|Photo credit: Martin Bekkelund on Flickr|
The why is obvious—we all want to be successful, and to be successful doing something that you love is even better, so it's only natural that writers would find themselves daydreaming about their book becoming a New York Times or Amazon bestseller.
But becoming published isn't something that you can do with a snap of your fingers—even independent authors have to take the time to write and edit their book, as well as deal with proper formatting and other issues of the like. On top of that, because developing your writing skill enough to reach the level of ready for publishing takes a lot of time and hard work, most writers will spend years working unpublished before they see their dreams come true.
Time as a unpublished writer can be difficult—you put a lot of effort into something with very little reward, recognition or monetary feedback in return. Unpublished writers are rarely just writers—they're parents, students, employees, etc. and just finding the time to sit down and write can be a challenge, so it's no wonder that we like to dream of a published future.
But while making our way through the daily grind, we often forget to appreciate our experience now. We forget that being an unpublished writer has it's pros as well, because while most of us want to eventually become published, being a published writer isn't much easier than being an unpublished one.
What do I mean by that? Let's take a look at some of the things published writers have to do:
- Write under a deadline. The published writer lives deadline to deadline, book to book. Even after the grueling process of fully completed a novel, there's always another book to write with editors, agents and readers all waiting for you to meet the next deadline.
- Edit under a deadline. And the same goes for editing. Meeting deadlines are not optional for published authors if they hope to be successful.
- Market their book. Regardless of whether you're an independent or a traditionally published author, some aspects of marketing the book falls on the writer's shoulders. How much of it will likely depend on the route the writer takes and the publisher they end up with, but avoiding it entirely is impossible if they want their book to sell.
- Write author bios, synopses, back cover copies, pitches, etc. Even when the published author has finished writing and editing the book, there are pitches and synopses of various degrees that need to be completed. And every writer loves writing synopses.
- Attend publishing/book promotion events. Whether it's BEA, a panel at Comic Con or any number of book tours, published authors (especially traditionally published ones) have to attend promotional events throughout the year to keep up with the publishing industry and (again) market their book.
- Work. Just because an author is published doesn't mean writing is their only job. Many authors, both traditionally and independently published, work a full-time job in addition to juggling the responsibilities that come with being a published author. Time management isn't any easier just because your book is on sale.
Now don't get me wrong—I'm not saying that being a published author is awful, but there's something nice about being able to work off a deadline—to being able to write whatever you want, whenever you want just because you want to, rather than because people are waiting for your work. There's a freedom to being able to learn at your own pace and not suffer serious consequences if you can't get to your latest WIP for a few days, or weeks, or however long you need.
Yes, we all hope to one day be published, but don't forget to enjoy the freedoms of the unpublished writer while you can.
What do you think? Am I overstating the pros of being unpublished? Share your thoughts in the comments below!