Surviving the Literary Marketplace

N. K. Jemisin

Lesson time 13:14 min

Nora reveals why you should continue to write after getting published and shares some of her best tips for handling rejection.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: You’re Published! Don’t Stop Writing • You May Not Sell Your First Book • Own Rejections • Short Fiction • A Few Tips and Tricks


[MUSIC PLAYING] N. K. JEMISIN: When you get rejected by a publisher, you have not failed. You have actually passed another milestone. This is a really, really hard business to be in. You need a support network. Try and find a workshop. You don't want to go this alone. [MUSIC PLAYING] Once you've sold a book, yay. Congratulations. It's time to celebrate. Go out and have a party with your friends because you've already crossed one of the big and really, really difficult hurdles that are necessary to break in as a professional published author. Yay. Immediately, you need to start another book. Congratulations. Start another book. And the reason that I say that is because it's going to take one to three years for that publisher to get your book out into the world. And during that time, the publisher is going to be sending you revisions that they want you to make, examples of cover art, things like that. But you might as well go ahead and start working on the next book because, if you're lucky, if your book sells well, the publisher is immediately going to turn around and ask you, okay, so what else you got? And if you don't have anything, then you've missed an opportunity right there. The other reason that you want to go ahead and start working on another book is because it'll take your mind off of the stress of waiting, possibly three years, for your book to come out. It's a great way to distract yourself. It's also a great way to kind of hone your skills and improve as a writer. You may want to do a little palate cleanser, of writing some short fiction during that time. Short fiction can help you improve your ability to hook a reader and improve your pacing. There's a lot of different things you can do during that significant lengthy period of waiting for your book to come out. But the most important thing you can do is not just sit and rest on your laurels. Start your next project. If you decide to write another book that's in a completely different field, then you need to understand that if your first book is successful, the new book isn't going to help you. The new book means you may need to find another publisher, maybe even another agent entirely, in order to get that book out in the world. There are authors who try to basically create franchises in multiple genres at the same time. Sometimes those authors even pick different pen names to sell those different kinds of books under. But in a lot of cases, they've got an agent for one genre and an agent for another, a publisher for one genre and a publisher for another. It just makes your life a little more complicated. There's no reason why you can't do it. It's just you need to understand that that's a lot more work. And you need to understand that if you have written something-- a follow-up book that's not in the same genre, you've effectively scuttled some momentum by doing that because you're building up your name and your ca...

About the Instructor

The winner of the Hugo Award for three consecutive years for her Broken Earth Trilogy, N. K. Jemisin has sold millions of books and created new cultures and histories. Now the acclaimed science fiction and fantasy writer is teaching you how to create a world from scratch, develop compelling characters, and get published. Build your craft and share your voice with inclusive fiction that reflects your experience.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

N. K. Jemisin

Bestselling sci-fi and fantasy writer N. K. Jemisin teaches you how to create diverse characters, build a world from scratch, and get published.

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