Ask An Author (episode 1)

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Welcome to the inaugural edition of Ask An Author. On the second Monday of each month, I and members of my super-duper author expert panel are going to be answering your questions as readers and writers. This week’s question is:

What one thing do you wish you’d known before becoming a published author?

For me, I wish I’d known how physically and emotionally taxing it would be. I’d always written, but it’s different when you’re writing for your own entertainment, as a hobby, or for relaxation. Once you make it a job, it adds another layer of pressure. You have editors to make happy and contracts to fulfill. You have readers that you want to please. And you have lots… and I mean, LOTS… of things other than writing to do with your time. Trying to turn on the emotional faucet when you’re being creative and then turning it back off when you read your reviews or discuss your books as essentially a product to be sold can give you whiplash!

Now let’s hear some other authors answer the same question:

I wish I had really studied the craft of writing fiction before I tore into my first novel! I had some God-given talent, yes, but that didn’t mean I was ready to be published! I truly had no idea that there were rules—or at least conventions—to good fiction writing. My first editor, the late Sharon Asmus at Bethany House, was a wonderful teacher who helped me learn some of those elements of craft. But I’ve gleaned so much in the past twenty years from studying books on writing, taking classes at writers conferences, brainstorming with other authors, exchanging critiques with author Tamera Alexander, and sitting under the critical eye of great editors, etc. that I sometimes look back on my first attempts at writing and cringe! (Deborah Raney)

One thing? That I would end up as a marketer too. (Davalynn Spencer)

I wish I would have known better how to manage my schedule. I really over-filled my life and after book two has serious burnout. There’s so much to juggle (especially being indie) and I really wish I would have known what I know now about managing everything from daily word count to social media. I still struggle with it to a degree, but its not nearly as bad as it was, thank goodness. (Amber Lynn Perry)

I thought nothing could be more intimidating than submitting my work to agents and editors. I wish someone had warned me that seeing a finished book head out to readers for the first time is not just a “dream come true” moment, but also about the most vulnerable and exposed I’d ever feel. I’d anticipated joy, but I didn’t know it would walk hand-in-hand with gut-wrenching anxiety. (Karen Barnett)

And there you have it! For those of you who are published authors, what do you wish you’d known? Tell me in the comments below.

If you have a question you’d like answered, leave that below as well. We may answer it in a future episode!


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