Tell anyone you’re a writer and you might get a response like “Oh, I think it would be fun to write a novel.”
Yeah. Go for it.
There seems to be some thought that all you do is sit down at your laptop and…write. (Any writer reading this now will be thinking “Tell them. Please.”) A good story. Plotting. Character development. Story arc. Proper grammar. The right words. These are just the beginning.
We’ve got query letters, publishers, editors, cover designers. You consider book trailers, blog posts, readings and signings, all the other marketing tricks to sell your product. You might be a full-time writer but chances are you have a day job and other personal responsibilities (domicile, relationship, family, etc.). So, yeah, go ahead and have fun writing your novel.
Even among other artists, there is a kind of lack of awareness of what it takes to create your literary art. You ask a painter or sculptor what they’re working on and they’ll show you a canvas or a lump of clay and you can imagine the final product. Talk to a musician about their latest project and they’ll plop down at a piano and play part of a tune. Ask a writer and you get their elevator pitch followed by “Would you like to read a chapter?” No one accepts the offer. With the other arts, you can engage before you react. There is no way to react to a writer’s work without engaging in it.
When a publication date is announced and there is a book trailer and a cover reveal, there is a feeling of accomplishment for the writer. The prospective reader is waiting to feast their eyes on the work, maybe devouring the novel in an evening and relishing the complexity and nuances of the story. And that’s that. One night and perhaps two years of work and effort are consumed.
But, I tell you from experience, it ain’t as easy as you think.