Sean Rowe navigates the publishing world
The Florida-based author of FEVER doesn’t just have a hell of a “road to publication” story to tell, he offers tips on what he’s learned with publishing that are, well, rather amusing:
You will go broke. That six-figure advance? Here’s what
happens to it. Federal income taxes eat 27 percent. Now pay your
literary agent 15 percent and spend a few thousand more on state income
taxes. Finally, you get to pay back all the debt you’ve accumulated in
recent years, much of it directly related to writing the book. When
it’s all over, you have about enough left for a new pair of socks and a
Whopper with cheese.
Your ex-girlfriend will sell your soul on eBay. You inscribe
an advance review copy of your novel and hand-deliver it to an old
flame. Weeks later, she calls you and mentions that she was cleaning
house recently and sold your book on eBay. For three bucks.
There will be no groupies. Rock stars have groupies. Aspiring rock stars have groupies. Aspiring rock stars who live in their mothers’ basements have groupies. You will have no groupies.
No one will tell you shit. What’s the first print
run? What’s the promotional budget? Will there be a book tour? If so,
how extensive? Finally, how are sales going? These seem like reasonable
questions, but after e-mailing New York for the tenth time and
receiving polite brush-offs, you will learn to stop asking.
Your second novel will suck. Why do so many second
novels prove to be stinkers? It’s not just the psychological pressure
to live up to a successful first one, though that’s part of it. It’s
because, from the moment you sign that contract, you may have as little
as a year to deliver the goods. In reality, you’ll have six months,
because you will still be working your day job, waiting for the advance
to arrive so that you can quit. And guess when the deadline for your
second novel occurs? Precisely when you are spending eighteen hours a
day promoting your first one.
And that’s exactly why you get novel #2 done before you sign on the dotted line for novel #1, if at all possible…
I don’t agree with all of Rowe’s assertions, if only because I thought Oline Cogdill made her case plenty well for why she didn’t care for the book.