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Author Blog Challenge 14: Eleven ways writers get surprised

Gremlins will push you 'round^ Look where you'...

Gremlins will push you ’round^ Look where you’re going^ Back up our battleskies^ – NARA – 535380 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some surprises you’re in for when you publish your book

Please note: This list of surprises for writers is not meant to be comprehensive. The worst surprises, like dying by flaming harpoon attack to the forehead (before you finish your novel) or a hard drive exploding and taking out two floors of your house are not included. Those circumstances just aren’t lighthearted enough for my intent here. Oops. Well, I guess you’re worried about that stuff now, too.

1. You thought your manuscript was clean and it was, it was! Gremlins went in and put those ugly typos in there! That’s the only reasonable explanation.

2. Publishing your book is a huge event in your life. Remember when you had a baby and you expected the world to pause to acknowledge your contribution to, and sacrifice for, the human race? Wars should stop and the earth’s rotation should cease for a moment, if only so we can all bow. Sadly, it’s not a huge event in everyone’s else’s life. Many people are indifferent and it’s just not efficient to go out and kill all of them with a rusty axe.

3. The people you thought would love your book? They don’t. My dad still hasn’t read anything I’ve written. He’s waiting for me to write about him. (What he doesn’t know is that he really doesn’t want that!)

4. Lots of people are readers but they do not write reviews. You’ll expect reviews. Eventually you probably beg for reviews. Worse? You still won’t get them, even from friends and family! I thought about it, but there is no joke I can tag on this item that will soothe the sting. It’s more tragic than a flaming harpoon to the crotch.

5. Someone will object to something you wrote. What will surprise you is what they object to. For example, some people get riled up about which font you chose for your cover. You’ll assume that joke your main character made about religion was, at most, funny. At worst? Somewhat innocuous. Some blogger, somewhere, will call you the Anti-Christ and call on Jesus to smite you because, apparently, Jesus loved capital punishment. Oh, wait… (At least outrage and threats of censorship increase sales, so there’s that.)

6. Some people will treat you better, briefly, because you’re an author. Then they’ll treat you worse when they find out you’re a self-published author. For some reason, you have to answer for every grammatical mistake and every (so-called) undeserved success of your breed. Corollary: If you become a very successful traditionally published author, some people will hate you because lots of people read your books. Or the haters will hate because they aren’t you. Suggestion: A dog is reliably faithful. Definitely buy a dog. They can’t read so they’re blameless.

7. Formatting will be tough the first time. The first time, you’re a dim-witted chimpanzee with a keyboard. The second time you do it, you’ll be surprised how easy it is. You will have evolved to a very intelligent Rhesus monkey.

8. By the time you’re through revisions and formatting, you and your editorial team will have gone through the manuscript so many times you’ll be sick of it. This is the story you loved so much. Now your cute baby has grown into an angry, gangly, acne-scarred teenager and you just want them out of the house they can go make money and so you can make room for a sweet new baby who loves to cuddle.

9. Actual publication won’t be quite as momentous as you anticipated. How could it equal all those dreams you’ve had since childhood? You pictured a limo and an elegant cocktail party. Instead, it’s you in sweats, late at night and a little drunk on weighty potential and rum and Coke, debating if you’ve done everything you can before pushing a button. It will feel more like pulling a trigger. You may be filled with more dread of bloody failure than anticipation of success. I’m about to push that button and I’ve had stress headaches all week. I just want to sleep instead of poking around Scrivener‘s bowels to prep the manuscript for Amazon and CreateSpace. You’re not alone in the struggle, but that’s of little solace because you are alone in the room.

10. Getting someone to read your book is harder than writing your book. You’ll spend more time marketing than you ever dreamed necessary, even if you figured it would take a lot of time. Triple your marketing expectations and get a treadmill desk so your ass won’t get as big and wide as your hopes and dreams for your writing career.

11. But here’s the biggest surprise: Though you will get luckier the harder you work, it’s still a lot about luck and timing and some happenstance. Nobody admits this variable. When you win, it’s all attributable your meteoric wisdom. When you succeed, you’ll figure it’s because you made all the right moves and you knew what you were doing with every step. Revising history and shining up the truth is natural. Everybody does that. It keeps us from running away screaming from that “Click to Publish” button.

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12 Responses

  1. Denise DeSio says:

    I love how you made this funny, because in reality, none of it is, especially the part about your friends and family. Seriously, why do you think so many of us authors experience the same phenomenon?

    At first I took it personally. Now that I know that it happens to so many other authors, I’m starting to wonder if we turn to writing “because” we have such shitty friends and families.

  2. Suggestion: A dog is reliably faithful. Definitely buy a dog. They can’t read so they’re blameless.


    I wonder why authors don’t get out there and trade reviews with other authors. We all want it so badly, why not give a little to get a little? I have traded work for reviews and reviews for reviews. It seems to make the world flow a little more smoothly for me. Just a thought. WRITE ON!

  3. […] Author Blog Challenge 14: Eleven ways writers get surprised (chazzwrites.com) […]

  4. Eleni says:

    Oh, what the heck, we’ll do it anyway, won’t we?
    But this makes us just a bit more brave, I think.
    Love the humor!

  5. […] Author Blog Challenge 14: Eleven ways writers get surprised (chazzwrites.com) […]

  6. […] Author Blog Challenge 14: Eleven ways writers get surprised (chazzwrites.com) […]

  7. […] Author Blog Challenge 14: Eleven ways writers get surprised (chazzwrites.com) […]

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