Last week I wrote about what makes a good book deal, and the overwhelming response I had on Twitter and in the comments section, was that aspiring authors didn’t seem to care how much money they were offered, just as long as they became a published author. So if money isn’t the motivation for being traditionally published, what is?
As terrifying as it is as a writer to let your book be read, ultimately writers want their books to be enjoyed by lots of people. With my books, I want to make as many people smile or laugh as I can. I love that people tweet and email me to say that they loved my book or that it made them cry; there is nothing nicer than getting that kind of message. Yet, as a self-published author, I’m lucky enough to get those comments already without being traditionally published. I’ve got Millie and the American Wedding on Wattpad, and that’s had over 400,000 reads hundreds of comments from readers. With readers able to be reached by free platforms and self-publishing, the lure of the reader can’t be our motivator for trying for the traditional deal.
One thing that self-publishing and using platforms such as Wattpad don’t allow is for that validation stamp. For me, I see a traditional publishing deal as a stamp of approval from industry experts that your book is worthy of sharing book space with bestsellers and famous authors. Whilst the stigma around self-publishing is definitely lessening, a traditional publishing deal still carries weight when introducing yourself to others within the publishing industry.
Working with a team passionate about your book is also a pretty motivating factor. Imagine having people in your corner that love your book almost as much as you, trying to help you make the book, and you as an author, the best it/you could possibly be. Working with a top editor has got to be a huge motivation.
Another huge motivating factor for me is wanting to hold my own book in my hands. Yes, I could use one of the big print-on-demand services and get my books printed, but it’s not the same. I want to have that moment where my box of books arrives on my doorstep from my publisher, and I want to hold my book in my hands, run my hand over the beautiful cover which hopefully has those raised tactile elements to it, and sniff the paper for that lovely new book smell. I want to walk into a bookshop and be surprised and delighted when I see my book on a shelf, rather than if you go down the self-printing route of having had to negotiate the deal with the shop yourself.
But unlike most of the people that commented to me about my column last week, I am still motivated by money too. A year and a half ago I wouldn’t have been, but back then I had a full-time day job. Whereas now, I’m a self-published author and I’m lucky enough to earn enough money to allow me to write full-time. Money, therefore would have to be a factor. As much as I loved the Super Noodles diet when I was a student, I don’t want to regress back there!
So if you’re an aspiring author, and you’re not motivated by money, what’s your biggest motivating factor?