“First-time authors reveal all”

Five authors, all recently published, all with very different stories (literally and figuratively).

Litquake event

Belo Cipriani, Bill Peters, Stacy Carlson, Elizabeth Percer, Sarah Ladipo Manyika

As someone without a published book, it is tempting for me to believe there is a “right” and “wrong” way to go about this process, and that can be distracting. I chug along my merry way, then go to a seminar and leave thinking, oh crap! My plan is ridiculous! I’d better (insert whatever the speaker told me to do).

Good speakers are very convincing, and most don’t stand behind a podium saying “Well, you can do it this way, or that way, or do nothing…” As a result I hear many strong proclamations.

Happily, this panel was a great reality check. Some of the authors have agents, some do not. (Stacy Carlson queried 175 before she found one, Bill Peters never found one and went direct to a publisher). Some do crazy amounts of social media. Some do none. Some took 10 years to write their book, others worked faster.

The bottom line is that getting a book written and published is a ton of work, and nearly all authors (not just on this panel) admit to fears of failure, feeling despair, wondering if the work is any good. One thing was said that I particularly liked (to paraphrase), “The day the book was sold was no different than any other day, no different techniques. I was doing the same thing I’d done all year.”

Perseverance. That is what these authors have in common. They all kept hammering away at this until they found what many of them called “the ideal reader.” Someone who gets it, who likes the book, be it agent or publisher.

The good new is, I am working hard, so I know I’m doing at least one thing right! Thanks to Liquake for putting on this panel.

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