After numerous and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to explain to my friends just how many steps there are to getting published, I’ve decided to make a list.
Disclaimer: this assumes the traditional route of finding an agent, and follows my personal process. It will not be universal.
1. Write book (perhaps write several books).
2. Make book as good as HUMANLY POSSIBLE (this will be good enough for agent, hopefully, who will then have you revise it until they believe it’s as good as humanly possible, which will be good enough for the editor, hopefully, who will then have you revise…you get the idea).
3. Write query letter/email.
4. Send query letter out to agents (usually done in batches, and then in retaliation for rejections accrued).
5. Agent likes query, and requests sample chapters.
a. Agent does not like sample chapters. Rejects. Return to step 4.
b. Agent likes sample chapters and requests more (perhaps 100 pages).
7. Agent likes 100 pages, and requests full (here you squee with joy and then check yourself).
a. Agent rejects full (hopefully with feedback (return to step 4).
b. Agent likes full but requests revisions.
c. Agent offers representation! (commence louder squeeing).
9. If applicable, notify other agents reading. If other agents offer, make difficult choice.
10. Agent helps you make book even shinier, so it will please editors (who like shiny things).
11. Agent submits shiny book to editors.
12. Editors reads book. (This step, through step 15, will most likely take an excruciating amount of time).
a. Editor does not like shiny book, and rejects it.
(I am here)
b. Editor likes book, and passes it on to other editors to read.
a. Editors do not agree on book/do not feel strongly enough, and reject it.
b. Editors like book but have reservations, and request a revision.
c. Editors like book and take it to the acquisitions board.
a. Acquisitions board does not like book/does not feel it fits line or is marketable, etc. and rejects it.
b. Acquisitions board approves, and editor makes an offer!
Whew. So you see, when I tell my friends/random people that I wrote a book, and they ask me when it’s coming out, I will direct them to this list (as you can see, it doesn’t even begin to cover what happens post-book deal, that is for another day).
Note: I did this for self-serving reasons, too. Lately I’ve been so obsessed over what I don’t have, what I’ve yet to achieve, that I forget to look back at how far I’ve come.