Being an Author

By: Bella Castillo

Being a Published Auhtor

There are real, tangible thrills in being a published author: Your name on a book jacket. The privilege of having your words available to an audience of readers. The knowledge that you are stick-with-it-enough to have finished and published a book. But those who are publishing a book for the first time, or those who aspire to, might have unrealistic expectations of the author or publishing experience.

Starting Out

Most authors start writing because they have an obsessive passion for their subject or an obsessive need to tell their story -- and they manage to do so in spite of the fact they have a day job, at least at when starting out and sometimes a good deal longer.

Some Role Model Type Authors

“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.” —Roald Dahl

Do You Get to Go on Book Tours?

  • You will get a book tour
    You might. But touring authors around the country is very expensive. With so much opportunity for effective internet promotions like virtual book tours, there are fewer and fewer of the non-virtual, several-city variety book tours being offered by publishers, so don't count on getting on that plane. And, if you do get lucky enough to get a tour, certainly don't count on traveling anything but coach.

Writing Advice

Pep Talk from John Green



John’s Website
John’s Books


Dear NaNoWriMo Author,

Way down deep in the dark archives of my hard drive, I have a folder called Follies, which contains an impressive collection of abandoned stories: There’s the zombie apocalypse novel about corn genetics, the sequel, the one about the Kuwaiti American bowling prodigy, the desert island novel, and many more. These stories have only one thing in common: They’re all about 25,000 words.

Why do I quit halfway in? I get tired. It’s not fun anymore. The story kind of sucks, and it’s hard to sit down every day and spend several hours eating from a giant bowl of suck. And most of all, like the kid who spends hours preparing plastic armies for war, I enjoy setting things up more than I enjoy the battle itself. To finish something is to be disappointed. By definition, abandoned novels are more promising than completed ones.

You have likely reached the moment in this insane endeavor when you need a rock-solid answer to the question of why, precisely, you are trying to write a novel in a month. You have likely realized that your novel is not very good, at least not yet, and that finishing it will be a heck of a lot less fun than starting it was.

So quit. Quit now, or if you’re among the many of us who’ve already quit, stay quit. Look, we are all going to die. The whole species will cease to exist at some point, and there will be no one left to remember that any of us ever did anything: Our creations, all of them, will crumble, and the entire experiment of human consciousness will be filed away, unread, in the Follies folder of the great interstellar hard drive. So why write another word?

Sorry. I reached the halfway point of this pep talk and tumbled, as one does, into inconsolable despair.

Here’s my answer to the very real existential crisis that grips me midway through everything I’ve ever tried to do: I think stories help us fight the nihilistic urges that constantly threaten to consume us.

At this point, you’ve probably realized that it’s nearly impossible to write a good book in a month. I’ve been at this a while and have yet to write a book in less than three years. All of us harbor secret hopes that a magnificent novel will tumble out of the sky and appear on our screens, but almost universally, writing is hard, slow, and totally unglamorous. So why finish what you’ve started? Because in two weeks, when you are done, you will be grateful for the experience. Also, you will have learned a lot about writing and humanness and the inestimable value of tilting at windmills.

Something else about my Follies folder: It contains the final drafts of my novels Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns. They are follies, too—finished ones. Whether you’re reading or writing, there is nothing magical about how you get from the middle of a book to the end of one. As Robert Frost put it, “The only way out is through.”

Best wishes,

John Green