I never went into publishing thinking I'd be immediatly rich and famous. In fact, I knew exactly the sort of thing I was getting into, submitting to Black Lace, because Portia Da Costa talked about it all the time on Twitter and on her blog.
That's the great thing about the internet. It's made publishing open and all the information is out there for you to grasp, if you really want to. Even though I suspect most people don't, because the truth about publishing is that it's depressingly unglamorous, weird, ass-bitey, tiring and sometimes soul destroying.
However, there are some disavow-ations of publishing myths and misconceptions that I found out pretty sharpish, once I got into it:
1. It's actually much easier to get into than you think. No, really. Before I had my first thing published, I had been deathly certain that the only way I'd ever get published is if I somehow magically transformed into a ten foot tall blonde with boobs the size of Kansas, and then also magically ran into the boss of Hodder and Stoughton who for some unknown only-in-erotica land reason let me blow him in exchange for a book deal.
In fact, I think I felt it was even harder than this. That I'd have to climb Mt Doom with rocks on my back and feet made out of cement, to even get close to a publishing contract. And even then the contract would turn out to be a four inch square of toilet paper in the fabulous new "Books On The Toilet" concept that Random House just came up with.
But no. No. You work on writing for sixteen years, you practice and practice and you do your research, and apparently it's actually possible. I worked and worked, I honed my writing, I read loads of Black Lace books and knew what they were looking for and then I drafted a query letter based on internet advice, adhered to their sub guidelines, and sent it off.
And then I was published.
And yes, I know that this actually sounds like a lot of work. But if you really love writing, it actually isn't. Or at least, it's not half as soul destroying as climbing Mt Doom to blow the boss of Macmillan with cement on your feet.
2. The after bit is the hard part. Writing and subbing and even getting rejected is easy. Selling three copies of something and receiving terrible reviews from general readers is hard. It is the full stop on the end of the sentence "I have failed".
While you're sending things out there and getting rejections you can still be a success. Even if you do it for years, you can still, one day, be a success. But once your stuff is out there and no-one wants to read it or no-one cares or everyone cares but they hate it, that's it. You're toast.
Or at least, I thought so until some of my books started selling like gangbusters. And then I realised yet another publishing myth and misconception had fallen: you are NEVER toast. You pick yourself up, and you keep going. THAT is the only truth of publishing.
3. It's okay to be yourself. I'll be honest: I was terrified to be myself, at first. I toned down the rambling mancandy talk I'd gone into on my Myspace blog, for my actual writer's blog. I curbed what I said on places like Twitter. I didn't let myself go in forums - and all because I truly believed that in order to get ahead in publishing, you had to be as quiet and nice and normal as so many other romance writers seemed.
But it's not true. You don't have to be quiet and nice and normal. I've long since discovered that actually, people seem to respond more when I'm weird and crazy and completely myself. No-one seems to mind if I ramble about Mancandy. No-one cares if I rant about Masterchef on Twitter. I got three "likes" recently for mad as hell reviews I put up on Goodreads - the biggest response I've ever gotten to anything I've put on there.
So the lesson is: I don't know. Just keep going. Be yourself. And when the head of Random House demands you put on concrete shoes then do things to him, always remember: he has no more power than you have in your own hands, right now.