7 Things No One Told Me Before Traditionally Publishing

My first book was written on a dare, self-published. So, I was somewhat naïve (ok, downright gullible and a newb) to traditional publishing when I received my first book contract.

A late acquisition with an initial deadline of a little over 3 months for the first draft of the book, sleepless nights and all-nighters happened. And while I love the writing process, there are a few things no one told me before traditionally publishing.


1. Don’t go solo.

Serve other authors on their launch team or through an internship. There might be lessons they’ve learned that can make your road a little easier.

2. The measurement of success is not the “f” word.

The “f” word (fame), is not a true indicator of success. Your message may not be a dramatic, overnight success and might take time to reach your target audience. Don’t get caught in the numbers game. Having your book with you at speaking engagements is where you might see the biggest Kingdom impact.

3. Your outline is just as important as your writing.

Writing requires organization. Initially I had a generic outline but eventually drafted a more detailed outline, which greatly helped the writing process. 

4. Having an agent would have been amazing.

After signing the contract, my point of contact quit. And so did the editor. Oh, and the graphics/marketing person. Yay. I felt exiled on an island. The publisher was encouraging and hired an outside editor as well as a publicist for when the book came out, but for someone’s first rodeo, it was a little disconcerting. In our DIY world, sometimes it is nice to have someone else hold your hand. No need to reinvent the wheel, y’all, when you are writing your first book.

5. Working on marketing while writing a book saves time.

Marketing and writing your book go hand-in-hand. Writing regularly on your blog, marketing, and having a content calendar, social media plugs, and ads are important parts in getting your message out. Documenting sticky statements while writing your book helps to plan your marketing.

6. Don’t buy the lie that you are self-promoting. 

I allowed myself to be traumatized by people who told me I was self-promoting. *Gasp* Promotion/marketing is interacting with your tribe — getting the message out to serve the people you are called to serve. Let go of false shame.

7. Hire a book launch manager.

My book launch was the bomb, or so I’ve been told. But it is a ton of work, and if you can afford to without robbing a bank, pinch pennies and hire a book launch manager. It will allow you to focus on writing.

When you are through publishing your book, you have an amazing witness in print of what God has done through you. Carry that message as far as the LORD leads and don’t forget to help someone else on their writing journey, too.


About Denise Pass

Denise Pass is a national speaker with Compassion International as well as a women’s conference speaker, CCM Artist/Songwriter and worship leader with Seeing Deep Ministries. She’s the author of Shame Off You and 31 Days to Hope Reinvented and serves as a volunteer on the editing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries devotions, as well as on the COMPEL team as a volunteer leader.

Denise and her husband live near Fredericksburg, VA. When Denise is not ministering at conferences, she is leading worship on Sundays at her home church, studying God’s word, writing books or songs, gardening or spending time with family and friends. Visit her at www.denisepass.com.


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