Friday, 28 March 2014

Five Things I Wish I Knew About Publishing Before I Was Published, by Jen McConnel

Happy Friday! I don't know about you, but it's been one heck of a week for me! Luckily, our pub sister, Jen McConnel, whose YA novel DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is out now, has stopped by to tell us a few things she wished she knew before she was published. But first, here's a little bit about DAUGHTER OF CHAOS.

Title: Daughter of Chaos (Red Magic #1)
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Publisher: Month9Books
Author: Jen McConnel

There comes a time in every witch’s life when she must choose her path. Darlena’s friends have already chosen, so why is it so hard for her to make up her mind? Now, Darlena is out of time. Under pressure from Hecate, the Queen of all witches, Darlena makes a rash decision to choose Red magic, a path no witch in her right mind would dare take. As a Red witch, she will be responsible for chaos and mayhem, drawing her deep into darkness. Will the power of Red magic prove too much for Darlena, or will she learn to control it before it’s too late?

Five Things I Wish I Knew About Publishing Before I Was Published

The path to publication is different for every author, even for every book, and I’ve realized that no amount of preparation beforehand can eliminate all the bumps and surprises in the road. Conferences help, the writing community is a boon, but ultimately, at the end of the day, each author is on her own personal path, and she has to make her own mistakes and learn her own lessons along the way. So, in the spirit of sharing, here are five things I wish I knew about publishing before taking this amazing plunge!

1. There is no “one size fits all” model.

Not every book will be a good fit at a large house, and not every book will work out in the self-pub or indie market. There’s no one right way to pursue publication, but sometimes it can feel like published authors are indisputable gurus. Let me tell you right now; I can only speak for my own career, and each of my books requires something slightly different. Make the choices you want to make for your work based on as many factors as you can consider, but ultimately, it’s your choice. Your publishing career might not resemble anybody else’s, and that’s totally okay. In fact, it’s more than okay: it’s one of the most amazing things about being a writer.

2. Your book will not be right for everyone.

Gasp, shock, I know, but even when we may intellectually acknowledge that our books won’t appeal to every single person on the planet, that doesn’t mean we don’t still sort of hope they will. But remember; you aren’t writing for every person on the planet. You’re writing for you, and maybe the girl who cuts or the boy who believes in magic. Tell the story you need to tell, and try not to worry about who will love it or hate it.

3. Finding a publisher isn’t when your work ends; it’s when a new type of work begins.

You sold your book: congratulations! Celebrate, relax, but then get back to work. After you’ve sold your book, your work will shift from writing and revising. You’ll keep writing (I hope!), but you’ll also start thinking about things like publicity, social media, bookstore signings, and school visits. It’s a whole different kind of work, and one that may feel jarring after years of puttering along, writing stories alone and critiquing them with your betas and CPs. Don’t resent the changes; you sold a book! But be warned, your writing life will look very different post book sale than it did before.

4. The books you’ve heard about are only the tip of the publishing iceberg.

As a reader, I used to think I was up on current books, but since tumbling into the world of writing, I’ve realized that there are so many more books out there than I was keeping up with. It’s amazing and intimidating at the same time; there’s something for everyone, true, but there’s also the gnawing fear that people might not find your book. You can help get your book in front of readers; just think outside the box when it comes to helping people hear about your wonderful book baby!

5. Publishing advice doesn’t always keep up with the industry.

I love attending conferences, reading blogs, and stalking the careers of my favorite authors, but the publishing industry is changing rapidly. Advice that was sound ten years ago may be out-dated now. How can you decide which advice to take and which to leave? Follow your heart and your own path. Read everything you can, ask questions, and plug into the professional writing community, but at the end of the day, you have to make the best choice for your book. No one else but you can do that!

Thanks so much for inviting me to guest post today, and for hosting my tour! Happy writing and reading, y’all!

About Jen McConnel

Jen McConnel first began writing poetry as a child. A Michigander by birth, she now lives and writes in the beautiful state of North Carolina. A graduate of Western Michigan University, she also holds a MS in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania.  When she isn't crafting worlds of fiction, she teaches college writing composition and yoga. Once upon a time, she was a middle school teacher, a librarian, and a bookseller, but those are stories for another time.  Visit  to learn more.

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Jen said...

Thank you so much for hosting me today! Happy Friday!! :)

Elizabeth Holloway said...

It was our pleasure! Thanks for writing such a great (and true) post.

Dorothy Dreyer said...

Awesome post! Every aspiring writer should read this.

Stephsco said...

Very true about publishing advice changing. Donald Maass' high recommended book on writing the breakthrough novel is mostly awesome; just skip the query advice in that back that labels email queries as "too casual." LOL (My version has a 2001 publishing date).

At a conference two years ago, a very successful author talked about her strategies, but said outright: this happened in 2008. The market is very different now. That was a four-year difference, but in YA, the market IS totally different.

It's like keeping your cell phone for five years; it might still work to make calls, but you're 3-4 phone generations behind and won't be able to do much that's innovative until you upgrade!

Colleen said...

Thanks, Jen! Just getting into all this myself and what you say is definitely true. Kind of like starting a whole new career in a way. Overwhelming at first but exciting, too!