So you’ve written a book (hooray!) and even managed to sign with a literary agent (so cool!). You’ve read the revision notes and revised your manuscript to a shine…even made it sparkle. Then suddenly, one day, your fantabulous agent notifies you that the first batch of submissions have been sent out. Your book baby has been released into the world for editors to see—and read! (Gulp).
But what happens after that, when your book proposal and chapters are officially out on submission to publishing houses?
Well, after you begin the process of refreshing your email, google hangout, or any other form of agent communication forty five times per day, here are 8 things that you may imagine:
One: A message from your agent appears like magic saying that an editor from a well-known publishing house has requested to read your full manuscript.
Two: You imagine that another message appears from your agent saying that ALL the editors have requested to read your full manuscript.
Three: You imagine that all of these editors will make an offer to publish your book, and then your agent will hold an auction…and of course it will turn into a bidding war for your book!
Four: You imagine the advance the winning editor will offer as part of the deal that will surely be in the six figure range. At least.
Five: You imagine signing the contract for your first published book, with an amazing editor at the publishing house of your dreams.
Six: You imagine the announcement you’ll make, and the party you’ll have when your book deal is official.
Seven: You imagine the amazing book launch party you’ll have when the book eventually releases with your friends, family, and all the people you’ve ever met who are anxious to read the book you’ve talked about for years.
Eight: You imagine signing your name (on the inside of the gorgeous book cover) with a pretty pink or purple pen, for the boy or girl who clutches the book to their chest, anxious to go right home to read it!
Hmm. Sound familiar?
As writers, we live in a dream world much of the day. And that’s okay. Our dreams are what got us here in the first place, right? But if you’ve ever wondered what really happens after your book goes out on sub to publishing houses, keep reading. I’ll give you the straight scoop.
Being out on submission goes something like this:
You read about an author getting a book deal and feel encouraged. If it happened to them it can happen to you.
Your agent tells you that you got a full request and practically pass out. You tell your family and friends and imagine all of the above.
You read about another writer getting a book deal during the sleepy holiday season and think, “Oh, I guess some editors do work over the holidays. Maybe I’ll hear something from one of them soon.”
You get a rejection from another editor on the list. You think, “Okay that’s fine. There are other editors who will be a good fit for my book.”
You keep writing. What if an editor wants my second book? If they do, I better have it ready!
You get another rejection and your agent reminds you that the perfect editor is out there somewhere. You smile because she’s always so positive and encouraging, and hope she’s right.
You hear of an another writer getting a book deal—a BIG six figure book deal!
You wonder what their book has that yours doesn’t—even though it’s in a different age category and genre. You’re happy for the author because they deserve this but secretly imagine the above scenario again.
You keep writing and telling yourself that waiting is a good sign. It means there’s still hope—one of the editors that has your manuscript will love it as much as you do.
You reach out to other writing friends who are experiencing the same madness that you are and find comfort in their support. You secretly hope that all of you get a book deal at the same time because for real, how great would that be?
You wait some more and take on new projects. The realization hits you that you have zero control over this outcome and you may as well enjoy life while you wait.
You write and keep checking for updates, but not nearly as often as forty-five times per day. I mean, forty-five times a day is a lot. Twice a day- perfectly acceptable.
This process goes on and on. Waiting, writing, waiting, hoping, waiting…for how long I’m not sure. But what I am sure of is this…
Being out on submission (even with all the waiting) is the most exciting time ever.There’s nothing better than knowing that you (and your book) have been given this amazing opportunity to be considered. Yes, to be considered! There’s nothing better than knowing that Rebecca, my amazing agent, has my back, is here to support me in this process every step of the way, and is putting my manuscript out there—in all the right places. I feel so lucky—and so blessed.
Sure, I live in my imaginary world where all of the above happens, but I also live in a world where other writers like me live…the one where we long to see our books in the hands of readers somehow, some way. And even though we imagine the big stuff, we really imagine our books being published whatever way it’s meant to be.
So in the meantime, we wait and keep writing. That’s the real deal…and that’s not a bad deal at all, is it?
Have a great week, guys! I hope you have time to write and write well. I’m pulling for you to make this publishing thing happen too…the more the merrier!