It’s true that the traditional publishing industry can be mysterious and feel opaque.
The average book lover has no idea how a literary agent sells a book to a publisher, how a publisher produces and releases a book, or what makes a book a bestseller. As an emerging author, you might find yourself going down deep research rabbit holes trying to figure out if your book has a chance to make it. Many writers even give up on traditional publishing because the process seems so out of reach.
Keep your mind on the things you can control: your writing and your stories.
At the end of the day, your primary job as an author is to produce engaging, impactful, and immersive stories. Try not to feel stumped by your lack of knowledge on the publishing industry—sometimes, that can actually be a strength! If you end up taking the traditional path, you will have a team of industry professionals by your side who will do everything they can to help you stay focused on the thing you do best: writing.
In today’s interview, author Samantha Rajaram touches on her publishing journey and how she gains confidence in herself as an author.
OUR SPECIAL GUEST TODAY IS…
Her historical novel, The Company Daughters, is available now
What was the biggest obstacle you faced in your publishing journey?
Fear—at every turn of the journey from querying to signing to editing my book.
What is one thing you wish you had known about the publishing process before going through it yourself?
Honestly, ignorance was bliss! I knew it would be a hard journey and I was right, but my lack of knowledge about the industry emboldened me.
What's one writing "rule" or piece of advice that you decidedly break?
I don’t write every day—I almost always journal every day, but if I’m too tired or feeling unfocused or stressed about work or or my other responsibilities, I give myself a break from creative writing. When writing feels like being on a hamster wheel, it’s time to get off the wheel and do other things. I always come back to the writing eventually.
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What is the most memorable writing tip or technique that you have heard, and how did it influence your process?
I think finishing a manuscript is important. I felt much more confident about future manuscripts once I finished that first one.
How do you balance finding time to write and managing other obligations and responsibilities?
I wake up early to write, even if it’s just a few paragraphs. That’s still more on the page than I had the day before.
I'd love to hear from an agent or publisher specializing in the fantasy genre, particularly if there's anything they look for that's different from other genres.