Friday, September 22, 2023

What Really Is A Publishing Career?

I really wanted to address this issue. I hear authors, over and over again talk about being a published author. When I hear this, I have to always take it with a grain of salt. Why? Because in the "publishing world" we really have a full spectrum.

On one end, we have people who finish a book, get a ISBN number and that is it, we have to ask, is this really publishing or is it just printing a book? Technically, it is published and that is fine, but can you really put your self into the category of an author with a publishing career? Probably not. 

What about those people who have a couple of books and that is it? Are we at a "publishing career" yet? Still not there.

So, Scott... where are you going to with this? 

Well, let's start with the definition of "career"

an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person's life and with opportunities for progress.

Working with this, someone who is a "one hit wonder" does not have a publishing career. Being an author with a real career in publishing does mean that you are devoting not just a lot of time, but it is really another job in your life. This is no longer a hobby. You have to be in this for the long haul.

Here is what I want to stress. Publishing as a career is a time commitment. You need to be in it for the long haul. When you reach out to an agent or an editor, we want to know where you will be in the next 5-10 years, easily. You do need to expect spending at least 5 out of 7 days a week on your career. When you are on a deadline, expect 7 days a week. You cannot expect to make it a career if you are able to only produce a single novel each year. In today's market, you have to be a producer.

But let me just say, if you are thinking you can't do this, that is OK. Writing is for everyone! Maybe being a published author is not in your path. Maybe a career is not there.

Why can I say this? I have two books of poetry "published", and yes, I put this in quotes. The first was a personal project working with the writings of my grandfather. The second was personal work just for me. I wanted to take it to that next step and not just spiral bind it for my family. Is this a career? No. Am I published? Again, technically yes, but I am never going to flaunt it. I simply tell people I have put out two books of poetry. 

It is OK to find your place in the writing community. There is always a place for you!

P.S. For those of you who are conference coordinators, I do have a version of this as a keynote/motivational speech. Just reach out!

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