SCBWI Panel Event - How to Survive Being Published

The slings and arrows of publication 

by M Louise Kelly 

Ever dreamed of being published? Of course you have. That's why you're here, right? It'll be a dream, all your troubles over, plain sailing…. erm, I think it's time for a reality check. Our SCBWI panel at the Edinburgh International Book Festival event, 'How to Survive Being Published,' are just the folk to help guide you through the process and show that while it's not a dream, it doesn't have to be a nightmare, either. 

Our wonderful panel consist of authors Jane Yolen, Elizabeth Wein, Nicola Morgan and Christina Banach, plus agent Amber Caravéo from Skylark Literary, and we're grateful to the Edinburgh International Book Festival for kindly sponsoring this event on 20th August

SCBWI panel at Edinburgh International Book Festival

Are you being published soon? 

Get ready... Getting published, seeing your book on the shelves and in people's hands, being IS all the stuff of dreams, but you'll not find an author who hasn't got a wee story of things they wished they'd realised before they started. Many tell tales of the hectic time between given their publication date and having their launch party, and things they wished they'd had in place. 

Image Credit: Thomas Hawk CC license.
For others who are two or three books in, there's the reality of dealing with the publicity machine and trying to steer some of a publishing house's attention their way, when a thousand other authors seem to be attracting more resources and more spotlight. 

How do you keep publishers onside when you're no longer the shining new toy, but you still want them to push your latest book? Is having an agent any use at times like that -- for emotional as well as editorial guidance? 

The balancing-act of an author's long-term career 

Even after your debut is long behind you, there's lots to survive in the longer term. You're established, but you have to maintain momentum and keep the earnings coming in. Published authors need to confront decisions about how much time to spend on writing-related events instead of bum-on-seat writing. How do you keep yourself sane, earn enough to live on, and still keep those creative juices flowing? 

Gone are the days when writers just wrote, sent the book off into the shops and hoped for the best. There's a load of self-promotion to be done, on-line and off, formal and casual, and all without looking like a shouty loon. How on earth do you get that balance right? Do you really need a 'social media strategy,' or is winging it enough? Would you know what to do to make the best out of being sent on a world tour with your books… or seeing your work in translation? 

And what about dealing with other people's opinions of your work? There's a thought, eh? How do you steel yourself to read your Amazon review? Or survive a Goodreads mauling? Or do you avoid looking altogether? 

Being published is just the start of the journey. 

You still up for it? Of course you are. 

Personally, I'd not say no, but I'm super-keen to make publication as painless a process as possible -- that's why I'm really looking forward to going along to this event that our Southeast Scotland network is hosting in Edinburgh on 20th August. Tickets are free to SCBWI members but nearly 'sold' out, so hurry if you'd like a place (click here).

If you can't make it, keep an eye out here in Words and Pictures for our event report, when we'll try and give you a flavour of exactly what we learned! 

Louise lives and writes in Edinburgh, Scotland. She is the co-ordinator for the magnificent Southeast Scotland SCBWI Network alongside the wonderful Sheila Averbuch (@spacekidsbooks). She is represented by Lindsey Fraser of Fraser Ross Associates and is determined to survive being published… just as soon as she gets a publication deal.

1 comment:

  1. Personally I am so looking forward to this event, to catch up and meet new SCWBI friends, and to listen to the words of wisdom. My collection of YA short stories has been self published for six months, but hardly written a new word since.


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