Publishing Expectations vs Reality: Part 3

Hi there!

Thanks for stopping back for the final installment of Publishing Expectations vs Reality! In case you missed them, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here

As always, please keep in mind these are my experiences, and those of many other authors, but certainly not indicative of every author’s experiences. Got it? Okay… so here we go again!

Expectation 7: Social Media Sells Books.


Posting on Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter may help you sell books but it’s not a guarantee. Social media is more about creating a platform and building a community, not about pushing your book. It will help, but it won’t move the sales needle that much. It’s important to have a social media presence so that readers, book bloggers, booksellers, and educators can find you. Just don’t forget you’re a writer first. If your time is limited, you’d be better off using it to write another book.

Expectation 8: It will be easy to write and publish another book.


Not necessarily. Agents leave the publishing industry. Editors switch publishing houses. Small presses fold. Imprints get sold. That’s just the nature of the business and none of that is within a writer’s control. That’s a big reason why publishing a book is difficult the second and third time around. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It’s just not a given that it will be simple. Rejection is part of the process no matter how many books you’ve written because ultimately, editors acquire books they think they can sell. Just because you have one book under your belt, that doesn’t mean your next will automatically get an offer. You still need to write an amazing book!

Yet writing a book is still difficult even after you’ve been published. All the same effort that it took to brainstorm, draft, and revise your published book is still required with the next one. And it’s truly hard. If it was easy for everyone, everyone would do it over and over again. But if you did it once, you can do it again. If you love telling stories, you’ll find a way. Just understand that you still need to put in the work and you may need to be patient.

Expectation 9: I’ll feel like I’ve made it!


You might! There are times when you’ll feel like you are living the fairy tale—you actually published a book! But honestly, you may never feel like you’ve made it. Imposter syndrome will find you at every stage of the publishing process. There will always be another hill to climb. You’ll always wish you could sell more books, win an award, be invited to speak on a panel, be in demand for school visits. The reality is that there will always be someone who is a bigger deal than you but also someone who dreams of standing where you are right now.  

Don’t let imposter syndrome rob you of your magic moments. Forget about what others have accomplished and focus on what you have accomplished. Because if you dreamed of publishing a book and you did, then you have made it!

For me, publishing has been a wild ride, a roller coaster in the best and sometimes worst ways. But I’m grateful for all of it because ultimately kids are reading my books—books that I poured my imagination and heart into and that has always been my dream and still is. 

So, what are my takeaways at this point in my publishing journey? 

Think of publishing as a marathon not a sprint. 

In every marathon there are hills and valleys with incredible challenges. Even completing a marathon is a big deal. Think of publishing a book in the same way. Manage your expectations but also appreciate what you have accomplished—no matter what happens in the weeks, months, and years after your book debuts.

Focus on why you began writing in the first place.

This mindset will help you to be proud of your accomplishment even if the outcome isn’t exactly the fairy tale you imagined at every point in your journey.

Continue to learn & improve your writing craft. 

Doing so will only help as you work on your next project and the next after that. 

Surround yourself with a strong writing community. 

There’s nothing like having a supportive group to help you overcome the challenges of writing, navigate the publishing industry, and celebrate your big and small successes. And besides, there’s certainly nothing better than having a supportive group to chat about books with!  

I hope this series has been helpful. I hope it encourages you to manage your own publishing expectations. But most of all, I hope it inspires you to stay the course and pursue your own publishing dreams. Because honestly, there’s nothing like holding your beautiful book in your hands after all that hard work! 

Have a great week, everyone. Thank you so much for reading!