Reasons You Should Not Publish A Novel

 Many writers keep an image in their mind of how life will be when they become a successful writer.  For many, successful means the day they see their novel in print; imagine, no daily commute, no staffing problems, issues with the boss or management, freedom to plan your own day, spending the day in your PJs.  Perhaps it's time to take of those rose-tinted specs and take a squint at the real world; there are many reasons why you should not publish a Novel.

 Actually, those many reasons can be distilled down to two biggies - 'Money' and 'Time.'  It's vital, upfront to plan how to make these two elements work for you rather than against.

Money

 Along with the 'no boss, no commute, no staff problems etc...' comes - No Pay Cheque.

For most writers this is the hardest part, the problem of how to support yourself until you can publish your novel.  While you are scribbling away in your writer's garret, bills will be rolling in and have to be paid. 

If a writer has had work in print before and built up a bit of a track record, a publisher may accept a novel just from a synopsis and a well written covering letter.  However, if you're a newbie, this scenario is highly unlikely, and your work will be relegated to the 'slush pile.'

For most writers there is a constant battle between having enough of the green stuff coming in, but still leaving yourself time to write.  some fortunate folk seem to be able to write through the night without it affecting their day job, but I'm useless if I don't get at least eight hours sleep.

Securing an Advance for Your Novel

 If you are lucky enough to have a manuscript accepted for publication, that's the time to negotiate an advance.  The idea being that this sum of money will 'tide you over' whilst re-drafting your novel and see you through publication, until royalties start rolling in.  A few years ago this was the case and advances could be in the tens of thousands of pounds.  Now, unfortunately, an advance of £1000 is good and £1,500 fantastic, hardly sums that are going to 'tide you over.'

How to Have Some Readies Rolling In

If you can manage your full time job and publish a novel as well, that's great - stop reading now.  If not, here are a few tips to use as a starting point, although this is by no means an exhaustive list.

Part time work.  Many writers are fortunate enough to be able to shift to part-time work, thus still generating income.

Changing jobs.  Some writers switch to a less demanding job and give themselves a deadline (say two years) by which time their work must be in print.

Work from home. Apart from writing a novel, there is other writing that will bring in money. This way, one can still work from home, but have some cash coming in. For example:

Freelance copywriting. There are numerous websites out there needing copywriters. All you need is a good grasp of the english language and to be able to write to a deadline (if you don't have these two skills, should you be writing a novel anyway). I use a site called Freelancer, and receive regular weekly work and more importantly regular weekly payments in this way. I don't intend to go into details here, but have written a hub about it here, or you could click on the link in the box to explore Freelancer yourself.

Article Content Sites. Hubpages is an example of an article content site. Most work along similar lines in that you write about stuff that interests you, Google places Adwords around your articles and when people click on those ads you receive a proportion of the cost of the ads. There are many sites like this, such as Infobarrel, Helium and many others (see the link box), but I find Hubpages easy to use, pretty much glitch free, and your articles rank well on Google. I don't intend exploring 'How to Hub' here, as there are so many articles already written on the subject - have a look around, it's a great site.

 Blogging.  Personally,  this is not a method for me, as I feel the best bloggers, and by best I mean those able to earn plenty of money, are people who are really into SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and who are really able to 'sell' their blog to others.  I'm always distracted by the content and the words rather than the assertive business side of things.

Websites.  There are some great web packages around at the minute, such as Wordpress, but again you really need to be ruthless about SEO to make money.

If I had to prioritise this little list, I would put freelance copywriting and article content at the top, as copywriting brings in guaranteed money, but sometimes the subjects can be boring, whereas article content sites will bring in money after some while, but you have complete freedom of subject matter.

 And So, on to the other fly in the ointment:

Time

Discipline is a huge part of publishing a novel. Time management is key to getting your words in print, otherwise your book will forever remain a dream. Writers seek to solve this in different ways:

Working part time. That old chestnut again. Although this brings in some money, reducing one's hours doesn't always give back the amount of writing time you expect. Employment still tends to expand into your writing time, as you'll be first on the list to cover sickness and holidays. The household chores also bleed into your writing time if not careful. There may be an expectation that, as you have more time at home now you will do X Y and Z for the family.

 Working from home.  This could be ideal, however, many writers find writing article content so compelling that they think, I'll just write another hub, check my hubscore and how much I've earned today, then I'll knuckle down to the book...  Well, you can see where that's going.  Likewise, when  browsing work offers from Freelancer (I get around 10 emails a day offering me work) it's a bit like choosing candy from a box, then all of a sudden you've won the bid and there's a deadline; however the following pay cheque is great.

Again, watch those household chores too, they expand like rising dough, particularly if a novel is going through a tricky patch.

When will My Book Be Published

Actually, two of my books have been published already - take a look here

Another reason why you should not publish a novel is the sheer length of time it takes to see your words in print. Say, for example, you plan your time and committments really well and manage to write your first draft in a year. Your MS will then have to be sent round to several publishers. This process can be a waiting game that can take months, during which time there's only one thing to do and that's write another novel.

If your novel is lucky enough to be accepted, there will undoubtedly be re-writes, before the story is considered good enough, then the publication process itself seems to take forever. The whole process from inception to publication could easily take four or five years, and then there's no guarantee that ther book will sell.

Are You Fit to Publish?

 There is another potential reason you should not publish a novel, and that's your health.  Not only can it be a roller coaster of stress, deadlines, late nights, early starts and coffee, spending the day sitting in front of a keyboard wearing lovely, comfy, sloppy clothing can lead to an expansion of the backside and waistline.

In fact, having read my own article and fully understood the reasons not to even start writing a novel, am I going to continue scribbling away at mine? - you bet, but I'll just check my hubscore and Google earnings, put a wash in the machine and make a coffee first.

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Comments 30 comments

Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

This is an Awesome hub, you are sooo.... right about everything you said, my publisher keeps calling me bugging me to write the sequel and I just don't feel like it. I am so busy writing my articles and once I get in the mood I will do it. I am lucky, I am retires. Fantastic information, thanks you so much...


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for such a great advice. I s freelancer and freelance.com the same? Thank you again for an interesting read.


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada

What a wonderfully delightful hub! All you say is so true...yet then, why do all we writers continue to hope and to write. Day after day we sit (increasing the sideways girth of our backsides) and, using your phraseology, we scribble away at our own stories. Because I cannot envision a day when I DON"T write and/or read! I'm afraid whether I am formally published or not one day...I will still write! So I might as well keep writing and enjoy!!!

Loved your hub, at me agreeing and giggling.

Blessings

UlrikeGrace


Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor Author

Darlene, you're welcome. What a lovely situation to be in, though, hounded by your publisher to write a sequel - well done!


Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor Author

Hello hello. Thank you. I think it's just freelancer.com (they went through a name change a few months ago)I do shorten it when I'm writing sometimes to Freelancer, possibly I shouldn't do that.

UlrikeGrace, thank you. I don't know why we do it, but I know that we must do it, so keep on writing. That's why I think sites like hubpages and freelancer are great, because at least, then I can earn a little money doing it too!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you, Georgina, for the information. Gosh, I didn't know about the advance fees for a books. I bet these people wouldn't write a chapter for that amout. That is not a payment it is an insult. Thank you again for putting us wise.


parrster profile image

parrster 6 years ago from Oz

Thanks Georgina_Write. I too have found that writing fulfils little more than my passion to write (which is fine, but pays not the bills). However, like many, I shall not, will not, cannot stop writing. Therefore, the challenge is to set aside a time that doesn't take away from fulfilling other priorities and then diligently stick to it, i.e.: write. And one day, who knows, maybe some publisher will show pity ;)

Great hub.


Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor Author

hello hello. Thank you, yes, advances have plummetted during the recession, but there's no alternative.

parrster. Thanks for the positive comments. You never know. Keep writing and sending stuff out - you'll get there.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 6 years ago from Upstate New York

You really said it all, and said it well, about writing a novel in today's environment.


Character 6 years ago

An interesting Hub with sound advice. Thanks for the info.


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

Excellent points and advice. My manuscript is with publishers now I know I am still not in the safe zone as they could still decline it. I also have a 5 year old son that sometimes makes writing a bit difficult and of course I want to spend time with him so its a delicate balance.


Rachel B. 6 years ago

Very helpful article considering I'm currently working on my first novel. Thanks for the information!


Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor Author

Paradise7 - thank you. They're certainly tough times at the mo, but maybe by the time my novel's in print in 4 years or so, things will be different????

JannyC well done you, for getting your MS out there. Hope it goes well. It's a delicate balance this writing and life stuff isn't it?

Rachel B - keep going with it and let me know how you get on. Having two books currently in print, I know how hard it is to make any money from this writing malarky, but I think we should all keep on writing - there's room for more creativity in the world.


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

The best part of this hub is the comment at the end! lol.. Do it anyway! Can I join you for that coffee? :)


houseaz 6 years ago

Wow I love it! Put very squarely and succinctly! I'm working on my first non-fiction book about living an engaged life. I've posted an excerpt if you want to read it on my hub (is that right? I'm new to hub pages) and give feedback that would be awesome!


Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor Author

Thanks shazwellyn - yep, you can join me for coffee. Despite the solitary hours and poor (if any money) we've just gotta keep writing.

Thanks houseaz. I'll skip over now and have a read.


hypnodude profile image

hypnodude 6 years ago from Italy

Great article, honestly written and full of real-life good advices. Well, there's a reason why you get ten emails a day as a freelance copywriter, right? :)

Rated and stumbled. Well done Georgina.


WKoppin 6 years ago from Michigan

An apprecialbe perspective on the topic. I personally can't see myself as a "writer" for a career path, but will not, and cannot, ignore a ceratin joy dervied from writing. As such, I seem to have caught on to one of your "golden" rules, and found a more steady source of income. I would only aspire that later on in life, or even with ample time set aside, that I may be able to write somehting WORTH publisihing, as the market now...leaves something to be desried more often than not.


Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor Author

Thanks hypnodude. Yep, I do a mix of stuff - nice steady income from copywriting while the novel trickles on in the background.


Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor Author

WKoppin, who knows, the market may pick up, but I suspect it will remain the same, so the creative stuff, for me, has to take a back seat while I write for an income.


nick247 profile image

nick247 6 years ago from United Kingdom

There goes all my ambition...I fear I'm too much of a victim for procrastination like you..


Riviera Rose profile image

Riviera Rose 6 years ago from South of France

You're so right...it's a tough business. I sit here with three brown envelopes on my desk - submissions for the post tomorrow. Never give up!


Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor Author

Keep at it Nick 247, you never know which piece of work is going to be the biggie for you. Riviera Rose, never give up, my motto also. You need to develop a thick skin to get you over the rejections though.


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

I love your writing. I think you have a point. We have to make a living. For me writing is my fist, last and always love but I have a day job like everyone else. I like you attitude. Rated up and awesome.


Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor Author

Thanks KoffeeKlatch Gals - yep, it's hard to make a living through writing, but it's a wonderful thing to do.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 6 years ago from London, UK

Thanks for the useful advice/tips. I've noticed a lot of people resort to publishing ebooks and still make good money selling online. (but it's always nice to have a hard copy) Congrats on the publication of your books.


Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor Author

Thanks Lady_E. I keep thinking I should pubish some ebooks, but it's finding the time!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 6 years ago from UK

I made myself a promise in January that I would try and get published for real this year (not just on HubPages!) but the months have passed and here we are looking October in the eye. I'm no further forward, and I'll soon be composing my new year's resolutions for 2011.

Your hub outlines the reality of a writers life beautifully.


Georgina_writes profile image

Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor Author

It's a tough world Amanda, just don't give up!


creativeON 5 years ago

Nice write up usually I never reply to these thing but this time I will,Thanks for the great info.

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