“What I Wish I Knew About Getting Published Before it Happened To Me.”
by Chelsea Cain
Author of the New York Times bestselling thrillers Heartsick, Sweetheart and Evil at Heart.
Travel with a corkscrew. Otherwise you will end up having to buy one every time you want to take a bottle of wine back to the hotel room.
Never get photographed holding a glass of wine. The glass always looks askew, and you will look drunk.
When an agent/editor says they “don’t love it,” it means they hate it.
Every copy counts. You’d be amazed how few copies you have to sell to get on the bestseller list.
Don’t tell people you will read their manuscripts. You won’t, and then they’ll think you’re an asshole.
If there is a mistake in your book, readers will find it and they will mention it over and over again.
The Oregon State Bird is the Western Meadowlark.
Sometimes you will give readings, and no one will come. The resulting crushing despair will pass.
The best signing pen is the extra fine tip Sharpie. The regular tip Sharpie emits more fumes and will make you high after about a half hour.
Always ask people how they spell their names before you write an inscription, even if you are certain that there is only one way to spell “Pat.”
Protect your writing time at all costs. When you are published at a certain level, you will find that you have very little time to write, among all the events, social networking, interviews, book tours travel and endless online Q&As. Marketing is important, but only if you have a book to promote.
Get a really good accountant.
Make friends with booksellers, they are some of your most important allies.
No red wine before photo shoots – it stains your teeth.
Don’t put a heart on the cover of your book if you want lots of men to buy it.
On a related note, don’t put the word “heart” in the title of your book if you want lots of men to buy it.
If you have any say, go with trade paperback, as opposed to mass market.
When you start to panic because of a publishing issue, wait 24 hours before you send the frantic email to your agent/editor/publisher. This will save you having to write the second email where you apologize for the first.
People like it when you look like your author photo, so don’t go dying your hair platinum right after the book comes out.
Get a P.O. Box.
Few of your friends or family will ever truly understand exactly what you do. Tell people you are a nurse or a ballerina.
It is perfectly natural to hate your copy editor.
If you have to sign 1000 tip-in sheets, you probably want to do this over time rather than waiting until the night before.
Trust your translators. They are collaborators and they know their cultural markets way better than you do.
If you happen to know a language your book is translated into, never ever read it.
Some people like to see their names in books; some people do not.
Do not, under any circumstances, start checking your sales ranking on Amazon.
If you go to Book Expo America, wear really comfortable shoes. Even then, bring band-aids.
Sign stock anytime anyone asks you to.
Norwegians are awesome.
At some point you will be doing an event, and someone will bring you a used copy of your book to sign and you will open it only to find that you have already signed it to some dear friends who immediately unloaded it at the used books desk at Powell’s. Do not feed sad. It will make a funny story later.
To read reviews and buy Chelsea’s books, click on the titles shown on her by-line above. You can access her website, http://www.chelseacain.com, here.