When Tears of Heaven was finally (finally!) released, I had a momentary, fleeting fantasy that its
on the market, the fact that it was available, would sell copies. I knew better. I’d been told the truth. Still, that giddiness of having published (published!)
a book after years of work and struggle still left me glowing with effervescent
|Whoa, slow down there, Glacier. |
This is a publishing party.
When a fellow author asked me some questions about the publishing process, I was pleased to answer—and now share with you.
What is the publishing process like?
It's like work.
No. Scratch that. It IS work.
Writing is a second, full-time job. It takes as much time, there isn't much money to be made in it, and even if you do well, you're only breaking even most of the time. Some people do really, really well in the writing industry, but like any other job, they’re the exceptions, not the rule.
|Easy there, Molasses.|
It's only February!
Divest yourself of the idea, RIGHT NOW, that writing will put you on the path to riches and fame. It might, but chances are, it won’t. Authors that have started to turn a profit, such that they can quit their day job and write full time, usually have slogged through years of anonymity and otherwise disappointing quarterly reports.
How long does publishing take?
Depends on how hard you work at it and how good your book is. It can take months to years of dedicated effort to get an agent or a publishing house interested. If you do get a contract, it can take months or years to get a manuscript ready for print. The job of an agent or publisher is to know the market, to know your readers. You’re the artist, you’re the talent, but the story still needs to be guided in a way that will make it successful.
Months to years. That’s the key to remember. Nothing moves fast in the writing industry.
Any tips or recommendations for a publishing house? Advice?
What you're doing right now—writing—is the best advice. Write and keep at it. While you do that, get your publishing package together—query letter, synopsis, sample chapters, etc. Start treating it like a job, because it is—find agents and publishers. Follow their submission guidelines and keep track of submissions/rejections. Follow up, as appropriate, with each submission.
Meanwhile, work on the next book, and the next book, and the next book.
Finally, build your brand. Get twitter, get a blog, get instagram, get any social media site and start building a larger base. Provide updates on your work, comments on writing, random cat pictures—anything. Get people following you, reading, asking when the next book will be out, etc. Advertise yourself, how witty you are, how knowledgeable, how funny, how insightful. Build interest in you and your work.