By Robert Gregory Browne
Your book is going to be a bestseller.
You just know it is.
Before long you’ll be invited to appear on The Daily Show or David Letterman or, at the very least, get a chance to yuk it up in the wee hours with Craig Ferguson, where you’ll tell witty stories about how your novel developed from the germ of an idea to the work of genius it is today.
Oh, and signings. You’ll have readers queuing up for blocks, waiting to meet you and get their personalized message on their copy of your book.
The next logical step, of course, is a sale to the movies or television, and people will be arguing over whether or not Tom Cruise is the right guy to play the lead. And after all of this, your publisher will have no choice but to give you a seven figure advance for your next two—
Okay, enough already.
You get it.
Whether we admit it or not, this—or some variation of it—is what we’re all hoping for when we get that first traditional publishing deal, and some of us actually manage to live that dream. Not many, mind you, but there are always exceptions to the rule. Take a quick glance at the New York Times bestseller list and you’ll see a few.
But at the risk of offering you a bit of unsolicited tough love, the reality of being a published author is that the rewards are far less grand and a lot more personal than what we’ve been led to believe. The cold truth is that making a living at writing books is extremely tough, and for most of us it’s a hard and sometimes treacherous slog up a very steep and unforgiving hill.
So if you got into this profession for any other reason than the love of telling stories, the need to create characters and build worlds and develop plots that engage your readers, you’re in for a rude awakening. Because the biggest reward of writing books is a sense of personal satisfaction. Those small moments—like the rush of excitement when you know you’ve nailed a scene, or that email from a reader telling you she couldn’t sleep until she finished your book, or basking in the glow of a particularly good review…
Cherish these moments, because they are sometimes all you have to sustain you in a career that will most certainly have its highs and lows. Cherish the fact that you have done something that many people attempt but few actually achieve, then put your butt back in that chair and keep your head down and write the next book and the next one and the next one. And maybe one day you will hit the bestseller list or get that movie deal.
But even if you don’t, know that with the recent dramatic changes in the world of publishing, you actually can make a good living writing books. Right now is the best time in recent memory to be a novelist. A time when authors are finally taking control of their work and seeing financial and emotional rewards that were once quite rare in this business.
So say goodbye to the old dream and embrace the new reality.
Robert Gregory Browne is an ITW Thriller Award nominee and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling legal thriller, Trial Junkies. His first novel, Kiss Her Goodbye, was developed and filmed as a pilot for a CBS television series starring Dylan Walsh. Rob has written several acclaimed thrillers and his most recent book is the just released Trial Junkies 2: Negligence.
Rob grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, but now lives in Southern California with his wife, dog, two cats and seven guitars.
Trial Junkies 2: Negligence
She was found with a bullet in her head, and the kid she was last seen with woke up drugged and disoriented in a neighbor's back yard. Now the kid is awaiting trial for her murder, and crime reporter Matt Isaacs is convinced that there's more here than meets the eye. But Matt's old college pal, Ethan "Hutch" Hutchinson—washed-up actor and newly-minted trial junkie—isn't so sure, until a violent attack propels Hutch and his friends into the middle of a conspiracy that takes them all the way from the courthouse gallery to the not so hallowed halls of an exclusive Chicago prep school... straight into the hands of a killer.