How I Landed a Stellar Five Figure Multi-Book Deal
What factors played into my success and how you can set yourself up for a dream publishing gig
You wake up to your alarm like every morning. You shower. Kiss your love. Cuddle your fur babies and arrive at your desk with a hot cup in your hands and determination in your heart. Like a good desk dog, you check your email first. Sitting among the clutter of promotions, friend invites, and order receipts is an email from a publishing company.
Hey, So glad we got a chance to chat. We wrote up the contract. You'll find it attached. Can't wait to get started!
And attached is a publishing contract for $28,000.
That was my actual day not too long ago. I was offered the dream on a silver platter and took it for everything it was worth. Because I know that I’m not the only one out there who dreams of this happening, I figured I’d chart a small map so that someone else can find their way to the publishing dream. Now, what worked for me, might not work for everyone. But I’m a believer. I believe in you. I believe in dedication and commitment. And I believe the dream is real and attainable.
Deliberately work on your craft consistently
I would never have gotten that offer if I didn’t have the chops to back it up. All of my life, I’ve been a writer, but for only a small portion of it was I actually working on my craft and persisting. Once I turned 25, I realized that writing, whenever I felt like it and hoping for success, wasn’t going to cut it. The only way successful authors that I admired got to where they were was because they sacrificed and committed themselves to the craft.
This is something a large portion of writers don’t do. Many writers think they are working on their craft by writing stories or reading books, but they just end up improving marginally if at all. When I say work on your craft, what I mean is you have to actually practice the techniques you learn. Not just read a craft book and write a story, but use the act of deliberate practice to focus on a technique.
Put yourself out there
Jobs and opportunities rarely just find you. If you want great things to happen, you have to put yourself in the path of great things. I’ve spoken before about the wonders of networking within your niche and writing community. It is how a lot of professional writers got to where they are now. But networking isn’t the only way you put yourself out there.
You do so by actually putting your profile and resume up on a site, advertising that you are open for business. For me, signing up with multiple services that offer jobs is what got me picked up for the contract. Reedsy, Fiverr, and Upwork are all great places to start putting up your services and picking up gigs that’ll get your name and writing out there.
The job I interviewed for wasn’t the job I got in the end. Originally when I spoke with the publisher, I was interviewing for a copy editor position. But during the interview, I used any opportunity to slip in my writing skills. My resume also had some of my publication listings that matched what the publisher specialized in.
People aren’t going to know what you can do unless you show it to them. That’s what author marketing is, positioning and promoting yourself as a product or package.
Change your dream to match reality
While I’m not a household name, yet, and my name won’t be on the books doesn’t change the fact that I was paid for creating them. When I was younger, the publishing dream looked one way. That was getting an agent, having my book sell at auction to one of the Big Four Publishers, and getting onto bestseller lists, preferably New York Times.
But that’s not how a lot of authors out there living and working full-time by being an author actually achieved the dream. In fact, a majority of the writers who do go that track are still working full-time jobs in other demanding fields and get their huge payouts over the course of years. Once you realize that the road to success doesn’t look like how they made it in the movies, you’ll be able to open yourself up to more opportunities.
Manifest the dream
It sounds really cheesy, but the dream is attainable. I used to be an absolute fool when it came to writing and telling stories. My grammar was bad. I didn’t understand what a writing community was. And I floundered for years. What it took for me was changing the way I saw publishing and writing.
“When you put out content, consistently, and you know your voice, and your proud of the work you’re putting out, and people start paying attention, then something will come along.” — Deadline City
When I heard that quote, it rang so true to me and my experience that I needed to share it here. I wrote consistently for years doing work that I was proud of and wanted to do. Within 2 years of that, I signed that contract.
You can attain the unbelievable publishing dream. You can get paid to write stories while cooped up by the fire surrounded by books old and new. It’s all in what you do to get there. If you’re just writing, that won’t cut it.
What you need to do to achieve a five-figure publishing deal
- Deliberately work on your craft consistently
- Put yourself out there and get to know the people in your niche or genre
- Let people know what you do and what you’re good at
- Stay grounded and focused
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