Oh boy! I really was a beginner…
When I started writing my first novel, I never thought I would want to publish it one day. It was just for my personal pleasure, because I loved to write and I loved to create a story where I could make anything happen I wanted.
When that book was finished, however, I had thoroughly changed my mind. I wanted to make other people happy with it, too, so I needed to find a way to get it out to readers.
How do you do that??? I had no idea. But Google was a good friend during that time. I googled publisher, found ONE, took a look at their submission guidelines, and knew what I had to do. Find an agent.
Okay, shouldn’t be that difficult. I had a brilliant story, so everyone would love it and I would make big money. Right? – Oh so wrong. Have you ever heard of the word query? Well, if you’re a writer, you probably scream that word in your sleep by now. LOL
So, the thing was, I had to write a really nice, capturing, original, to the point, impressive query. Fine. I could do that. I pieced a little cover letter for my book together and was all eager to send it out. But wait. There was more. They wanted a synopsis, too. What the hell was a synopsis? Google told me what it was. And I wrote what I thought was the ultimate summary of my novel.
All right, I think now is the time that I should tell you that I’m from Austria (That place in Europe, not Australia. We speak German here and we have no kangaroos!) and my English was really weak. But I loved the language enough to never give up. I got help. First from two editors I paid. Wow, what a damn lot of money – and what a waste of it, too. They should have told me that I should go take some writing classes, instead of correcting some mistakes and sending me off with a good feeling when my book, synopsis and query were actually sh*t.
Anyways, after 77 (in words: seventy-seven) rejections for SUMMER OF MY SECRET ANGEL, I went back to my room with a hanging head and started from scratch. Ten months later I had a perfect book ready. And this time, it was perfect. I had learned a lot during that time. 🙂 So, I found a publisher and gave them the rights for my beloved novel. It wasn’t one of the big six, but a rather small publisher with really nice people.
In February 2012, I signed the contract and I thought I would hold my book in my hands in May, the latest. Nope, it didn’t happen that fast, of course. Three rounds of edits, that’s what happened. And they made me rewrite one particular chapter. I wasn’t too happy with that, but it was okay. In the end, it worked. What I didn’t know, was that you can’t style your book the way you want. I was lucky, I could do my own cover and give them a really striking one. But the size, the fonts, the page number, it was all managed by the publisher, and it didn’t look very attractive in the end. But they had to do it that way, or the costs for printing it would have been a little higher than the other way, and it would have meant 2 hours more work for them. Not a chance. With a sigh, I took notice of that.
So, in September 2012, my book finally came out. YAY!! I was so happy, because now everyone would read it. Come on, people, buy my book!! But only very few people did. Why?? I didn’t know, actually. But one thing I do know. There was no kind of promotion at all. I mean other than me shouting it out to 200 friends on my facebook site. I had to do everything myself, and that was just too little. And then, worst of all, I found a ton of errors in my published book. I went through it once more and made corrections. (That was actually the 25th time I read my book. Seriously, I was so fed up with it by then.)
But I thought, the royalties would make up for all of it. Only that the royalties were about $30 for the first three months. I had no chance to check how many copies of my book really had been sold, because this was all in the publisher’s hand, so I had to wait one quarter of a year to hear the news of how my book had done. Not so well, it seemed…
I concentrated on another book then, just to get my mind off the first one. My second book was PLAY WITH ME. I wrote it fast, because it was a nice distraction. I knew from the start that it would be a really short book – a novella. And since it was nothing but fun for me, I thought, why not publish it yourself on Amazon? Nothing to lose, right? And that was in fact the very first time that I was right about anything in the writing business. I had nothing to lose, but I won a lot!
I won fans, people who actually bought my book, spread the word and gave me the feeling of finally being a real author. I had the chance to make changes in my book as often as I liked. I could even change the cover, and I could pick a design, size and font that I really liked and that fit my short book. I got a lot more royalties for each sold copy, I could decide with which editors and proofreaders I wanted to work together, I could check my sales every day, and I didn’t have to wait sooo long to publish the next book. (That’s where RYAN HUNTER comes in.)
After my contract with my former publisher had ended, I parted with them and self-re-published SUMMER OF MY SECRET ANGEL, too. Now, everything is in my hands. I have control, get more money, can write and publish whatever I like, and I don’t have to answer to anyone.
So yeah, that’s it. I know, you probably wanted me to talk about all the good sides of being a published author, but I’d rather stay honest here. That’s what I didn’t know about becoming a published author and what I had to learn the hard way.