Revelations of a First-time Novelist

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Ted Thompson recently published his debut novel, The Land of Steady Habits. Like many first-time novelists, he had quite a few expectations about what publishing a novel meant. Over at Salon, he discusses how reality diverged from those expectations. For instance, his book sold for $25,000, but even after foreign rights’ sales, he’s not much closer to achieving financial stability. He also discovered that the quality of a book’s writing matters much less than the book’s content:

Once a manuscript leaves your desk, subject matter is the primary (and often only) way it is discussed. So if you haven’t figured out a quick way to answer that cringe-inducing question “What’s your book about?” in a way that interests other people, somebody else will. And that will be how the book is sold, how it’s marketed and publicized, and largely how it finds its way to readers.


Ian MacAllen's fiction has appeared in 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, Joyland Magazine, and elsewhere and nonfiction has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, The Negatives, Electric Literature, Fiction Advocate, and elsewhere. He is the Deputy Editor of The Rumpus, holds an MA in English from Rutgers University, tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →