I have aspired to being a published author since I was a child, and now I will be one.
I attended WorldCon76 in San Jose, California last August and met the lovely people of Paper Angel Press at their booth. I remember it quite vividly. I was looking quite dapper in my Royal Manticoran Navy Lieutenant’s uniform, with a daypack to carry all the books I bought. I don’t remember the name of the woman who was crewing the booth (I really suck at remembering names), but we had a lovely conversation and she invited me to submit a manuscript as they were actively looking for new authors. I took a business card, and continued my treasure hunt.
Upon arriving back home, I dusted off my last completed project, made sure it was in proper submission format, and sent it off. Paper Angel Press promised that they would respond within 30 days.
Forty-two days later, I received a reply saying that they are looking forward to working with me. They sent a draft agreement, and later a physical copy of the final draft arrived in my mailbox yesterday. It sits on the table next to the computer, and I have a pen in hand. Now what?
I have a feeling that after I sign this contract, my life isn’t going to be the same. I’ll be able to divide my life easily into two parts: Before Contract and After Contract. While I wrote prodigiously in my youth (usually when I should have been doing calculus homework), writing has been a hobby lately. Something I did for NaNoWriMo, or when I had a free weekend. Now somebody is going to pay me, not just for my wordsmithing, but also for the marketing of it, which comes part and parcel. Nobody is going to read it if I don’t do some marketing, and quite frankly, I suck at marketing as much as I do remembering names. I tried to be a salesperson once. It didn’t end well.
Now, writing will be a business. Assuming that I make a buck or two on the sale of the book, I’ll have to declare it on my taxes, list the expenses of traveling to science fiction conventions and book promotions on my tax forms, and all that other businessy stuff. And if the book sells well, I’ll be under pressure to write a sequel, or some kind of follow-up story, and people will be breathing down my neck for a deadline. If the book doesn’t sell well, I’ll be under pressure to write something better.