- Guest Post by David Jester
1. I didn’t know how hard it was going to be. There’s so much work involved that I never accounted for. Endless amounts of editing, rewriting, publishing, marketing and designing, and that’s before I do any actual writing. I want to keep on publishing as many books as I can and ideally want to average 1 per month for the first year. I know I can write enough to fulfill that quota, but it’s not easy to find the time to write.
2. The reviews are hard to take in the beginning. I understand that nothing can be to everyone’s taste, but it’s still hard when those first bad reviews come. The pain eases over time, but as writing is a very solitary job and you’re very temperamental when you start out, they’re hard to accept.
The worst ones are the nonsensical ones. One of my first bad reviews (under my other alias) was from a woman who read another review which mentioned that my book had a lot of swearing in it. She then decided to write a review which ‘warned’ everyone else that the book had ‘foul language’ and told them that was the reason she wouldn’t buy it, let alone read it.
3. It’s lonely and stressful. There is a lot of work and a lot of long hours with only you to shoulder the burden. There’s also a great deal of doubt involved. If you’re not worried that your next book won’t sell, then you’re worried that your current book will stop selling.
4. No one cares.
When I first published my memoir I was worried that people who knew me would want to ask questions about it. There was a lot of stuff in there that I never told anyone, so the thought of them hounding me was the main reason I decided to use an alias in the first place. I shifted 400 copies of that book and expected the topic to be raised not only by my family, but by strangers.
The truth is: no one gives a shit. I have since sold another 30k copies of that book and the questions never came.
When I was a struggling writer, lapping up rejection slips like a melancholic dog, it seemed everyone wanted to talk about it. They all wanted to know how the writing was going, was I any nearer to getting published? Blah blah blah. I hated talking about it. Now that I’m finally published; now that I’m doing well; now that I’m finally happy with them talking about it and asking questions about it, no one mentions it.
5. It’s fun. Despite everything that I’ve just said, despite the long hours, the solitude and the endless doubt and worry, I really love what I do.