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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Over the past few months, I've read a lot of blogs that announce to authors how difficult it is to make it in this industry.

One industry expert said a person is 400 times more likely to move to Hollywood and become the next Angelina Jolie than to make a living as an author.

A literary agent spoke of the monumental task of selling 20,000 copies of one title - the magic number for agents and publishers to begin to take notice of a previously published author.

Survey results showed that the vast majority of authors earn less than $500 a year.

So, what's up?

In my opinion, it's so easy for anyone to publish their own work that everyone thinks they can be a successful author. But not everything that is written deserves to be published.

Too many people think all they have to do is have a book printed and the world is their oyster; people will line up around the block to buy it, they'll be celebrities and their phones will ring off the hook.

There are very few writers who can write a book that requires minimal editing. And those are best-selling authors who have been at this for decades. Yet, many self-published writers think their first work is beyond reproach. Why is that?

Time after time, I hear a writer say their first book, which they intend to self-publish, will be an instant bestseller. Really?

Yes, the statistics I mentioned at the beginning of this post can be depressing. But they are meant to be a wake-up call. I've been in this industry since 1984 and full-time since 2000. And I'm here to tell you: being a successful author is hard work.

You need a team behind you: a fierce line editor, a dedicated publicist, sales and marketing plans and people to implement them. To try and do it all on your own is like going to Hollywood and becoming the producer, director, screenwriter and all the actors in your own film. Say you film it successfully. Now how are you going to distribute it, get it into the public eye, and convince people to buy it?

At Book 'Em North Carolina, we'll have a SuperTeam panel discussion filled with the people who make things happen: literary agents, traditional publishers, promoters and editors. If you want to make it in this industry, you need to be there - Saturday, February 23, 2013. And it's free. For more information, visit Book 'Em North Carolina.

3 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad I'm above average but still not quitting my day job.

Bonnie Watson said...

Yeah, that sounds silly to do EVERYTHING yourself. You can't. There's no way. I need to learn more about publicists.

p.m.terrell said...

Thanks for dropping in and leaving comments!
Bonnie, you are definitely in luck if you want to learn more about publicists. Carolyn Howard-Johnson will be at Book 'Em North Carolina - coming all the way from Los Angeles - and she is one of the premier publicists in the country. Her books are fabulous. I hope you'll sit in on her panel discussion!