Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Getting The Call Means Your Work Gets Harder

I think a lot of writers seem to think that once you get "the call" you life is finally going to be easy. This is far from the truth. It is also one of those reasons why I tell writers to really make sure you are ready to make the jump to professional writing before you start submitting.

Up until the call, you can take your writing from a leisurely approach. You have no deadlines, you can write what you want and certainly there is no one to pressure you. Your "online presence" is really a casual presence where you can blog about the things you want to talk about and not focus on the writing. Even trips to the bookstore are enjoyable and not about research and marketing.

Ahh, how things change.

It really is a tough shift moving to the professional writing realm. Now, along with making time for your writing, you will now have to consider time for that publicity, future planning, marketing and so forth. And yes, it takes time.

I was just talking to one of my writers today before posting this (she provided the inspiration) and she said she had spent the entire morning, time she had planned to write, on getting packages set up to go out to contests along with filling out countless online forms and dealing with Paypal for these contests. She had hoped to get a lot of writing done this morning and now the morning was gone. She was hoping to get the work now done after lunch.

This is what to expect.

I will say that the pressure of hoping someone will sign you goes away, but now the focus is on keeping that person.

Just some things to think about.

Have a great Thanksgiving.



  1. This makes it sound like once a writer gets an agent, she has to enter contests and pay for them?

    I'd assume the increased work would rather be getting the manuscript into shape for submission to publishers.

    Once it's sold, the publisher will want more revisions.

    Once it's released, the author will now have to promote the book.

  2. And yet I am fairly certain 99% of people would jump at the chance to do this type of work vs whatever they happen to be doing right now.

    And some unlucky sods have to do all that plus their 9-5 job.

  3. Sandra,

    Look, being published doesn't mean you get a free ride. Yes, you do have to pay for the contests. Contests are about getting your name out there. This is just another path of publicity and getting your name out there to readers.

  4. Scott,
    I don't quite get how entering a contest helps a published writer get readers. Other than the judges....? Is that the idea, to get it in front of other editors? Would appreciate some explanation. Thanks!

  5. Anon,

    For published authors, the contests are about getting the book in the hands of other readers. There are a lot of published author contests that "readers" do the preliminary judging. A good example of this would be the ROMCON contest. In this case, the sales for the people making finals really increased significantly.

    There are also contests where bookbuyers are the judges. If they like the book, they make sure your story is in their books stores.

    Hope that helps.


  6. Very interesting. Thanks for the clarification. I read several blogs and writer's magazines and have never seen anything like this, i.e. explanation of how it benefits a published author to enter contests. Perhaps this could be an article for you to write for RWA's magazine or Writer's Digest?
    Thanks again.

  7. Great post. I thought I understood. Harder and deadlines are just the tip of the iceberg. My mornings already disappear in a haze of reading.

  8. I'm anticipating this, but a small price to pay for greater freedom. Let's see, mulling over a deadline in my bunny slippers… I think I can handle it. ;)

  9. By now with all the information out there, it is clear that there is no free ride, but it is nice to have clarification on how much busier it gets, especially when you have small children at home. There are lots of mums who have books out there. They don't say much on how they do it. I can't begin to imagine how you would do it with a full-time job either.