Fairytale vs. Reality
(The Life of an Author)
Thank you, Angela, for inviting me to share with you and your readers.
Aspiring authors often have a fantasy view of writing novels. They are born with creativeness and gifted with a beautiful way of expressing their language. Words just seem to flow through their fingertips. They dream of writing bestselling books and seeing their stories made into movies, so they start with an idea, they mold it, form it, and create their babies. They spend months (sometimes years) spilling their hearts through their pens. Once they’ve finished, they breathe a sigh of relief. They feel elation. They’ve done it! They’ve created a masterpiece that a big publishing house will pay them big bucks to print. BUT have they actually finished?
A vast majority of readers and even non-readers seem to have the same fantasy idea of what life is like for an author. What they don’t understand is that after spending hours creating a character map (being careful in choosing appropriate names and descriptions), after hours of writing an overview, after hours writing a chapter outline with a brief summary of what takes place within each chapter, and after months and months of writing, rewriting, cutting scenes, changing scenes, embellishing the writing style, and proofreading for grammatical errors, they are actually nowhere near finished. Having completed all they have thus far is indeed a great accomplishment, yet there is so much more to being an author than actually writing a book.
Once an author has completed their manuscript, they must begin searching for an agent and/or publisher. This entails research and attending writers’ conferences to meet agents and editors. After creating a list of potential agents and publishers, the author must write personalized query letters to each of them and pitch their book. They must also write a synopsis of their work. Writing a great query and a good synopsis can be even more difficult than writing the story itself.
After an agent agrees to represent the author, the author waits while he/she tries to sell it to a publisher. Some small publishing houses will accept direct submissions from the author, so it is possible to bypass seeking an agent. Once a publisher decides to pick up an author’s work, the editing process begins AGAIN. I can only speak from here on out from a small press stance since I am not published by a big publishing house. The publishing company will have an editor to read the manuscript for content. At this point the editor will makes notes of any content that seems wrong, doesn’t make sense, timeline issues, believability, and so on. They will suggest adding, deleting, and rewriting anything they feel will improve the marketability of the story. After these changes are made, the author resubmits the manuscript, and the same editor will either suggest more changes or okay the manuscript.
Once all content revisions are made, the manuscript is sent to another editor for the purpose of line editing. This editor looks for grammatical issues within the story. The author then receives the manuscript back with all the corrections he/she needs to make, and then resubmits after executing proper changes. The editor does another read through, and if all is well, they are ready to take it to the galleys and create a cover. Then the author gets to see an example of the completed work, cover included. He or she breathes a sigh of relief feeling that he/she has finally done it! BUT it is not over yet. There is still more to being an author than writing a book, editing a book, and having a great cover!
Then comes the marketing, which can be just as time consuming as the writing process. There are multiple guest posts to write, multiple interviews to be scheduled, many questions to answer, book signings to attend, and speaking engagements to prepare for. Being published through a small press means the author has to do a large amount of the footwork. Big publishers will do more marketing for the author, but in today’s economy they do less than they used to do and expect their authors to do more than in the past. This phase lasts several months and can continue on even longer. So, as you can see, there is much more to being an author than simply writing a book.
Readers who love romance novels will be pleased to know that this week from March 25-31, the Kindle version of Wildflowers will be on sale for 99 cents!
About the Book:
Have you ever feared what may be hiding deep within you?
Darkness often skulks in the blood of unsuspecting victims, but Aster McGrath is acutely aware of the violence coursing through his veins. After all, he is the son of a murderer, and everyone in the town of Bayville, Mississippi says he will end up just like his father.
When Susan Blackman moves into town, Aster has already embraced his brutal nature, but her gentle spirit draws him in and slowly melts the icy exterior of his heart. Taming his savagery, she professes her love, but will the good within him be able to overcome the evil lurking deep inside? Or will the fiend break free of its fetters and seek blood?
About the Author:
Schledia Benefield is the author of Plain Jane, Pretty Boy, and Wildflowers. She attended Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College but chose to be a stay-at-home mom for many years. She devoted eight years of her life to working with youth as a youth minister and has been invited to speak in a rehab to hurting and wounded women, giving them hope for a better future. She was the Keynote Speaker for Division 14 of the Key Club International’s divisional rally.
Born and raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Schledia holds a sense of pride in her southern heritage. She presently lives in Big Point, Mississippi with her husband and four of her five children. On top of writing novels, she writes youth and children’s church curriculum, and she works as a substitute teacher at East Central Middle School. In her spare time, she reads, sews, and spends time with her family.
Note: All opinions presented in book and product reviews are my own. Opinions presented in posts authored by others reflect the view of the author only and not necessarily my view or opinion. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Amazon and Book Depository links are affiliate links and I do earn a small amount for each purchase. Other affiliate links will be noted in the post.