Friday, May 23, 2014
The Writing Journey: Patience
I started this blog in February 2012 as a way to document my writing journey. Since then, I've blogged about all the amazing writers I've met (online and in person), the retreats and conferences I've attended, the stories I've written, and the day I signed with my wonderful agent, Mary Keeley, from Books & Such Literary Agency. I've shared personal struggles and victories, and I've talked about how this pursuit has affected my faith, my family, and my friendships. I've celebrated over being a semi-finalist, and finalist, in writing contests, and I've talked about receiving rejections when the answer has been no.
Now that I've been on this journey for a couple of years, I often have people ask if my books are published. I get a lot of questions about the process, and the time it takes to get published by a traditional publisher. I thought it would be fun to share where I'm currently at on this writing journey.
Very few people get their first, or second, manuscript published. I don't know the statistics, but I've talked with many friends, and read many blog posts by agents and editors. Pursuing publication is all about patience and persistence. And then more patience, and more persistence. If you're not a patient person, you will do one of two things: 1) self-publish your brilliant novel, or 2) learn how to be patient.
I have completed three full-length novels. I write historical romance and my stories are all about 100,000 words long. It takes me about three months to write the first draft, with about two-three weeks of intense research and plotting beforehand. After my first draft is finished, I take a couple of weeks to revise and polish it, then I send it off to my critique partners. They are very good at reading my manuscript and returning it within a couple weeks. After I go through and make the changes they've suggested, I send the story to my beta readers. This is a group of about ten ladies who are readers, and not necessarily writers. After I get their notes, I make more changes, and then have one more read-through before I send the manuscript to my agent.
Along with the manuscript, I also send a book proposal and a five page synopsis. My agent will read the manuscript and give me feedback, which I will use to make further changes to the story. After all my editing is done, my agent then submits the manuscript to publishing houses.
Here's where everything is out of my hands and the waiting really begins. There is a rhythm to the publishing world. There are seasons and times when publishing houses are actively acquiring new authors, and times when they are not. I trust my agent to send my manuscript at the right time. This might be right away, or it might be a month or two after I get it to her.
If an editor becomes interested in my story, she will then need to take it through all the different stages at her publishing house before she could offer a contract. This will require more patience! I have a rough idea of what this would entail, though I've never been through the process. She would present the story to other editors to read, then the marketing team would see it. After the marketing team punches in some numbers, she would then bring the story to a publishing board meeting where she would have to "sell" the book idea to the board members who would then vote yes or no. If the vote is yes, she would write a contract, which would then be sent to my agent and the negotiation would take place. If all of this is done, the story would then go through numerous rounds of editing and the book would be on shelves about a year later.
Where am I at right now? Currently, I am waiting to hear back from my beta readers on my third story. In the next couple of weeks I will send my manuscript to my agent and wait to hear her feedback. In the meantime, I am working on other writing opportunities my agent has presented.
Your Turn! If you're not a writer, does this process surprise you? If you're a published author, what surprised you most about the process? If you're not published, where are you on the journey?
Today I'm a guest on the Inspy Romance Blog! I'm talking about finding romance in the midst of parenting. You can find it here.