"Man, you've got it easy. You're retired."
"Nope, I just retired from medicine. I've switched careers. Now I'm a writer."
"How hard can that be? Throw some words on a page."
If it were only that easy. But this isn't about how difficult it is to write. That's another subject for another day--suffice it to say, it isn't easy.
This is about all the other things that go with writing, after you finish the book. Of course, the first is finding an agent...because editors generally won't consider a book proposal unless it comes through an agent. And agents are particular about the clients they take on. After all, this is their profession, and the way they earn their 15% is through the book sales of their clients. So, first get an agent to represent you. And, by the way, it should be the agent who's right for you. Not just the first one who says "yes." It is--or should be--a long-term relationship.
While the agent is busy sending out queries and proposals and full manuscripts (those being the stages of the submission process, generally), the author should be working on book number two. But they're also supposed to build a "platform." This public presence is a means of building name recognition. Sometimes platform comes from the author's position. I mean, if an ex-President writes a book, the platform is already there. If I write a book, I'd better have something that makes the people who see it in the book store say, "Hey, I know him."
Then you get "the call." Your agent phones and says, "Your book has sold." So you can just sit back and relax. Right? Wrong. Not only are there edits and galleys and proofs and corrections to consider, you're now entering the marketing phase. Creating book trailer videos, getting endorsements, lining up "influencers." And so it goes.
So why didn't I get any writing done today? I've been busy with the marketing phase of my novel, Code Blue--and it doesn't even come out until April 2010. But, if you want to beat the rush, it's already available for pre-order.
That's the writing life. Keeping all the plates spinning. Always half a step behind. And I love it.