4.6.14

IWSG: 4 Things I've Learned about Publishing in 4 Years from @CarolOates

It's Insecure Writers Support Group tiiiime. This monthly hop is one of my favorite things on the internet and was founded by Alex J. Cavannaugh. It also has its very own websiteThank you all for your Ask the Acquisitions Editor questions last month. I've passed them off to CK, and my grand plan is to post the answers during next month's IWSG. 

This month my biggest insecurity is time and my inability to beat it into submission, but that's for another post. Because I just happen to have the perfect IWSG post already in my back pocket---written by Carol Oates, a wonderful author of supernatural Young Adult and New Adult stories. I originally posted these 4 publishing wisdoms from Carol at my Facebook page to celebrate her recent release, Shades of Avalon, and she's graciously agreed to let me re-post them in one volume here for your benefit. 

You can tell Carol thanks at her blog, on Twitter, or at her Facebook page. Alrighty then, shall we let Carol take it away? Yes, yes we shall...


It’s been four years since Shades of Atlantis began the editing process. I’ve developed as a writer. I’ve also mellowed a little about the daunting publishing industry. Here are a few things I’ve figured out.

1. It takes a village to raise a book

I’m sure most people realize that the book fairies don’t magically transform the (scrawled by hand in my case) first draft of a manuscript into a shiny, beautiful book. But, before I decided to publish, I really didn’t understand the extent of work required from so many people. Up to that decision, I was writing for my own pleasure and I didn’t much care if I had missing words or plot holes. Publishing is like an iceberg, only 10-20% is visible, the rest is below the waterline. When I decided to plunge in, it involved gathering trusted people around me that I knew would point out the flaws in my work. That’s before the manuscript even hit an editor’s desk. Manuscripts go through many hands even before distribution and promotion come in to it.

2. Publishing doesn’t leave a lot of time for writing 

I used to thing publishing and writing were the same thing. When I set out years ago to publish, I had this fantasy of sitting at my desk in my writing cave all day…writing, or attending bookish events to commune with readers and bookish type people. All while someone else took care of everything else—see point 1. Those book fairies, maybe. In truth, only a portion of my time goes on writing books. The rest is spent doing the production stuff in getting from manuscript to book, communicating with readers(fun bit), organizing promotions(fun bit), keeping up to date with the industry(can be filled with drama lamas). And reading, of course(back to fun bit).

3. No one knows the right way to publish a book

Lots of people will swear they do, but the truth is there is no one way, no sure fire route to success. Every author is different in what they want to achieve with their career, if publishing is even a career to them. Each project can demand a completely different approach. When looking at an individual project, we’re talking a glass slipper being tried on by every disappointed girl in the village, rather than one-size fits all slipper socks. What one author claims worked for them may only work for them, that one time.

4. The opening night nerves never go away 

Shades of Avalon is release seven, and its feels like a special one because it’s the sequel to my debut, Shades of Atlantis. You’d think, I’d be used to release days by now but my tummy still flutters wildly every time I think about my work being out in the world on those first few days. The outpouring of support in the book community can be wonderful and overwhelming in the best possible way. It goes a long way to soothing my frazzled nerves.




Have a great rest of your week!

20 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It takes a village both during writing and promoting!
Good luck with your seventh book, Carol.

Jennifer Lane said...

Publishing is indeed an iceberg, and hopefully it won't rip our little boat to shreds! I too am in awe of how many edits go into a single novel. I'm grateful for the awesome editing at Omnific Publishing. Great post, Carol, and hi, Nicki!

Jennifer Lane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cleemckenzie said...

I was once naive in believing that if I published a book, I'd be done. Cue the laugh track. I had no idea what I was getting into. I love it, but I've never been busier in my life.

Glad I found your blog today. Thanks for the great post. I happen to be a huge Oates fan.

Julie Flanders said...

I'm just like Lee, I had the same naive ideas. Now I realize how wrong I was LOL.
Thanks for this great post, Nicki and Carol.

Steven said...

Great advice, especially about how nobody knows the one true way.

Cherie Colyer said...

Great post with a lot of great points. Thanks for sharing.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Congrats on the seventh book Carol! I agree that we have to beat time into submission but it's not easy. I'm wishing you a beautiful day!

Ivor G said...

I'm in awe of anyone who gets one book "out there" never mind seven! Well done Carol, nice piece too.

Juneta Key said...

I loved the village and ice berg analogies.

I am really hoping it does not take me four years to complete one book to publication. I started this dream later in life, so the probability of time I have available is shorter, even though no one is promised tomorrow.

Yet if it does, and God willing I am still here, I will still be working my way to that goal.

Juneta at Writer's Gambit

sydneyaaliyah.com said...

What about the release day blues? When do those go away. Good luck with everything and thanks for the tips.

Tara Tyler R said...

wow! amazing covers! you're doing so wonderfully! congratulations!!

Janie Junebug said...

When I saw the name for a minute I thought it was supposed to be Joyce Carol Oates. I saw an interview with her once at a writers' workshop. She was so thin that it made me realize she's a prolific author because she doesn't take time to eat.

Love,
Janie

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hey, Nicki. Hi, Carol....

SOOOO true, Carol. It does take a village. I don't know what I'd do without my CP'S and Betas. They have helped me in so many ways.

Not to mention how amazing and supportive the blogger community is.... I wouldn't be the writer I am today without it!

Misha Gericke said...

Those are some pearls of wisdom. Writing and publishing really is nothing like what people expect it to be. :-D

Liz Blocker said...

I'm a big Facebook slacker, so I hadn't seen these - so glad you posted them here! Thanks, Carol and Nicki, for these great thoughts :) And congratulations!!

Jay Noel said...

Yes. Lots of truth here. Especially about a village...can't do this alone. NO WAY!

Michelle Wallace said...

Your seventh book, Carol? Wow! Congrats!
Thanks for sharing these tips.

Arlee Bird said...

Carol's made some good points here. More evidence that writing is work.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Lady Lilith said...

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I am sure it will be very helpful for future aspiring writers.