book publishing 101
There's quite a bit of romanticizing happening around the idea of becoming a published author. Entire fantasies revolve around becoming a "real" author and seeing one's name on a book jacket, or watching a line of readers snake around the block at a signing. Acclaim. Fame. Wealth. A successful career doing what you love.
Oh, dare to dream!
What most people fail to realize is that getting a book published (in hard copy) is equivalent to being chosen for and completing, the Boston Marathon or hitting the jackpot at the casino. Possible, but not plausible.
The work starts long before the first chapter is written or that last sentence typed. The foundation has to be laid for the business of selling. Monetizing the craft. There's no dearth of good writing being produced by talented and determined writers every day. However, the publishing world has created a process so rigorous that only few will possess the secondary talents necessary to succeed.
I recently read a post on The Steve Laube Agency's blog that summed up this process rather nicely, and in a very direct, honest and relatable way. Dan Balow wrote Book and Author - Travel Companions which carefully outlines what publishers are looking for and how and what an author is expected to deliver "off the page."
"The completion of a manuscript is only one part of a lengthy process sandwiched between two periods of marketing, one which occurs before the book is written and the other after the book is published..... Willingness to do the marketing work is at the center of the author platform discussion. The tension created by the perception that author platforms are shameless self-promotion, can tear at the very fabric of creative joy which goes along with writing a book."
I hope you find this information helpful as you go forth and pursue your dreams. Remember, a good author is prepared beyond words.