I have a treat for you today! I’ve partnered with YA Fantasy author Katie Cross to bring you this guest post on the reality of author life!
Keep reading to the end for a link to a FREE download of Miss Mabel’s School For Girls the first book in The Network Series!
Now without further ado…Katie, take it away!
Being an author is seriously the best job. Work in my pajamas, in my mountain home, on my own schedule, without having to take my son to daycare or work about washing my hair.
It’s perfect! Until it isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong—I adore writing YA fantasy. There’s something tantalizing about living in a world of my own creation, where I get to escape (and help others escape) to a place where anything is possible, girls are powerful in their own right, and don’t need a man to save them.
If only reality were that easy . . .
Let me dispel three big myths that I get asked about the author life.
We get to work in coffee shops all day, drinking mochas and answering fan email.
Working in coffee shops day in and day out, for hours at a time, can get kind of . . . distracting. There are lots of people in there!
While writing my fourth book, The High Priest’s Daughter, I would get up at 6:00 am, get dressed, (sometimes put on makeup) and head out to Starbucks. I’d stay for five hours. Yep. Five. That entire time, I would be writing, editing, brainstorming, and rewriting. Every day, I had a headache at the end. I smelled like coffee (not always a bad thing) and had a little too much sugar and chai latte in my veins.
While it was so fun to get to work away from my house (or some stuffy office cubicle!) the need to work often drowned the ambiance. If I let myself get distracted in the place and the fun of working at Starbucks, my work would never have gotten done. Bills would never have been paid.
Being able to work on one project for five hours definitely takes the glamour out of it. Have you ever read your own writing over and over again? Day after day? Fixed it? Analyzed it? Read the story until your eyes almost bled?
It gets intense.
Nowadays, I write from my kitchen table and chase a toddler around. It’s also quite distracting 😉
Writing books is easy.
In the same way that cutting off your own foot is easy, yes!
Coming up with ideas for books is easy (for some). We build up all sorts of dreams and aspirations for the story we want to tell. It’s alive and vibrant in our heads. That’s the simple part. (Sometimes!) The tricky part is getting that picture out of your head and onto the paper so other people see what you are seeing.
Then there’s first drafting (the first version of the story, and for me, it’s always hideous!) Outlining. Re outlining. Re outlining again. Then brainstorming. World building. Structuring. Re writing. Beta reading. Critiquing. Developmental editing. Editing. Line editing, Copy editing. Re writing (again) and proofreading.
Most of that is mechanics, because there’s still the need to understand story structure, character development, books in your genre, and how to make it your own. There’s a reason that a lot of people sit down to write a book, but not many of them finish.
Writing books is a marathon, not a sprint. Take it from me—it’s okay to be the tortoise in this scenario.
Authors are rich.
This is definitely true of some authors.
But the average author (traditionally published and self published) has to hold a second job because they don’t make enough from their writing in the first 10-15 years. Most books are written in the side notes of life: at football games, on the train, in the bathtub, or while walking in the morning. They’re written in the evening when the kids are down, in the wee hours of the morning before they wake up, and at naptimes. It’s hard to put out consistent books when you’re caught up in the bureaucracy of traditional publishing, and hard to fund and write lots of books when you’re self publishing and have other responsibilities (like a partner or children or a mortgage, for heavens sake).
That isn’t to say that it can’t be done. It can. It often is. Lots of authors make enough of a living to fend for themselves.
But it’s simply attained.
Being an author may not be easy—or always happen in a coffee shop—but it’s certainly the most rewarding career I’ve ever had. While there are downsides to the myths of being an author, there’s an element of truth in them as well. I get to work from home, take my work everywhere I go, and make money doing what I’m passionate about.
That’s pretty perfect, if you ask me.
Never Underestimate the Power of a Determined Witch
Letum Wood is a forest of fog and deadfall, home to the quietly famous Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, a place where young witches learn the art of magic.
Sixteen-year-old Bianca Monroe has inherited a deadly curse. Determined to break free before it kills her, she enrolls in the respected school to confront the cunning witch who cast the curse: Miss Mabel.
Bianca finds herself faced with dark magic she didn’t expect, with lessons more dangerous than she could have ever imagined. Will Bianca have the courage to save herself from the curse, or will Miss Mabel’s sinister plan be too powerful?
Miss Mabel’s School for Girls is the first novel in The Network Series, an exciting new fantasy collection. A gripping tale about the struggle to survive, it will take you to a new place and time, one you’ll never want to leave.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Katie Cross for working with me on this post and for being an amazingly friendly and open person! Thank you so much for all your help and effort!