First the spark, the idea, the pull toward the blank page that compels you to turn away from the world to create something new.
You write and write and stare into space and write and write and drink coffee and write and write and distract yourself on the internet while the idea percolates in your head and write and write. Then at some point, you decide you’re finished. You print out the whole thing just to see what “the book” looks like. You show it around to trusted confidants.
You listen, smile, and bristle accordingly. Then you revise and revise and stare into space and revise and revise and drink coffee and revise and revise and distract yourself on the internet while hoping that this version is better. At some point, you decide that again you’re finished. You show it around again, and maybe mail yourself a copy (just in case).
This goes on for some time, maybe weeks. Maybe years. At some point you decide it’s ready. You’re ready. You struggle to write the perfect query letter and synopsis. You write and write and stare into space and write and write and drink coffee and write and write and distract yourself on the internet while dreaming of book signings and maybe a new laptop. You send off piles of queries to agents and publishers—some electronic, some paper. Then you wait.
Rejections trickle in. You keep track of them in a folder, maybe on a spreadsheet. You send out more queries, and you remind yourself that Ray Bradbury had about a thousand rejections over his 30 year career, and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time was rejected by 26 publishers before being accepted by Farrar, Straus & Giroux.
You revise and revise the query letter. You send out more batches and maybe start a new project or again distract yourself on the internet. You wait. Drink more coffee. Wait. Stare into space. Add more rejections to the folder or spreadsheet. Wait.
After weeks or months or years, you get an email or a call from an agent who loves your book and wants to represent you.
You do the happy dance in your kitchen and call your mother. Maybe you post it on your blog, or update your facebook status…”is finally published and doing the happy dance in the kitchen.” You talk to your agent, sign your agreement, and wait. Weeks pass, months pass. You work on the new project or again distract yourself on the internet. You wait. Drink more coffee. Wait.
The agent updates you with rejections. Maybe you decide to edit the manuscript, maybe you try smaller presses. You wait.
Finally (or so I’m told and have read in fairy tales), finally your book gets accepted and PUBLISHED.
But this is not “The End.”
Dennis Cass has a wonderful little video interpretation about what often happens next. Check it out:
One reason we started ABNABooks.com was to create a place for not-yet-published and already published writers to promote their works. We drew from and built on the ABNA community that grew out from the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. I keep hoping that we can find a way to generate buzz. Maybe we need to explore other options of promotion as well…like those suggested by Cass. We need to promote our promotion site.
Maybe we need a video…