Friday, November 5, 2010

Don't Quit Your Day Job!

I find it cute, and sort of endearing, how many well-meaning friends/acquaintances have come up to me in the past two weeks (since I've signed with my agent) and said a version of this: "Are you about to be famous?!" "Are you about to be super-rich?!"

I think they're kidding, but they might not be. I think most people (who aren't writers!) have a false impression about what getting published really means. And, even before that, what getting an AGENT means. I find myself carefully explaining to these friends that my getting an agent ups my chance for publication, but still doesn't guarantee it. Many seem to think that "agent" and "publisher" are one and the same...

And, they don't realize - even if I do get published someday, I'm a first-time nobody, in the publishing world. I don't have a "name." A publisher certainly won't be shoving handfuls of cash in my direction, or guaranteeing they'll publish my next book. And the next and the next. (By the way, I think that an advance for a first-time author is around $7,000-$10,000. Sure, that's good money, but it's not going to sustain someone year-to-year). Getting published doesn't guarantee a CAREER (as much as I'd love for it to). In fact, something like only 4% of novelists can actually make a living at it (I think that's what I read somewhere...).

So, nope - I certainly can't quit my day job! (Not yet, at least. ;-)


  1. First, congrats on your offer! I actually found your blog from AW on the Chudney Agency thread. Yay!

    And this post made me laugh. When I signed with my agent, my mom asked me "So when will your book get published?" It was quite sweet but then I had to explain the whole process to her.

    Good luck with submissions!

  2. HI Caroline - thanks for posting! And congrats on your agent, too!

    LOL - yep, it's so funny, to see all the different reactions from people. So few people (non-writers) realize how difficult it is to get an agent, and then to get published. It always cracks me up that they don't realize the tedious journey it takes - the blood, sweat, tears, etc. People think you write a book, send it out, get it published. Piece of cake. Ha! I wish...