Dude, so here's the deal. Every step I take along this publishing road teaches me something I wish someone had told me earlier. And of course there are two sides to every one of these. I'm not saying them absolutely. I'm just giving you my general experiences with things I've learned in the past 18 months since having a book published.
Here's my top three, and maybe if you're coming down the road after me, this will help you.
1. Don't be in a hurry to publish. It's one of those things that once you do, you can't ever undo. Being unpublished is full of possibilities. Being published is full of numbers, full of what you've sold before, which indicates what a publisher thinks you can sell in the future.
There is no rush to publish. Take your time getting your manuscript right. Take your time soaking in the endless possibilities.
2. Enjoy writing what you want to write. When you're unpublished, you have the option to write whatever you want, whenever you want. Published authors should have this option too, but sometimes that's not always the case. Sometimes what we want to write is already over. Or not ready to be born. Or too similar to something our publishing house already has. Or whatever.
And there's great pressure to write the next publishable thing. There's the constant worry of, "Is this good enough to be published? Is this unique enough to be published? Is this my next published book?"
And if not, then what? Do I have the time to explore other options? Time to revise it?
And what happened to the luxury of writing some terrible-awful-no-good book just because *I* like it? Did I sign it away when I printed my name on that publishing contract? Maybe. Or maybe I just don't need to sleep more than 4 hours tonight.
So enjoy every minute you have writing what you want to write. Enjoy the days, weeks, and months it takes to get that book you love in the condition it needs to be in. Or not getting it there. Whatever you want to do.
That's the beauty of being the unpublished writer.
3. Surround yourself with those who really care. I've learned that those that really care about you don't care about your publishing status. They don't care if you have an agent, a publishing contract, the lead title marketing plan, or thousands of followers on any of the social media sites.
They care about you because of you. The book/publishing thing is secondary, or even tertiary, or maybe not even on the map.
Those are the people you want around you. Find them. Do what it takes to keep them. You won't have time for the other kind down the road anyway.
So there you go! A few things that, looking back on the road I've travelled, I wish someone had mentioned these things in big, bold letters.
What do you think? Are you in a hurry to publish? Why or why not? Do you write what you want to write? Why or why not? Have you found those that really care about you?