Wednesday, September 10, 2014

So what's it like?

A few pals have been asking me here and there what being published is "like." I guess I'm supposed to have some kind of deep revelations to share but to be honest there hasn't been a lot that surprised me, nor are a lot of the details particularly interesting to the average reader. Your book publishes, and unless you or your publisher organizes events that you can excitedly blog about, there's not that much to say. But I'll give you a few reflections on my publishing experience that might be interesting or amusing for y'all.

  1. Reviews. Ahh, the review thing. I learned long ago in publishing-land that you're not supposed to "argue" with reviews. So far I've really enjoyed reading what others have thought about my book, even in the instances where they said they wished I had done more with XYZ or didn't like how I approached ABC. But occasionally, reviews are really perplexing and you seriously want to find the person and say "What do you even mean?" For example, I have one review that complains that I use too much confusing terminology, and in the same sentence that complains about it, admits that I define all the unfamiliar words--and then lists several examples of "confusing" terms. Punch line: they were words I did not use and appeared to be made up by the reviewer because I've never heard them before. But yeah, you can't really butt into conversations about your own book without looking like a jerk. You can't reply to reviews.
  1. Getting my name wrong. Mostly it's just people thinking my name is Julia, but seriously, this isn't something that has happened to me a lot in my life. Not even my junk mail gets my name as wrong as people have been getting it here. I'm getting "Julie Sondra-Decker," "Mrs. Sonders," "Julia Deckers," and all kinds of really weird mistakes, especially when people write to me addressing me as "Sondra." I don't really get why this happened in association with getting published when it never used to happen.
  1. Complaining to me about orders. I am occasionally having people tweet me, e-mail me, or comment on my Facebook page asking me to fix their Amazon order or wanting me to check on when their book will be there. I don't know what this is. I have never in my life had a problem with an order and thought "Hey, better ask the author where my book is." This contributes to my belief that some people think authors personally sell their own books out of a box from their homes. I think this might be the only thing about getting published that genuinely surprised me. . . . 
  1. Sales. I've been asked several times by friends, family, and co-workers how the book is "doing," and they mean as far as sales go. I don't know. I think that surprises a lot of people--that we don't have a daily e-mail or running ticker tape telling us how sales are going. Actually, this stuff is notoriously murky. We can see stuff that's public to everyone, like what its Amazon rank is, whether you hit any bestseller lists (mine has hit "top sellers in health/sexuality" and "hot new releases"), how many interested folks are adding it on Goodreads (which doesn't translate to sales). I'm not actually going to have a clear idea of how it sold until I get my statement from my publisher, and that takes six months.
  1. People get pretty excited. This is the really fun thing about it. People you don't know, as well as friends and acquaintances, say nice things about your book or excitedly post pictures of having received it along with their enthusiasm for reading it. Here are a few I saw on Tumblr or Twitter:

In a collection!
Simon documented the bookplate application. :)
Uh, and . . . I think that's really it!

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