You’ve decided to go the traditional route. It’s the tried and trusted way of getting your book out there. On one hand, you feel excited at the thought of submitting your manuscript. On the other, you’re so scared of rejection that you can barely bring yourself to send your first query letter.
If you’ve done your homework on this (and you should have), then you know that the process is pretty straight-forward once you’re in. You’ve done the research and you’ve filled your brain with as much knowledge on the subject as you could have.
You’re ready to take the plunge.
But before you do, let me take the time to remind you of a few things.
Limit Your Expectations:
While you feel like your odds of getting that publishing deal in the bag on the first try is basically guaranteed, you need to realise that things in life don’t come so easily.
You could try for years to reach your goal, and expecting the best results right away are just a recipe for disappointment. So how do you do it then?
How do you curb your expectations when you’re so sure you’ll succeed?
Get An Agent:
The first thing you’ll want to do is get an agent. Yes, I know that the publishing house you’re submitting to takes unsolicited manuscripts. No, I don’t think getting an agent is unnecessary because of that.
An agent will not only help negotiate the book deal of your dreams, but they’ll also help you take the right steps in your career. They have industry knowledge that you’d be a fool to ignore and they have advice you can’t get anywhere else.
They also know how you should think in order to win at this publishing game.
For example, they might tell you to…
Stop Wishing For Fame And Fortune:
It sounds cruel, I know. You want to be the next Stephen Kind dammit! You should be looking at the bigger picture, right?
Sure, but be careful.
Hoping to one day make it big is one thing.
Actually letting that hope influence the decisions you make now is another.
Superstar success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years of hard work and dedication to become successful. It’s a gradual process that, more often than not, sneaks up on a person as they’re doing the thing they love.
Instead, aim for the smaller things. Maybe it would be great to become rich and famous, but simply being able to make a living at this writing thing is pretty great too. Hell, most of us would settle for half of the money we make at our day jobs.
Curb your expectations. If you fail, it’s no big deal. If you make it big, then great!
It’s better than the alternative if you ask me.
So let’s say you got the book deal you were looking for. You have a pretty good agent working tirelessly to get you the best deals and help you be the best writer you can be.
How do you not screw this up?
The trick is to be professional. Act like you would in any corporate environment. Why? Because you’re asking a big, corporate company to invest in your product and your actions reflect on the product your make.
The first thing you need to do is…
Respect The Publisher:
You are a small-business owner. Your book is your product. The publishing house is the big company who is about to invest in your product and get it on the shelves of bookstores worldwide.
The publisher knows the market. They have teams dedicated to studying what sells and what doesn’t. They have the money and the knowledge to market and distribute your product to the point that you never could.
Respect the fact that they know the process and how it should be done. Your job was getting the book done. Respect them enough to trust that they will take care of the rest.
Unfortunately things take time. While you could have Self-Published and saved yourself a lot of time (but not effort or money), you decided to Traditionally Publish. This means you’ll have to wait to get your book out there.
Publishing houses have release dates and productions schedules because they have many other books they want to publish. You need to respect that and wait patiently while your book slowly rolls through the process.
Don’t ask them for updates every second week and certainly don’t demand they hurry up. Odds are you’re going to be waiting about a year to see your book released. Being unprofessional and pestering your publisher about it won’t do you any favours.
It would suck if you tried to publish another book and they refuse to work with you because of it. So be professional or you may end up facing the consequences.
Remember how in last week’s post I told you not to be that writer. This is basically the same. You are the one who created the book that will bring joy into the lives of millions, sure, but that doesn’t mean you need to forget basic human decency.
Be considerate of others in the publishing industry. Be considerate of other writers. Be considerate of your fellow artists.
Don’t Be A Diva:
You’re the artist. You’re the special, creative snowflake who needs to process the world in a different way than others. You’re the talent and they better not have red skittles in the snack bowl at your book signing or you’re going to just lose it!
God, please don’t be like that.
Okay, maybe that example is a bit extreme. But you can still be a diva if you expect the people you work with to bend over backwards for you just to keep you happy.
Just because you wrote a good book doesn’t mean that you’re automatically entitled to special treatment. You’re still just a writer like the rest of us. Be humble about it.
Don’t Bash Indie Authors:
Yes the Self-Published market is currently filled to the brim with crap. Just because someone can publish their own book doesn’t mean they should, I agree. Yes, your book is professionally edited and published by a business who knows what it’s doing.
Does any of that matter?
So stop making other authors feel bad for picking a different path. Traditional Publishing isn’t for everyone. Self-Publishing is a viable way to get your book out there.
People who treat it as anything less are part of the old generation and need to just go away and let others publish in peace.
There are, of course, a whole list of things that Traditionally Published authors should keep in mind. This is just my personal list.
What advice would you have for a new Traditionally Published author?
Let us know in the comments!
If you liked this post, you might also enjoy: