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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.
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:
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.