Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A day in the life...

It totally slipped my mind that I needed to write a blog tonight (to post at MN my time). I often write several ahead just so this doesn't happen. Now I'm trying to be creative on a deadline, self-imposed, but still a deadline.

Forget all the glam and bling of being a writer. I spent the day on four publishing projects, not on writing. One took me to Phoenix to visit the printer guy. I left with a proof book and was delighted not to hit rush hour traffic for the 52 mile trek back to north Glendale. There is nothing in this industry like seeing the first proof book to come off the press.

Since I'm working on four projects in different stages of publishing, it made me think (as I talked with the printer, another publisher, and drove home) just how much there is to know about this business and how it works.

The other day a kid (who does not belong to me) and his girlfriend came over to see one of my kids.

She, being an avid reader, excitedly said, "When are you going to be on Oprah?"
Me: "Um, never?"

Before all you seasoned writers bust a gut, think about how many times you've been asked that. I've heard it quite a few times from 'civilians'.

In practical terms, there isn't enough time in a day to have every writer on her show. Personally, I think it would be pretty boring to run show after show of writers, 24 hours a day. Besides even if she had the stamina to tape that many shows a day, the woman has a life too.

Let's say she doesn't interview every author. What is the likelihood that I would be one of them she does do? Zero. First of all, I don't write the kinds of books that get sensationalized. Second, as far as I know, and I think I would have heard about it, there are NO plans for a movie deal. And most importantly, being on television just isn't me, no offense to Ms. Winfrey.

Another hidden truth about this business that every starry-eyed beginning writer doesn't know about is that royalties only get paid on the first sale of a book. That is after the advance has been recouped, if there is an advance. So, nope, no royalties on used books, shared books, library books. The trick is to sell lots of books because the pittance made on each book does add up.

Here's another little dirty secret to this business, the first draft is not ready for publishing - not in a long shot. It feels so nice to get the thing written that it seems done, but it is not finished. There are a couple of rewrites, beta readers, editor's notes, proof reading, designing cover art, assigning ISBN, pre-publishing marketing -- then the proof book, which must be read in detail as well as viewed for formatting issues. Oh and did I mention [in the US] that Library of Congress catalog number thingy and registering the copyright. Just think, I've got four of these projects going and I didn't have time to write today.

Whew, I just made myself tired.

There is a glimpse of a writer's life, an Indie writer at least. I think I'll take a nap!


  1. We'd love to see you on Oprah.
    My first draft is collecting dust, and no chances to change it's status soon.

  2. Oh darling, I don't think television is for me. With dyslexia, there are rough spots in my speech when I'm tired and "Captain Kirk-like" flow as my thoughts make their way to voice. Live interviews are not part of my dream. They don't appeal to me, so it is a good thing that they are unlikely to happen. (smiley)

    Your ms will find its way in its own time. Keep the faith.