A Note to Young Aspiring Authors
Have you ever thought of becoming an author? To be amongst the greats who have worked so diligently to get their works onto bookshelves? It’s something that many creative minds aspire to become, but never pursue do to barriers they put ahead of themselves. And if it’s not enough that adults have to deal with their own barriers, youth also have to deal with the barriers that adults put in their minds.
It took eight years to take my middle-grade novel, The Adventures of Nick and O-Zone: Protectors of the Universe, from a simple vision in my imagination to the reality I wanted it to be. As a youth writer, I had to face fears that I placed ahead of myself almost daily. Was my story good enough for print? Would my book sell? Or worse, would it be rejected? Then there were also the doubts that other fed to me- words of so-called wisdom such as “getting published is tough” and “you should focus on smaller goals.” I focused all my energy on the largest goals and still achieved my smaller goals- funny how that works.
People often ask me how many publisher’s rejected me before I was able to get into bookstores. The answer is always zero, because I never submitted my manuscript to a single traditional publisher. It’s not that I didn’t want to be traditionally published, it’s that I wasn’t interested in asking for my book to be published only to be told that I had to re-write it a certain way in order for it to be successful. I decided to go indie, and within months my book started popping up on the shelves at major bookstores next to the traditionally published books. I may not have signed a big publishing deal, but my book is now exposed to the masses and selling copies instead of sitting in my computer as an unpublished manuscript.
So what advice can I give to young, aspiring authors? Don’t get published for the money. Sure, it’s an amazing feat when someone pays you six-figures to write a book, but there are many ways that you can pay yourself to write. If you’re getting into it for the money, go get a master’s degree in literature, find a job that pays you to write, and hope that someday a publisher approaches you to write something bigger. However, if your dream is to be a published author, you need to put the money game aside and focus on writing a story that will stand out and show the world your deepest passion for literature. Once you have a solid manuscript to work with, follow your heart and take the path of least resistance to your goal.
Success is not measured by how much money you can make, it’s measured by the amount of people you positively impact through your work. If you’ve managed to publish your manuscript and make at least one reader smile, you’ve just become a successful author. And when that one smile turns to thousands, the money will flow in effortlessly.