Monday, February 7, 2011

"Are You Published Yet?"

Whether you've just starting out with your writing, have been working at it for years, are agented or not, no doubt you've been asked this question before.  Normally it comes from a well meaning friend, co-worker or even a family member.  But the one thing they all hold in common?  None of them have any idea what the publishing industry is like.

For one, things don't move quickly.  Most of us don't submit our novel and get a call requesting a full in the first twenty-four hours.  And, if we are that lucky, the chance of getting a phone call in the next twenty-four with an offer of representation is almost unheard of.  But, let's even say you're one of those select few.  You've got the agent.  Now what?  You can expect to see your book in stores soon.  I laugh here, because as writers we know the reality.  The non-writers - well, they don't get it.

You tell one of them that you've written a book, or are writing one.  Their first question oh, are you going to sell it?  When you reply I hope to or I'm working on it, then sometimes a small series of questions follow that peck away at your confidence even if the "interrogator" never intended that to happen.  See, as much as I love discussing my books and the fact I hope to be published one day, actually discussing this with a non-writer reminds me of the long journey it will take to get there.

Let's say you land that agent (maybe you already have, and in that case congratulations :) ) but that is only the beginning.  Us writers know that from there, your book goes on submission to the publishing houses and this can take anywhere from a year to two, depending on the agent.  In this process, you could be asked to change certain aspects of your novel - you know the one your agent loved in the first place - so that it better suits the editorial team of a publishing house.  And of course, you're going to make the changes.

But from here, more waiting.  In fact, as writers even if you didn't start out with an ounce of patience, you'll have a bucket-load by the end of your journey.  Or you'll develop a drinking problem lol  Either way, we quickly realize things don't happen overnight.  Even if you're fortunate and get that contract from a publishing house, it will take up to eighteen months to see your book in print.

So suffice it to say the road to publication is, or will be, a rocky one.  There will be many ups and downs, but I'm thinking it will all be worth the effort.  I hope one day to find out for myself.  Until then, I answer the question:  are you published yet?  Of course, I put on a smile, realizing that at least I've started the journey.  There's many out there that wouldn't be brave enough to start, let alone plan on seeing it through.  And I absolutely love it when these people, the non-writers add, let me know when it is so I can buy it.