You dream about it as a writer: getting that book deal. You write and write. You do your research about the industry. You send out queries to agents. Months, sometimes years pass with a whole lot of rejections in your inbox. Then you get an agent. Huzzah! You send out books to editors. You get rejected. You wait on pins and needles. And sometimes you have to shelve book after book until finally you get the answer you’ve been waiting for. An editor finally wants your book! You’re going to be published! Finally, all those years of hard work finally paid off! This is that moment you cherish. You know it’s going to be great! You think it’s going to be glamorous! It’s easy from here on in, right?
What I didn’t realize back then was that the transition from unpublished author to published author can be, in different ways, just as difficult once you finally land that elusive book deal. I mean, it’s amazing, yes. But it’s not easy. There’s so many other struggles that arise once you’ve got a deal in hand. And as an author, I found myself becoming so wrapped up in those struggles that I almost lost the one thing that propelled me to want to get published in the first place – my unabashed love for writing.
See, there’s a lot of roadblocks that can come up as you start to navigate your position as an author, and in some cases, a lot of new heartaches. I remember how proud I was when I published my first book, Feather Bound – but I also remember how difficult it was when the publishing imprint collapsed, something nobody foresaw. I remembered how difficult it was when I, for the first time, had to deal with harsh criticisms from strangers about my writing. Now that’s something you do foresee, but no matter how many tools that are available for you to deal with it, it’s not easy once you start experiencing it for yourself. I remember the sudden pressure of needing to sell. I remember how difficult it was to start over. Even after I was able to sell Fate of Flames, I had a new set of worries. How far would this series go? How successful would it be? How will people view me as a writer? I’m a major introvert too, but I’d be expected to really put myself out there. How? And what about, again, reviews? Everyone’s got something they love, something they like, and something they hate. How do I please everyone?
There were so many things I was worried about that I forgot something important: at the end of the day, as writers, we write because it’s fun. It’s fun. It’s supposed to be.
There’s a lot of frenzy and craziness that surrounds getting published, a lot of worries and other complicated stuff, but at the end of the day, publishing runs because there are people who love to tell stories. And for me, the best stories I’ve ever told are the ones I’ve had fun telling. That’s really why I write. When I was a kid, all the geeky stories I consumed helped me dream and imagine, helped put a smile on my face, helped me through tough times. And really that’s all I want my stories to do for others. If I can put a smile on people’s faces – and put a smile on my own – then I’ve done my job. Once I remembered that, it put everything into perspective. I was able to let go of all those worries and stay focused on the thing I love to do most. And so I’m able to keep writing, because I’m able to remember that writing was the goal in itself.
You should never let anything about your publishing journey make you lose sight of why you write in the first place. Words are power and magic. No matter how many difficulties you run into in this crazy publishing world, you can never forget that.
Write. Have fun. Be happy. And don’t take things too seriously.
And never lose sight of the magic in your words.
– Sarah Raughley
I would personally like to thank Sarah Raughley for taking the time to share her experiences with us and for letting me share her thoughts and feelings through this blog! If you haven’t checked out Fate Of Flames, the first book in the Effigies series, I highly recommend doing so!
You can learn more about Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley, and my personal thoughts by checking out my review here!
Thank you for reading!