After the Offer: Five Things No One Told Me

Getting an offer from such an amazing publisher as Orbit remains a highlight of my life to date, and working with them has been pure bliss. My pre-publication experience has continued to be a dream come true. But there are some aspects of the life of a debut author I couldn’t have guessed at. So here you go… now you can’t say nobody warned you!

1. DEADLINES CHANGE EVERYTHING. My old writing process involved a lot of letting things sit and simmer for a while. Yeah… Let’s just say the slow-cooker method is no longer on the table. Conversely, I keep thinking “Okay, I’d better stop goofing around on this book and do some work—WAIT! This IS work!” Being able to prioritize writing guilt-free is pretty awesome.

2. YOUR BOOK BECOMES BIGGER THAN YOU. Every now and then my lovely editor will casually mention “the team” working on or talking about my book. Every time, I’m filled with a sense of wonder that this is a thing, and there are these people I’ve never met who are helping make my book a published reality. And then I think OH SHIT I CAN’T LET THEM DOWN. (It’s kind of terrifying, actually.)

3. THERE IS SO MUCH WORK. So. Much. Work. This is fine, because I like writing, and I even like revising these days, and I don’t mind hard work. But wow. Don’t get it in your head that once you get a publishing contract, your work is done. It is ONLY BEGINNING.

4. YOU FINALLY UNDERSTAND WHY PUBLISHING IS SLOW. There are so many steps, big and small, between “I WROTE A BOOK WOOOOO!” and final published product. It’s been about seven months since I got my offer, and I feel like the pace has been lightning fast. My editor has always gotten back to me with blinding speed, and I’ve been working my butt off. There has been no fat to cut. The machine is well-oiled. It just has a lot of work to do.

5. IT NEVER STOPS BEING AMAZING. At least, not so far. I still regularly find myself going HOLY CRAP, THEY’RE REALLY GOING TO PUBLISH MY BOOK! And I bounce around the house grinning like a loon. It still feels like a wonderful dream.

Published by Melissa Caruso

Fantasy author of the Swords & Fire trilogy: THE TETHERED MAGE (Orbit, 2017), THE DEFIANT HEIR (Orbit, 2018), and THE UNBOUND EMPIRE (Orbit, 2019), as well as the Rooks and Ruin trilogy, beginning with THE OBSIDIAN TOWER (Orbit, 2020). Melissa's debut, THE TETHERED MAGE, was shortlisted for the Gemmell Morningstar Award in 2017. Melissa loves tea, adventure, and the great outdoors, and has been known to swordfight in ballgowns. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two superlative daughters, and assorted pets. Represented by Naomi Davis of BookEnds.

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