Weird Author Realities

I enjoy “realities” posts. They give a peek into published author life, and – like GI Joe used to say – knowing is half the battle. As a plotter, that really is my code. Today’s post focuses on strange niche items that didn’t fit well elsewhere.

  1. You will send more emails in your life (querying for agent, publish, reviewer, etc) that ultimately go unanswered.

These individuals are inundated with emails, so their solution is just not responding. Silence is rejection. My biggest problem with this isn’t the practice itself, but that most people don’t give a timeline. Many agents have rectified this. Agency submission pages will usually have a week limit to rejection, or you’ll get an email confirming they received your query with a timeline included.

Either way, not much you can do about it. Query like a mad person. Query wide, and if you’re on the fence about whether you fit, query anyways. Worst case is rejection or silent rejection, and we’ve talked about that.

2. You will find something you don’t like in your book or associated material.

Somewhere along the way, you’ll get your book when it’s all shiny new and realize – oh, shit, that sentence is awkward, or there’s a definite/indefinite article issue. Maybe your use of a colloquialism sets off a friend’s grammar senses like my blurb.

Weeks after it was out – a fellow author brought up how my switching between “bleached blond” in my book which is grammatically correct versus “bleach blond” which is a grammatically incorrect colloquialism in my blurb. We all have certain colloquialisms bouncing around our heads. It’s bound to happen, but man, did I feel stupid.

3. Amazon Sales Rankings don’t make much sense.

There are two modes of thought I’ve found to tracking sales as a small press author. While indie authors may be able to see direct numbers, traditionally published folks can’t. Some, therefore, avoid even thinking about sales. They concentrate on the next book, and honestly, those ones appear to be the sanest long-term to me.

The other school of thought results in obsessively trying to translate peaks and quantify data without all the factors. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t get ridiculously stressed in this though train. It’s possible to track the peaks. Authors can even attribute a single sale per peak. Is this correct? We have no idea.

I calculated half as many sales one quarter and nearly 1.5 times as many the next. Everything depends on everything else (millions of books, etc.), so not much we can do. Especially if you have a day job.

These are my top three weird revelations. What are yours?

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