I, too, thought I was going to become a best-selling author with the very first manuscript I wrote and that it was going to bring in a lot of money for me. Boy, was I wrong.
I found QueryTracker and queried many, many agents. I garnered many, many rejections and no responses. I finally got feedback from an editor at a publishing house that accepts unagented manuscripts detailing what was wrong with my manuscript. Head-hopping, switching POV within the same scenes, using “smiled” and “grinned” as dialogue tags, over using the same words (“your character’s father certainly bellows a lot.”). And I had no idea what POV was.
So, I joined RWA so I could enter my manuscripts in their chapters’ various contests and get feedback. I entered a couple samples as per the contests directions and got very low scores. One of the judges even went as far as to write that she didn’t like my main character. I’ve never entered any of my manuscripts in contest again.
So, I spent the next couple of years writing and taking workshops through RWA. With each new novel I wrote, I thought, “This is the one that’s going to be a hit.”
I went on to write 6 more novels, all of them garnering many rejections. Finally, after 3 years and over 300 rejections, a small publisher that accepts unagented manuscripts offered me a contract for one of my novels; they told me my writing was wonderful. But in the end, I couldn’t go through with it because they wanted all rights worldwide, including movie rights (not that I expected my novel to become a movie), the royalties were very low (something like 3% of the wholesale price) and they expect their authors to do all the marketing.
At least now I knew my writing is good. So, at that point, I decided to learn how to use Kindle Direct Publishing and publish on Amazon. I now have 5 books on Amazon. I’ve only made $51 and something cents since last September.
Now, I have to learn marketing. If I’d known at the outset that making a go of it financially was going to be so much work, I think I never would have ever started on this journey.
At least it’s given me something to do during the pandemic when we’re restricted in where we can go when we do go out. But it’s a good thing I have a good retirement income and don’t need my writing to produce an income.