‘What I Wish I Had Known Prior To Becoming a Published Author’: Is it worth it?

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Many writers dream of being published. But what is being a published author really like? Is it fabulous? Highly pressured and stressful? Or is it something in-between?

Considering the range of possible experiences, I wanted to find out what authors wish they had known prior to becoming a published author to juxtapose with the reality of being a published author.

I asked traditionally published and self-published authors the following question:

What is the most important thing you wish you had known prior to becoming a published author?

Here’s what each had to say.

Cheryl Leutjen, author of Love Earth Now

Book marketing can be a lonely business. It’s a lot like motherhood, in my opinion. You may think you’re in this new endeavor with a partner, supported by friends or family. You’ve read books, listened to podcasts and absorbed the wisdom of a myriad of experts. Then you find yourself at 3 a.m., quite alone with this mysterious and magical creature you’ve birthed into this world — and at an utter loss to know how to care for it.

Should I focus on events, meeting with people in person?Is social media the more important avenue?Are book festivals worth the investment of time and money?

More than a year after my book was published, I connected with some authors of recently-published books at a book festival. These wise souls have become my go-to tribe for all things related to book marketing.

I urge anyone else who’s on the path to publication to connect with other authors. Comment on their blog posts, tweets or posts. Join a Meetup or online writing community. Find your own version of support group to help navigate the otherwise lonely path of book marketing.

Tara Emrick, author of Thirteen Reasons Why You Belong: An Honoring of Adolescence

Being a published author is so much about finding your voice and living your truth. I have struggled with wanting others to know about my book because I believe in what I wrote AND not wanting to get stuck in ego, or the idea of becoming well-known through the possibility of the book being successful.

Thaddeus Parkland, author of The Last Cotillion

How to manage my expectations of my support circle getting the book out there.

Meredith Atwood, author of Triathlon for the Every Woman

I wish I had known just how slowly the publishing world works; yet, how incredibly fast life flies by — learning to keep your eye on the prize while also being patient is the lost art of the published author.

Beth Pauvlinch, author of Two Women 1 Disease

I wish I had known a lot more about self-publishing. It took me about seven months to figure out the entire process of learning on my own via the internet. I wasn’t aware, at the time, there were so many resources with which to help you every step of the way.

Lori Ettlinger Gross, author of Brooches

Being an author in-and-of itself CANNOT be your ultimate goal (unless you write fiction — then bravo). You have to have a bigger plan, one that leads you to a branding concept where you can utilize your published product to create more opportunities for yourself.

Katharine M. Nohr, Esq., author of Land Sharks, Freewheel, and VO2 Max

I wish I had known to delay the publishing date in order to get a Kirkus review.