Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Julie Mata, a local author in the Appleton area. My friend Alicia from the APL set up a meeting for the two of us to talk and share our experience as writers, authors, and the publishing process. Julie’s book Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens is a childrens/MG novel represented by Disney. However, despite having an agent and a great publisher, the two of us are pretty equal on the playing field.
Unfortunately for new authors, publishers are not terribly helpful. While Julie did receive a “down payment” for her book from the publisher, most of the marketing is on her. They do little advertising for her, but since Julie is not the biggest name in the industry, they don’t put a lot of money into getting her books out to the public. While this is disappointing, it was so helpful to hear from an author what her experience has been and how what I am doing now will eventually help me in the future if I do push for an agent.
Self-publishing and traditional publishing are both such difficult processes. It was amusing how as we listened to each others’ publishing process we were amazed at how much work the other did! I had to put down the money and make sure to get the proper editors, cover artists, and publisher of choice. Julie was paid for her book, but she had to query 50 agents and revise it 5 times before the book snagged an author.
It just goes to show, nothing about the industry is easy.
Yet, despite how much work it is, I love being published. I love being an author and creating a story. I love shameless advertising everyone I run into and talking up the book! I love the publishing process from getting 3,000 editor marks on a word doc to finalizing the cover art. I call writing my second starving artist career, but at this point in my life I would not change a thing. I know there’s no money in it (yet) and that it may take years before I am represented by an agent and people recognize my name. Even though the process is stressful as all h3ll I know I am in the right field because I can find the exciting bits in every process. I am revising book #2 and writing book #3 and while I may not get to work on one or both every day, I look forward to the small hours where I get to dig my hands into the world of fiction or tear apart chapters and make them better and more real. Talking with Julie got me excited again. It reminded me that it is possible to get an agent and it is possible for other people outside of my friends and family will be waiting for my next book. I cannot wait to start the query process soon for book #2!
(Also, check out Julie’s book below! Love the cover!)