Updated: Sep 25
Everyone has a dream of doing something big. At least I sincerely hope they do.
For people who enjoy biking as a hobby, perhaps they’d love to participate in the Tour de France someday.
Those who are fascinated by engineering may occasionally get a little lost in their own heads… thinking about what it would be like to develop the next big AI advancement.
And someone who’s into fashion could watch every runway show they can possibly find. They’ve got the walk down. They’ve got the attitude. Now they just need the gigs.
Then there’s us authors and authors-in-the-making. What most of us fantasize about is easy enough to figure out.
We want to be wildly successful writers. The next Gillian Flynn or Sharon Kay Penman or Kate Quinn or Terry Pratchett. Right?
Whatever genre you write in, no doubt you’ve got an ideal: some writer who’s made it all the way that you’d love to share success stories with down the road.
How cool would it be to be a published author whose books sell all around the world? How awesome would it be to make writing fiction your career – and an affluent one at that?
Alrighty then, authors and authors-in-the-making. Let’s go all-in and fantasize about what it would be like to become the next literary “it” girl or guy.
With one caveat though: Let’s throw a little reality into the mix. Like this…
Think about your life as a famous author.
Let’s say you publish your book, and it takes off. You sell millions of copies worldwide. It gets translated into 67 different languages, and your name (or your pen name) becomes universally known. If all that happened, here’s a question for you... could you handle it?
Don’t give a split-second answer. Really think about what that kind of publicity means: the responsibilities, the focus, the interactions... the expectations to write more books on a set schedule. Being a successful author can mean a whole lot more than you might think.
It isn't necessarily all selfies with adoring fans.
I’m not trying to say don’t dream about becoming a wildly successful author. Hey, that’s still my dream even after analyzing all the pros and cons.
It’s just that there are indeed pros and cons to analyze.
For instance, on the one hand, you’ll have many people loving and lauding you. You’re their inspiration. Their hero!
On the other, you'll have people writing nasty reviews about your work. Stuff along the lines of, “This was the most boring, pointless read I have ever picked up, and I hope the author realizes someday that he’s an absolute idiot. Total waste of time.”
Even those kinds of responses aside, prepare for some physical exhaustion. After all, you’ll be traveling to a lot to conventions and book fairs and speaking engagements and the sort.
How many a year? Go onto your favorite author’s website to get a feel for it. Depending on how you’re published and who you’re published by, your contract could involve one very booked calendar.
Speaking of contracts and calendars, most wildly successful authors are more employees than entrepreneurs.
They don’t completely call the shots on when their next book is written and such.
That can be a lot of pressure, and it can lead to some seriously shoddy results, leading to more of those nasty comments we mentioned before.
If you think you can handle all of that, then go for it… right after we discuss one more aspect of your publishing possibilities on Friday.
Editor’s Note: Read the next post on publishing expectations here.