Monday, September 28, 2015

WHAT I KNOW by Peggy Jaeger



Lessons I’ve learned about being a published author.

I found out my first book, SKATER’S WALTZ, had been contracted for publication while I was attending the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio, TX. Shocked, thrilled, and terrified, I thought the hard part – finding someone willing to publish my novel – was over.

Yeah, not so much.
Lesson one: it’s not over when you type THE END. It’s just the beginning…

After I signed on the dotted line, the real work began. I’d been published for years in literary fiction anthologies and in non-fiction magazines and periodicals. The literary magazines accepted the work as is, the non-fiction articles were sometimes reworked and refined by editors to allow for spacing considerations. My point is that it was someone else’s job to get the piece publishing presentable.

Not any more. Welcome to the world of book fiction.

Lesson two : the hard work starts after you contract for publication…


My first book went through 3 rounds of edits between my editor and myself before it was sent to galleys for actual publication. And even after it went out to the copy editor, there were still some changes that needed to be made. I was ready to rip my hair out at one point. All I kept thinking as more and more edit suggestions came my way was, “Why the heck did they want this if it needs so much work??”

Lesson three: Editors are the most underrated and undervalued people on the publishing food chain…

All editors are good at their job – they have to be. But the ones who are truly great make a good book even better.  They find the little twists and turns of a phrase, or a word change, or a sentence deletion that is key to making the reader want to read more.

My editor is one of the great ones.

Lesson four: you should have taken marketing classes in college…

I will admit this freely – I was unbelievably naïve when I signed that first contract. I thought the publisher was going to do all the marketing necessary to promote my book, get it on a best-seller list, and generally skyrocket me to fame.

Yeah, AGAIN, not so much!

The minute your book is contracted and the editing begins, you need to start promoting it. Often and everywhere. FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, your website, blog tours, newspaper press releases, your Aunt Maimie’s bridge club. Anywhere, everywhere, and as often as you can, so that when you finally have a release date, the buzz about the book will have started, grown to fever pitch and resulted in so many pre-orders your head spins.

Lesson five: before the first book hits the shelves you’d better be working on, or done with, book #2…                                      
                                               
 As a writer you can never – NEVER – rest on your laurels. It is a true axiom of publishing: you are only as good as your next book. So while you are doing all that dreaded marketing, take time each day and write…write…write. I had book two on my editor’s desk before book one was released. Same for book 3. Keep ‘em coming.

Lesson six: you need to take time to breathe and enjoy…

Yes, I was overwhelmed, naïve, frustrated and generally anxious with the release of my first book. But I was also thrilled at having my dream – finally - come true. It was a long road for me to book publication. I was 54 years old when the first one came out, a time when most people are starting to look toward the end of their working life. Not me. Mine was just beginning and I wanted to savor every moment of how it felt to hold my first book in my hands; see my name in print on the cover of a book I’d penned; sign my first autograph on a copy someone had actually paid cash-money for! Don’t let anything ever take away or overwhelm you from that sense of wonderful, soul-soaring achievement you’ve accomplished.

My third book, FIRST IMPRESSIONS, was released on Sept.23. I didn’t feel as overwhelmed this time because I knew the basics. Promotion and marketing were all lined up and ready to go, I pre-ordered by print copies so I had them ready, and a book signing was waiting for me.

But the anticipation, the soul-empowering elation of having a book actually published was as spine tingling and heart stopping as with that first one. And I think it will continue to be that way each and every time.
                                                           
Blurb:
Family Practice Doctor Clarissa Rogers’ first impression of Padric Cleary is biased and based on gossip. The handsome, charming veterinarian is considered a serial dater and commitment-phobic by his family and most of the town. Relationship shy, Clarissa refuses to lose her heart to a man who can’t pledge himself to her forever.

Pat Cleary, despite his reputation, is actually looking for "The One." When he does give his heart away, he wants it to be for life. With his parent’s marriage as his guidebook, he wants a woman who will be his equal and soul mate in every way. 
 
Can Pat convince everyone – including Clarissa – she’s the only woman for him?
                                              
Bio: Peggy Jaeger writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can live with out them.

Newest release: FIRST IMPRESSIONS  available from the Wild Rose Press
Buy links:



Social Media Sites:  Peggy loveslovesloves hearing from people.


12 comments:

Jannine Gallant said...

Congrats on the new release and the writing life lessons! Actually, though, not all editors are good. More's the pity. When you find a great one, appreciate her! Most of mine have been excellent, and I'm very thankful for that!

Peggy Jaeger said...

Jannine - still being new to all this, I 've been blessed with a FABULOUS editor at WIld Rose Press who is not only knowledgable by wonderfully supportive. I am thankful for her everyday,

Vonnie Davis ~ Romance Author said...

I was 62, when my first book published, so I can understand your feelings of starting out later than some. However, the feelings and accomplishments are the same. So are the lessons. I keep on learning...especially in the marketing area. Good luck to you.

Peggy Jaeger said...

Vonnie - 62! Awesome!!! I lovelovelove when I hear that. As writers "of a certain age" we bring all sorts of wisdom, life experience and just plain common sense to the reading world. I know the marketing angst will get better for with time, too. Thanks for stopping by.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Welcome, Peggy. I'm another late bloomer. Seven books later, the thrill never gets old. Best of luck with your latest release. And cherish your editor as well.

Peggy Jaeger said...

Margo -thanks! I will and I do!!

Leah St. James said...

Hi, Peggy - Love your lessons, all so true! The even tougher part about the book marketing business is that it seems to be changing, almost daily, and you never quite know whose theory to trust! I guess that's why you just keep writing. :-)

Rolynn Anderson said...

Peggy pithy. Right on! Thing is, it's the rare bird that doesn't go through all these steps and missteps. It's how we learn and get better at our work. We can save some of the young ones by our advice, but for the most part it is a process we all trudge through. Heavy sigh!

Peggy Jaeger said...

Leah _ i know! Everytime I think I have this marketing down, someone comes along with a new social media I JUST HAVE TO BE on - or so they tell me...***sigh

Peggy Jaeger said...

Rolynn - I agree,but I really wish someone had told me about all the time I'd need to spend on the marketing aspect before I started. I would have been so much better prepared, timewise, for what I needed to do...oh well....

Diane Burton said...

Welcome,Peggy. Your list is right on target. It ain't over til it's over. Enjoy the journey.

Peggy Jaeger said...

thanks Diane. It's been a whirlwind so far, I can tell ya.