared for. So let me share, and apologies if this is TMI...
Plenty of writers never get to thinking about the ‘what next’ stage – even the thought of publishing is fantasy enough, why tempt fate with facts ... like, for example, writing is not such a solitary pursuit as you might've hoped. That may be what draws many creatives to the blank page — the introvert’s dream job: quiet, personal, yours. Except that’s not actually the case. Certainly not for a children’s writer anyway.
Don’t shoot the messenger, but I’m about to screw this concept up and chuck it in the bin like a bad first draft
Assuming you publish more or less traditionally (in that you have an editor, possibly an agent, readers, and someone who cares about sales other than you) your book does not belong to you anymore. Publication isn’t going to be quiet and it’s about as personal as giving birth in front of an audience. Instead, you'll have responsibilities to others, which might at first seem anathema compared to your vision of being an author, when you began your first draft in a closed room, late at night with a glass of wine.
It’s Optional Though ... Right?
I recently attended a SCBWI event, where a delegate asked the literary agent, who was presenting, if school events were really necessary. The anticipation in the room was palpable, the hope, the longing to hear the words that would let them off the hook of basically being asked to become a children’s entertainer.
The words didn’t come. The answer: "Well yes, you really do"
Unless you have a good reason, health, or location, for example, school visits are crucial and will be expected by your publisher. So get that head out of the sand and...
So here’s the reality of what’s (hopefully) coming at you once you’re published:
Online lives events
Other writers, writing books
And for all these potential new experiences, you can start preparing now – it’s never too early.
In part 2 I'll look at these areas in more detail and help you get on the right track, ready to hit the ground running.
In the meantime, happy writing!
Join me next time for more post-publication thoughts, and if you'd like to ask me any questions click below and say hello
From EmDashED Freelance Novel Editing