Sometimes being an author rules–I can show up for work in my play clothes, take a dance break when my brain gets tired, and go to the bathroom whenever I want.
Being a writer of a novel is especially fun because I get to be creative, like, all dang day.
But some things are confusing at first. A few weeks ago, I posted that I’d finished my novel and sent it out to agents; people keep coming up to me and congratulating me on getting published. So, this post is to clarify: My novel has not been published. Yet.
Here’s the process, for people like me who choose to go the traditional publication route. It puts me in mind of mail order bridery: my goods are out there, on display for a select few, while I sit at home praying that someone wants me.
- Write a novel. (And push it through many revisions, critiques, etc., to make it as lovely as possible.)
- Research agents. (More on this in a later post.)
- Write query letters to a handful of agents you’d like to work with.
- Wait. And wait. And wait. Maybe for months!
- Repeat 1-4 with the same novel and new agents, or with a new novel, until you find an agent.
- Then…do whatever the agent tells you.* This may include more revising and editing.
- Wait for the agent to find a publisher. (Isn’t this great? In the traditional model, it’s the agent’s job to find a publisher!)
- Then…do whatever the publisher tells you.* This may include more revising and editing.
- Wait. And wait. And wait. Maybe for a year!
- Take selfies of yourself in front of your book on the shelves of your local bookstore!
In a “You are here” map of this process, I’d be standing smack in the middle of #4. The waiting part.
For any agents out there who are reading this, lured here by my query letter: look no further! I’m the mail order author for you! Definitely. I’m nice. And hard-working. And full of great ideas!
Plus, reread #6.
*For those readers who are used to warning labels like “The knife you just purchased is not intended for use as a toy,” please note that I accept no responsibility in the case that you fail to do #2-3 properly, end up with a whack-a-mole agent, and blindly follow instructions to sign over blank checks or create a pseudonym spelled exactly like your agent’s.