Friday, July 23, 2010

Ending Gieden/How Publishing Works

I've enjoyed seeing some of my old work again, and hopefully someone out there has enjoyed reading Gieden, the RPG, but I know that the majority of those who follow my blog aren't RPG'ers. With that in mind, and considering that I've already included enough of the basic rules to run a Gieden game, I'm ready to move on. Anyone who is interested can have the rest of the sourcebook information, modules and/or supplements e-mailed to them. Ask and ye shall receive!

My last blog post was just a note that I would be away until my current novel was completed. Well, I'm back, so you know what that means--I finished!

Of course, that doesn't mean that my book will be on shelves any time soon. There's a huge gap between finished manuscript and published book, and while some of you guys know this process all too well, I get asked about it a lot in my daily life. I want to talk process and method for a while, blog-wise, but first, I think I ought to outline the steps to publication.

1) Write a good book. Depending on genre, we're talking 60-100 thousand words, all with a coherent plot and a definite beginning, middle, and end. It's harder than it sounds, takes months (at best) and there's no guarantee you'll ever get paid.

2) Revise it within an inch of its life.

3) Ask some kind people knowledgeable in the genre to read it over. Their job is to shred your baby. They point out any mistake, anything that bothers them, anything at all that they don't like...because chances are, other readers would feel the same way.

4) Swallow that lump in your throat and make serious revisions.

5) Work on your query letter. A query is a short introduction to your story, usually sent to agents in hopes that one will like the story enough to represent it.

6) Research agents. Double check them on Preditors and Editors and at Absolute Write. Query Tracker works great, too. Make sure they represent your genre, are accepting submissions, and that your query meets their requirements. If you can find their blog or an interview with them, so much the better. Definitely read their agency website.

6) Send the query and wait. Swallow the new lump that shows up in your throat when you get that first rejection. Remember that there are many reasons that agents reject manuscripts, and not all of them mean you suck.

7) Get a partial request. This means an agent liked the query enough to request a few pages, or maybe even a few chapters, of your manuscript. Do a snoopy dance.

8) Get a full request. This means the agent liked your pages enough to request the whole manuscript. Now you're cookin'! You're manuscript is hot, hot, hot!
Unfortunately, by "cooking" and "hot", I mean it's in the crock pot, on low, simmering amongst a bunch of similar manuscripts. Hopefully, yours is the tastiest of the bunch, but it'll still be a while before you hear from the agent again--reading full manuscripts takes time, and the agent is spending most of theirs working hard for his or her existing clients. Would you really want it any other way?

9) The agent calls and, if everything goes right, offers representation. Try not to be a total dork over the phone.

*Notice: NO money has changed hands. Not even for "editing services" or as a "reading fee".

10) The agent may make suggestions for revisions. If so, you make them with a smile on your face--the agent knows what the editors want.

11) The editors may make suggestions for revisions. If so, make them with a smile on your face--the editors know what the readers want.

So then you're published, right?

Nope. Then you wait for your manuscript to make through the actual publishing process, which can take a year or two, easy. If there's one thing the publishing industry is not, it's speedy.

So that's the process. I'll keep you updated about my place in it.

See you next time. :)

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