Y is for Years

Artwork by Tom Torre (@CopernicusNerd)

Artwork by Tom Torre (@CopernicusNerd)

By Dawn Frederick


For anyone starting down the path of publishing, assuming that immediate success will happen is a misconception (to say in the least).

Here are two examples:

• Erik Larson — If you haven’t heard of DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, I would be surprised. Now can you list off all of Erik’s books before the noticeable success of DIWC? More than likely, no. It took lots of determination and writing what he loved to reach success.

Dan Santat — He is one of the most hardworking illustrator and children’s authors. It seems like he works non-stop. Dan has made an impression on how to do a good children’s book, but alas it wasn’t until recently he saw one of his books on the NY Times Bestselling list. It was an exciting moment, but also due to his persistence in working on books that he loved and could embrace as an illustrator.

Now, let’s step back. What does this mean for today’s newest writers, or even those who are already on the track to getting published?

The answer while simple isn’t as easy to do, but it’s doable. The plan for any person aiming for similar successes is to keep on writing, to keep on networking with writers and publishing folks in real life & online, and to continue seeking out opportunities to share one’s writing. There is never a stopping point, even once initial success is reached. Additionally keep on writing the best book possible.

Recently Stacey Barney shared a post by Caroline Star Rose regarding her book, BLUE BIRDS. The stats regarding her publication are worth a read, esp. for anyone hoping to see his/her book reach bookshelves.

From her post:

first idea: 2008

research began: 2010

writing began: 2011

book sold: 2013

publication: 2015

As we close, here are some questions to ask while on the path to getting published:

So your first book is published? Great! What are you writing now? How are readers learning about it? The marketing never ends, make it part of your daily routine.

You finally landed an agent, congrats! What are you doing to help build a buzz around your writing platform? Your agent will appreciate it; and it will build a larger readership, which is good for any publisher considering new book ideas.

The author website is officially launched. What are you doing with it? How will you direct readers to it? Make a plan and execute it with a reasonable time line.

In the movie “Field of Dreams,” we repeatedly heard the statement “If you build it, they will come.” While that is a lofty dream and full of hope, that’s not the way business generally operates. This understanding should be applied to one’s success(es) as a writer. Writing a book is only one step; while it’s the most satisfying, be prepared for a lifetime of fine-tuning your craft and building a reading audience.

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