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
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
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
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.
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
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
Social Media Sites: Peggy loveslovesloves hearing from people.