I’ve been thinking lately about the time commitments of mainstream publication.
I don’t know why this never occurred to me before (or maybe it did in a subconscious way) but if I were to quit writing for a little while so I could focus on submissions, and if I actually hit pay dirt and got an agent and publisher, would I even have time to do all that’s required of a modern author?
Looking at how constrained my writing time is already, I don’t know how I would manage the iterations of the publication process, the marketing (much of which is the responsibility of the author), the book signings, and all the other things it seems a traditionally published author must do, all the while working toward deadline on the next book and doing everything possible to make sure sales of the first book were sufficient to earn out on the advance and not get dropped by the publisher.
Sheesh. Sounds like I’d have to quit my job to do all that. Or at least quit running marathons, working out, cooking healthy meals and having Saturday lunches with my husband. For sure I’d have to give up something and I don’t have much I can really give up. I don’t watch TV unless something important blows up and I want to see the live news coverage of it. I don’t rent movies. I don’t go out to movies. I don’t do much blogging and I’m rarely on a forum more than ten minutes a day. I eat out only once a week and don’t go to bars, festivals, concerts, classes, or anything else. The only things I could cut back on would be work, sleep, exercise, healthy cooking/eating, reading the news, researching my stories, and writing.
In other words, I’d have to give up the very things that enable me to write in the first place.
Several of my blog friends have had recent breakthroughs on the road to publication and I’m going to be watching very closely to see just how much time is really involved in making that leap. If my suspicions are correct, I may be overdue for a little honesty with myself. I’ve been on the fence for awhile, dabbling in non-traditional publication methods, such as blog and POD, while holding back some of my work until I can pursue a more traditional route for it. Instead, maybe my strategy should be to just give my all to non-traditional publishing for awhile, embrace it and quit kidding myself that I can somehow find some extra time hidden under a stack of unread magazines or in the back of one of my cluttered closets.
I can always get back on the traditional publication track when I take my early retirement. And who knows? By then I might have a following and a New York house would be as thrilled to have me as I would be to have them. Or not. Maybe by then I’ll have very different ideas of what I’d like to do with my time. But one thing I know for sure: if the realities of traditional publication are incompatible with all my other life goals, something’s got to give, and it’s not going to be my health, my marriage, or my career.