Kayla Hicks - Author Kayla Hicks - Author

The Expectations V.S. The Reality of Being an Author

3 min read
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Because what people think it’s going to be and how it actually turns out are two totally different things.

So many writers dream of becoming an author, and to be frank, it’s a wonderful dream.

But — it’s a dream that also comes with its less glamorous reality. Here are 5 ways our expectations fall short of reality.

  1. You can quit your day job

This is far from the truth.

Many authors don’t see consistent sales from their body of work until they have 3 to 6 books under their name. And even if you are able to become acquired by a publishing house, any possible advance you receive from them is a one-time payment. And even this advance has the possibility of being paid back to the publisher if your book doesn’t make enough in sales.

At best or at least for most of your career, writing will be considered a side hustle.

2. The publisher will do anything to help you book

Many writers are under the impression that publishers are going to go above and beyond to ensure your book succeeds.

However, the reality is, they are already paying the salaries of all the people who got your book ready for publishing and the publication process itself. This means most of their budget is already spent. And only some publishers include a marketing budget in the contract.

A large majority of publishers expect authors to be able to market themselves.

3. Your book will be in bookstores

The chances that your book is going to make it into a bookstore are dicey.

Why is this? Because brick and mortar stores are not as popular as they were ten years ago. So, publishers aren’t always quick to get books in there and bookstores are still hesitant to accept Indie Authors.

If your dream is to get your book into a bookstore, you are better off building a relationship with mom-and-pop stores and seeing what happens.

4. A book tour will happen

In the past five years in person meet and greets have become less likely.

This is because things have become way more virtual, pivoting to blog tours and print interviews. More book signings than you suspect are organized by authors and bookstores.

So, if you want a book tour to happen, you need to make it happen.

5. Friends and family will support you by purchasing your book

Sadly enough, friends and family aren’t as supportive as you think they are going to be.

Yes, many of them will be willing to read it and provide feedback in the beginning. But when it comes to purchasing your book and leaving reviews, the likelihood of them following through begins to trickle off.

Long story short, don’t hang all of your hopes on their willingness to help.

The reality of building a career as an author is, you need to work hard and keep building.

Keep an open mind and make connections and you will go far.