My Novels

My Novels
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Feb 28, 2010

The Process

Ok, so the first thing to understand about getting your first book published is this:

Writing the book is the easy part.

Then comes the hard part:

1. Write the book (months to years) easiest part:

So you've got an idea, you sit down, you figure out your characters and your plot lines and you're good to go. You sit down and after months (or years) you find yourself with a manuscript you're happy with. Then you have someone you trust read it so that you know if it makes sense, has any big bits missing or messed up, etc.

2. Finding an agent (3 months to never) a bit more difficult:

You've completed your novel and edited it up to the point where it's nearly perfect. Now to get it published...

Most publishers won’t even look at your manuscript without an agent, and an agent - though you will have to pay them a commission (usually 20%) - will usually be able to get you a larger advance, and it will get your novel in front of a higher number of publishers, which means a greater chance of getting your book on to store shelves.

So how to get an agent...

Well, I'm still working on that, but the only way to get your foot in the door is to write a query letter. A query letter is a one page plea to an agent or agency to represent your book. You have this one page to convince the agent that your book is not only worth reading, but also that publishers will agree with them and that it will sell when it makes its way to shelves.

So you write up your query, making it read like the back jacket of a book. When it’s perfect you send it out to agents either via email or snail mail (always check the agency website for submission requirements). Then you wait. I’ve had responses as quickly as the next day (from email obviously) to no response at all (most websites will tell you what their response time is, and often they’ll give you a time length - such as 8 weeks – at which point you can just assume that they have declined.

I don’t have any tricks to this... as I said, I've yet to find an agent to represent me, and believe me... I've been trying.

If an agent thinks they’ll like your manuscript from your query, they’ll ask for a partial or full manuscript and then you’ll either get a rejection or an offer of representation.

Step 3: Getting a publisher (another 3 months to never):

Now your agent submits your manuscript to publishers and you go through pretty much the same process all over again.

I really don’t know this part of the process since, well, I haven’t gotten to that part yet. But here's a link to Nathan Bransford's Blog (he's an agent with Curtis Brown Ltd.) and his post about the process from start to finish:

Feb 27, 2010

Getting a Book Published

is hard.

Don't be fooled by the volumes on volumes of novels that line your grocery aisles, or fill Barnes and Nobel... Getting through the door with an agent is tough, especially now with the economic crisis. But that doesn’t mean I won’t stop trying.

You're more than welcome to follow my journey through this world fraught with rejections.