A Glimpse Behind The Curtain

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

Name that movie!

For me, I wish I’d had a few more glimpses into the reality of being a published author before I gave up my classroom and decided to write full-time.

If that sounds like regret, there’s nothing wrong with your ears.

I imagined life as a professional writer would be different. I would fall down into my fictional worlds every day, emerging around late afternoon to read someone else’s story for an hour before getting dinner ready.

No, I never thought I’d be rich enough to have someone else cooking my dinners.

Reality didn’t shock me. But it did shake me.

A Day in the Life

When I was a contracted romance writer, this is what my average day looked like:

  • Write for two to three hours
  • Plan social media content/newsletter for an hour
  • Visit blogs and promote other authors’ books for an hour
  • Read and review books for my publisher for an hour or two
  • When I was revising or editing, I would spend four hours combing through the manuscript
  • An hour of email to influencers/publisher/fellow authors to stay in the loop about upcoming releases, blog tours, giveaways and other publicity related items
  • Research for an hour or two during the pre-writing stages of a book
  • Researching editors, formatters and cover designers (for indie titles)

Is that how you imagined the life of a published author?

I figured there would be a lot more writing. And I assumed I would get better at writing first drafts so the revision phase would get shorter. Neither wish has materialized.

The Change

I’ve already written about losing my publishing contracts, so I’m not going to rehash that. But never had I envisioned a publisher tossing out said contract as if it was nothing.

Wait! We had a deal!

Except the deal was in their favor. Sure, I could have asked for rights back early, but they wouldn’t have to grant them. Why couldn’t I force them to keep my titles published for the term of the contract?

All the work I’d done for three years—unpublished in an instant.

Bye-bye back list. Bye-bye two stories waiting in the wings.

So did I still want to be a professional author?

My Reality

I’m still in search of the answer to that question.

Right now, I’m working on the first round of revisions on a collection of short stories. The plan? To self-publish it under my InkSpired imprint.

I hope it will sell, but I don’t market effectively. And I’m still not trying to make a million dollars with my books.

I want to make an impact.

But I do need to make enough money to break even. Or figure out how to crowdfund the next project.

Or work a day job to earn enough to pay the production costs.

Has this glimpse behind the curtain surprised you?

What do you think? Add to the discussion here.