With nearly 130 million books published since book publishing became a reality, many people have come up with their own ideas about what’s involved in the process. Some people think writing is an easy way to make some money. Others believe the publishing world is a secret club that only the select few know how to maneuver.
What is the truth about writing and publishing though? Many myths have creeped up regarding the writing world. Let’s evaluate six of the common myths about writing, and the truth behind those myths.
Myths About Writing
Every person has a dream. Writers dream of publishing a book. Their dream doesn’t stop there though.
Writers dream of a well-received book that everyone wants to read. They dream of making their living from their books.
These dreams lead many aspiring authors to misunderstand the work set before them. Many readers also create their own ideas of what a writer’s life is like. These myths about writing create some serious misunderstandings.
Myth #1- There’s a Formula for Writing
Many people think there’s a specific formula or method that’s best for writing a book that will fly off the shelves. Everyone thinks their way is the right way, and that leads to some of the mythical ideas around formulas.
People that like to plan will tell you that’s the only way to do things. People that follow the book muse are equally convinced they’ve cracked the code. These people will tell you there is one perfect formula.
Others that have met disappointment believe this is based on not hitting on the perfect formula that publishers want to see. They might even say you have to “sell-out” to hit on that perfect formula.
The truth belies this idea. Writing a good book takes time and effort. There’s nothing easy about creating a well-received book.
Nothing will get your book published and accepted other than writing a story that people want to read. That, and marketing the book well (more on this later).
Myth #2- Success Requires the Right Connections
The idea that big writers receive because they have connections is, like many things, both true and false. Connections can prove useful in any industry you enter.
You should always look to make connections with editors, publishers, other writers, and other people involved in the writing industry. This helps you get a good glimpse of the world before you officially join. This also gives you friends that can direct you when you have questions and issues.
These people can’t guarantee you’ll find success though. Just like not knowing people doesn’t stop you. Connections can get your name in front of others, but they can’t guarantee they’ll like your work.
Success is more than connections. Success is what you make of the writing process.
Myth #3- Successful Writers Get to Focus on Their Writing
There are many people that believe successful writers get to that place because they don’t have to worry about other job responsibilities. Another part of this myth involves the idea that once someone’s published, they can quit their day jobs and focus on their writing.
What’s the truth? Most writers juggle day jobs, family responsibilities, and writing to make things work. They learn how to balance all their responsibilities to make the time for working on their book.
Even after publishing, many writers still need to work outside of the home to bring in the bulk of their income. Publishing doesn’t guarantee loads of money.
Myth #4- Self-Publishing is a Fallback
Many people believe traditional publishing is the holy grail of publishing. They believe that self-publishing is the fall back when all else fails. This makes some people look at indie publishers as less than other published writers.
Self-published authors must fight even harder to get noticed because of this myth. Many people won’t believe that some people actually choose the indie route.
First, some people choose self-publishing because they want to remain in control of their “baby”. They want to be in control of everything and ensure they don’t lose any rights to their work.
Second, self-publishing involves a lot of work. Self-publishing makes you responsible for editing, publishing, marketing, and everything in between.
You have to take care of book cover art. You have to learn good marketing practices. You have to act as your own champion.
Self-publishing is a way for a writer to turn their books into a business. Indie authors are in the business of selling themselves and their work.
Myth #5- Traditional Publishing Removes Your Negotiating Power
Some people believe traditional publishing contracts are set in stone. They believe you have no negotiating power when you deal with publishing companies.
It’s true that traditional publishers, especially big names, will write up contracts that give them the best deal for their investment. This doesn’t mean you have no negotiating power though.
You should never just sign a contract, especially if you’re not comfortable with some aspect of the contract. Read the contract carefully and make notes. Make sure you don’t lose rights you don’t have to lose.
The publishers usually ask for more than they expect you to give. You should ask for more than you expect in return. You can meet somewhere in the middle.
Myth #6- Your Work is Over After Publication
You’ve done the work of writing and found your preferred method of publishing. Your work is over right? No!
Whether you publish traditionally or on your own, you still have marketing to do. You must learn how to promote your book on your own, even if you have help from a publishing company. This requires plenty of mistakes before you find the promotion ideas that work for you.
You’re required to get the word out online and locally to make people excited about your book. You are the champion of your work at all times.
Making it as A Writer
How hard is it to become a published author? It depends on what you expect from your publishing efforts. If you learn to separate the truth from myth, you can find a writing and publishing formula that works for you.
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