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Before and After publication


So, I twittered yesterday and asked for a blog topic. Louise stepped up and asked me to blog about what has changed since I’ve been published—and what hasn’t. So here goes:

 

What’s changed:

 

*Opportunities. It’s been a pleasant surprise to see how many doors open once you have a book deal. Libraries have emailed, asking to set up a visit, I’ve gotten some freelance work, and I was recently asked to speak for a group in SoCal. (August 2010, if you’re a SoCal’er!). I’m currently submitting papers for a few local conferences and setting up school visits.

 

*My writing has improved. A lot. Taking a book through production has been truly eye-opening, and I’ve learned a lot from my editor, both from revisions on Prada & Prejudice and from some long phone calls on YOU WISH, my 2010 release. I’m no longer to the point where I would even consider sending a first draft to critique partners, because I’ve become increasingly aware of things I need to revise on my own first.

 

*The “business” side of writing. It’s weird, but I thought after you got your deal, that writing became simpler—you’re published, so that must mean you’re a good writer, and that the next deal(s) will be easier to make. The thing is, once you’re published, it’s not just about a good book, it’s about you as an author and the investment your publisher is making. There is a lot of talk about “branding” an author, and most people agree it makes sense to build an audience in one brand before branching out. Because Prada and Prejudice is high-concept, romantic, fun, that means that the best thing for me to do next is a similar book.

 

 

 

What hasn’t:

 

*The waiting never stops. Truly. Years ago it was waiting for an agent, then an editor, then revisions, then copy edits, then ARCs, then release date, then moving forward on book 2, then revisions on that book, then your cover… this business is made to either drive you insane or teach you patience.  

 

*The envy. I’m putting this one out there in the name of honesty. Because I was honest before I was published—that the green monster would flare every time I saw someone else get published while I kept sitting there, my rejections stacking up around me. The envy continues, my friends, because now you have even more things to compare yourself to. It really can drive you mad if you constantly compare your book to someone else’s. Someone else is getting a pre-pub buzz tour, someone else is on a bestseller list, someone else just got a movie deal, someone else is on a big fancy endcap, someone else got a starred review… it’s maddening. For the most part I think I use these thoughts more as motivation to focus on the one and only thing I can control: my writing. If I write a damn good book, then the word of mouth will carry me to those places I want to go. But it doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes narrow my eyes when I see someone else jump up and down. But within thirty seconds, I can remind myself that their success has not taken away from my success. In fact, that they’ve found such success isn’t a downer—it proves that I can get there too. They did it. They can serve to inspire me, not discourage me.

 

 

*You still freak out and stress over everything: whether your writing is good enough, whether you’re about to be rejected on your next project, whether your book will fizzle and everyone is going to forget about it.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
robinellen
Aug. 21st, 2009 03:44 pm (UTC)
Good post -- thanks, Mandy!
seeyouupside
Aug. 21st, 2009 03:51 pm (UTC)
I really liked this post, Mandy. To me, it showed how yes, you may have published something but you are still the same person ALWAYS--that never changes. I also liked how you showed your improvement in revising (I've read this a lot; that authors find it easier to pick up their own mistakes after working with heaps of people).

:-) Best of luck on YW! ♥
elisefey
Aug. 21st, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
I really appreciate your honesty about the envy and your assurance that someone else's success doesn't take away from yours even though it can feel like that sometimes. I think that's the number one thing I've seen writers struggle with (and struggled with myself).
volleypop
Aug. 21st, 2009 05:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the honest post.

~Della
meredith_wood
Aug. 21st, 2009 05:25 pm (UTC)
I'm just glad things are looking up for you, even if slowly. *G* One day I'll get there myself...one day. lol
cyn2write
Aug. 21st, 2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
All so true...
(Anonymous)
Aug. 22nd, 2009 12:08 am (UTC)
Envy
So the envy doesn't go away? Darn. I'm in year 2 right now and by reading your blog and other authors I have a long way to go. But you guys do inspire me. I'm young, and I, like most wanna be authors think that this publication this will go fast. And it's not. But boy it's really hard just to get my foot in the door. But waiting sucks. To past the time I work on my second project. But at the same time I'm so concerned on finding an agent that I get really distracted. I can't afford distractions. If I get distracted my grades will slip and I can't do that senior year. I slacked of last year while revising but now I’m going nuts! But as the time passes my writing does improve and if my journey takes a positive turn it will get even better.
naptimewriter
Aug. 22nd, 2009 12:20 am (UTC)
Great post! Thanks. :)
(Deleted comment)
karenbschwartz
Aug. 23rd, 2009 03:15 am (UTC)
Interesting, thanks for being so honest about your publishing journey.
jessica_shea
Aug. 24th, 2009 01:33 am (UTC)
Great post. Thank you for sharing so much about your publication journey; it's really inspiring!
katshakespeare
Aug. 25th, 2009 10:44 pm (UTC)
Thanks for this post.

I had a mild meltdown today about the querying process and everything and I guess it really helps to know that it never gets easier -- I mean that, too, because knowing that it'll always be stressful makes me willing to just let these moments of stress fizzle out over the long run. :)
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
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