Managing Expectations

It’s one thing to have a fantastic manuscript and big dreams, but it’s another to have unrealistic expectations about how the industry will unfold in front of you. Each manuscript has a different path to publication–if it’s destined to be there–but, there are certain realities that never change:

  1. Be prepared. Know how the industry works and the processes involved. Know that not all first-time novels make it to publication so how are you setting yourself up to succeed in the long term?
  2. Don’t quit your day job. It takes a long time to see money come in from a book. Advances are split into three parts and you only see royalty payments come in twice a year, provided you’ve earned out your advance.
  3. Always keep writing. Whether you book is currently being shopped by an agent or you already have a deal, keep working on the next project. You never know what will happen so in the meantime: write!
  4. Research, research, research. Know what typical advances look like for debut authors in your genre. Know if tradition publishing is right for you. Know the role of each person in publishing you will encounter (see this).
  5. Learn self-awareness. There are those writers that are born to write, writers that learn the craft, but there are writers who write for themselves and think it’s for everyone. Know what category you fall into.

So think big, write well, and remember: until you get sufficient income from your books it is still a hobby.

Image via Dreamstime Free Stock Photos

Published by Carly Watters

Carly Watters is a SVP, senior literary agent and director of literary branding with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent that develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to detail and the relevant markets. PSLA’s mission is to manage authors’ literary brands for their entire career. Never without a book on hand she reads across categories which is reflected in the genres she represents and is actively seeking new authors in including women’s fiction, commercial and upmarket fiction, select literary fiction, platform-driven non fiction and select memoir. She occasionally represents children's book projects. Carly is drawn to emotional, well-paced narratives, with a great voice and characters that readers can get invested in.

2 thoughts on “Managing Expectations

  1. great advice …
    i wish that all new ( and some old ) writers took this to heart BEFORE they sent in their queries ! … it is like teaching this year’s crop of new-teen-age drivers: before this year’s group is brough up to speed, a new bunch, totally untrained, shows up.


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