The hardest part is getting published

Writing a novel may seem like a big task. It is.

Start to finish, including chapter re-writes, incorporating feedback from trusted editors and reviewing the whole thing 3 times over, You Might Just Meet Someone took about 2 years. That’s 2 years alternating between intense labouring and equally intense procrastination.

You see, I love to write, but I don’t always feel like doing it. The majority of my job is writing – documents, training materials, reviews, editing – so when I get home from work, sometimes I don’t want to sit in front of another computer and do more writing. And of course when I get in the habit of browsing Reddit, watching Netflix or reading instead of writing regularly, it is easy to ignore the niggling voice in my head that says, “Sandy, this novel is not going to write itself.”

Well, it’s done now, and I have already started the outline for the sequel, but harder than writing and editing it, is getting it published.

Just like a novel doesn’t write itself, no one is going to knock on my door and say, “hello, I’m looking for a novel to publish. Do you happen to have one lying about in a drawer somewhere?”

No! It’s up to me. I have to get the word out!!

I need a publisher, or an agent, or both. Whichever one I get first will (probably) make it easier to get the other one, so I am working on getting a publisher and an agent at the same time. It’s a bit chicken and egg, really.

And you may not know this, but an aspiring author needs a brilliant book proposal, one that can be adapted for each potential publisher and agent, because they all want slightly different things.

Essentially, I need a detailed synopsis, a shorter synopsis, and a really brief synopsis – something that might appear on the back cover. Plus I need an engaging author’s bio which highlights my brilliance and my bankability, and to identify the target audience as well as competing titles – these are the books mine will sit next to on the shelf. Publishers and agents need to know what books are similar to mine – and in what way – as well as how mine is distinctive from other books.

I learned all of this from two incredibly brilliant women, Kerry and Jen from the Business of Books based out of Seattle. Between them they have written (and published) 40+ books, and because they both worked as publishers before they became authors they really know the biz of books. And they share what they know.

Publishing is a business and if I am going to make it my business, I still have work to do. Now begins the hard part.