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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

How Much Wood Can A Woodchuck Chuck When Applying for Debut Novel Prizes?

Rodent People: I just wanted to let you know something in case you happen to have any delusion that getting published means making it, even getting published and getting coverage as a pick in People Magazine with Stephen King and Anne Lamott. I am lucky to have a day job because not only have I made zero dollars and zero cents on my novel, but I have actually shelled out quite a few clams to make sure it gets submitted to all the appropriate book awards and debut novel prizes. I am talking about anywhere from $35 to $95 in submission fees a pop, not only for each award, but also for each eligible category in each award, plus sending anywhere up to 8 free copies of the novel out of my stash of author's books, not to mention the postage I've paid. Seriously, I am in the hole at least a grand at this point, but these awards are a huge part of getting the novel to have an extended life, and most people consider them an essential marketing tool. Isn't that ridiculous? I think it is because whichever way you turn, the writer is the one who cares about the novel going further than just the original launch push, and so the writer is the one who pays. Maybe it's different in mainstreamed publishing houses; I'm not sure. Can anyone confirm or deny that the writer pays when published by Random House or Harper Collins imprints? I did wonder about this as I coerced one of my advertising buddies to help me make some pretty posters for my own readings at various book stores. I'm like a one-mouse marketing machine these days while still keeping up with the deadlines of my day jobs.  I tell you, it is an exhausting business, which does not favor the writer (or at least this writer) in any way, shape, or form. That said, I am also extremely grateful for the opportunity to have a book that's published and to whose success I am an indentured servant. I am also extremely grateful that I actually have a day job to fund all this craziness. I just wanted to set the record straight for anyone who is dreaming of the cushy life of a published writer these days. I do not think it exists. But, please, if you are out there sitting on your daybed, eating bon-bons, and thumbing a magazine, please do comment with a correction.

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