Moving is like publishing a novel

After countless visits, phone calls and online volume calculators, I finally found a removalist who could move what we wanted for the price we were happy to pay. I thought my work was over. I even went back to writing and put a decent number of words in my WriMoFoFo spreadsheet for the first time in two weeks.

Then my boxes arrived.

It is day three of packing, and while I have nearly exhausted my box supply, the house looks just as full of books and trinkets as it was before. I’ve been down to St Vinnies so many times that I suspect next week the shop will be stocked entirely with my stuff. Yet there is still more to go!

This got me thinking; moving is very much like getting a novel published. You think the hard part is finding a publisher who wants your book, but it is only once the book is picked up that you find out about the real work of being a novelist.

Having never published a book, I know some of you are wondering how I would know, this is where the writers group comes in. Recently we watched two of our members get first time novel deals and go through the whole process. However, they are both still going through ‘the process’ despite having had their books on the shelves for months.

For us unpublished writers, the goal is getting that call from a big publishing house saying they want to include our opus in their list. But it is important that you don’t confuse ‘goal’ with ‘destination’, because once you are published you need to ensure that you get published again. To do that you need to make your first publication work and that means you need to work.

As an unknown author you might have to organise a lot of your own press opportunities, book signings, guest blog spots, possibly even your own launch. If you want posters, post cards, bookmarks or book videos, you may need to commission them yourself. All of this while also working on your next novel, because many publishers work on multiple book deals, with deadlines a year (or less) apart.

But if you are a writer, none of this will scare you off. It is a problem we would all love to have, unlike moving house, which is a problem that I can have all to myself. At last I see why buying a home is the great Australian dream; it is not a crazy desire to owe someone lots of money, we just want to avoid moving all our crap. It is so much easier to shove that spare set of Bocce balls in a cupboard just in case you need them again rather than finding them a new home.  


4 thoughts on “Moving is like publishing a novel”

  1. It is incredible the amount of stuff we accumulate over the years – but the trick is to keep the precious moments – even if they are a torn postcard or newspaper cutting that is worthless to anyone but ourselves. I understand the dilemma writers face – illustrators also face the same dilemma. I have also helped writers along the way who are self publishing with promotional material as you have suggested or full production. The illustrator part of me keeps putting off my own illustrating of a children’s story by hubby in the pursuit of work that will pay the bills. It’s a problem that all creatives face at some point.
    We love your stories Nat. Never stop writing and happy smooth moving.

  2. Doesn’t everyone? I pull it out at Christmas once everyone has had a bit too much to eat and drink. It’s almost a tradition now.

  3. Thanks for the encouragement. I think you should do the illustrations for your own book! Self publishing is no longer frowned upon like it used to be, and Australia has more independent book sellers (as a percent) than most of the rest of the Western world, so you can get it into shops. Then it might even get picked up by one of the big publishing houses. Not to mention that once it is done you will get a warm glow each time you look at it, and you will have Christmas and Birthday presents covered for at least a year!

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