Congratulations on completing your book! Now let’s talk about how to put it out into the world. Every writer dreams of the large advance that allows her to quit her day job, the glamorous book tour, and the wide and adoring readership. While the publishing industry has changed dramatically in recent years, there will always be someone willing to pay top dollar to invest in the next big thing. But there is a difference between dreams and fantasies. If you are reading this first, before doing the hard work of rewriting your novel, I can assure you there is nothing in what follows that will improve your odds of getting published. On the other hand, if you are a hardworking writer who strives for excellence, and whose sole goal is to build a body of work, what follows will prove helpful.
There is nothing practical about making the career choice to become a novelist. The risks are obvious. There is no author union, no health insurance, no guarantee of selling your work, and no job security. The profession has one of the highest rates of suicide, alcoholism, depression and divorce – and if you are looking to get rich, you are probably better off buying investment property. In fact, I read somewhere that Woody Allen made more money selling his Fifth Avenue duplex than he did in his entire artistic career.
So, why do we write?
The irony is that if you talk to most successful novelists, they did not start writing to make money. They wrote because they had to. Yes, it is possible to auction your book to a major publisher, and if you can, you should. However, most careers are built slowly. There are steps involved. Here is a basic overview of some points to consider now that you have completed your book: