I have written several novels over the years. Some of them target young readers and others are intended for adults. But all of them, except one, were written before I ever received a publishing contract. My most recent novel—which I just completed last week—is the only one completely written under contract.
And I noticed a difference. With my other novels, I was immersed in the joy of writing. I got up a few hours before school and wrote because I wanted to. No expectations. No timeline. The books were finished when they were finished, and they arrived in the format that I wanted them in. They didn’t have to please anyone, nor did they have to sell. Family and friends were given complimentary copies and they appreciated them.
With my latest novel, I felt the pressure of the business side of writing. It was no longer a matter of finishing the book when I got around to it. There was a deadline. It was not a matter of writing the story to satisfy my taste. There were expectations from my editor and readers. It was not a matter of simply writing a good story. There were and still are expectations for financial returns. The publisher has invested time and effort and hard, cold cash in my books, and they want a return on their investment. Suddenly it matters what other people think and how my books are selling. There’s a bottom line, and I have felt pressure to meet it. And because I haven’t been able to do so yet, the pressure has grown.
So how can authors who are under contract balance the business side of writing with the joy of writing? I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter because, frankly, I’m still trying to figure it out.