As I wrote about here, August is the month of The Good Stuff around these parts. Every week I’m going to be focusing on something worth celebrating in the publishing journey—whether it’s stories about new deals and successes, or writing inspiration, or platform-building encouragement, I want us all to end our summers steeped in the happy moments that make the crazy business of books worthwhile…
One of the things I most fell in love with about nonfiction publishing is that you learn something new from every single book you work on. Yes, this means I now know how to make a mean chicken wing, and I can probably interior decorate any space within an inch of its (well, my ) life. But I’ve especially loved reading and working on so many psychology and personal development books, because it gives you a chance to think about your interior life.
And what do almost all of the dozens of psychology and personal development books I’ve worked on had in common? They all preach the gospel of Gratitude. I’ll spare you the katrillion studies that prove how gratitude can radically improve our physical and mental states, and just jump right into bringing some gratitude to the publishing journey.
After walking this exhilarating, sometimes crazy, publishing journey alongside so many authors and books, I’ve found the best places to stop, take a look around, and breathe a sigh of gratitude for where you are. Here are the 6 most important moments to celebrate on your publishing journey:
1. Getting a Literary Agent
You may have been querying for months, or you may have been scouted based on your platform stats, but receiving an offer of representation from a Literary Agent is often the first official step for non-fiction authors. This is a huge victory in and of itself, because agents have to be so darn picky about who they invest their time in. (More on why agents have to be so darn picky in this great post from fellow agent Carly Watters!)
2. Getting an Offer
This is the golden moment. It’s the magical moment when all three key players in the process—author, agent, and editor—have their hard work rewarded. There are so many pieces that have to fall into place successfully to get to this moment—from an author successfully pitching an agent, to the agent successfully pitching the editor, to the editor successfully pitching his/her editorial team—so it’s worth it to breathe a big sigh of happy relief when you hear those magic words from your agent: “You have an offer!” This moment calls for confetti, champagne-popping, an acceptance speech on national television, and a ticker-tape parade. Or, you know, a very nice dinner out with your favorite people. You decide.
3. Announcing to Your Readers
The best part of having built and fostered a strong readership even before you start your publishing journey is that you won’t be on this adventure alone. No, you’ll have a crowd of excited, encouraging, sometimes opinionated readers following along the whole way. This is a key moment to remember that a book is an additional service you can provide to your readers: another way to give them more of the content they already love. Books exist to delight and enlighten readers, and we should never, ever lose sight of that. So make sure you give your readers a big hearty Thank You at this point and invite them to celebrate along with you.
4. Delivering the Manuscript
You’ve been working hard for months, chipping away at your manuscript chapter-by-chapter and sentence-by-sentence. Maybe you’re even working with a professional photographer or illustrator, and you’ve spent loads of time getting the visuals for your book just right. And then the day arrives: delivery day! It’s time to deliver your book baby into the hands of your editor so he/she can work some editing magic on it. I don’t know a single writer who doesn’t breathe a big sigh of relief and excitement to finally have such a big project off their desk. This is the time to give yourself a few days off, to book that massage you need after hunching over your laptop, and to have that extra glass of wine with your celebratory dinner.
5. Seeing the Book Cover and Listing on Amazon
This is when things start to feel real—there it is, your book, listed on Amazon with a book cover, cover copy, and your name next to it. You are practically a celebrity now. Squeals of excitement are allowed and encouraged, and yes, you are allowed to send the link to every single person you’ve ever talked to, met, or passed on the street. This is also when plans for your preorder campaign should either be finalized or kicked into place. And that in itself is something to celebrate—after months of teasing the book to your readers, you’ll finally be able to share it with them and hear your own excitement echoed back!
6. Release Day
Here it is. The day your book publishes, and you officially become a published author. Think of this as your birthday and Christmas wrapped into one—it’s that one day you’re allowed to shamelessly be the star of your own show. And if you’ve organized and planned your launch campaign in advance, this should also be a completely stress-free day. Many authors actually take part of this day off to just celebrate and bask in their accomplishments—the great advances we’ve seen in online scheduling and automation make it possible to keep people in the loop without having to sit at your computer all day, refreshing your Amazon listing and driving yourself nuts. If you don’t have media appearances or interviews scheduled, it’s a great day to take a few hours to fully unplug, spend some time outside, and to savor where you are. You did it! Now go have some fun.
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