Remember the game – you would roll the die and count out your number, hoping to land on the apparatus with rungs. It would lead you up the game board faster, get you closer to that win over your brother, who always seemed to win anyway. Then, your next roll, more counting, and uh, oh, a serpent. You’re going down, baby. You can only hope it’s not a long one, taking you all the way back to the beginning (or that your brother’s not watching and you can get off your serpent earlier, say mid-back instead of tail end). Well, let’s talk about getting published! It’s very much like that game of Serpents and Apparatus With Rungs.
Before I thought about being a published author, I was a reader (still am). I went to the library, browsed or perhaps used the card catalog, read the back cover, made a snap decision as to whether or not that story sounded good enough to take home, signed it out. Or, did the exact same thing at a bookstore with the exception that I was now paying for the book to come home with me. I knew someone wrote the book, but had no idea of the process between "writer puts pen to paper" and "Janet buys/signs out book".
So, after finishing my novel (I’m talking way past the first draft, with many people reading it and offering advice, critiques, and encouragement), I decided to take the next step. WOW (I would offer an expletive here, but I’ll keep it clean)! After tons of research, I discovered that the path to publication is one of persistence and fortitude. The necessary steps fit nicely into a flowchart (and mine looks fabulous), but the flowchart and Blogger didn’t get along. As I was writing out the steps I’m taking in my quest for publication (and cursing Blogger), the premise of a board game came to mind. So, let’s play…
1. Research Agencies (at least a 100). Open up the board – 100 squares!
2. Write a stellar query letter (personalized for each agent). Roll the die!
3. Submit and wait…wait…wait (check e-mails compulsively). Count and move!
4. NO? Wallow in rejection and misery. Down that serpent – back to #2!
5. YES? Squee with Glee, call all your friends, pump fist in air, dream of your big advance. Up the apparatus with rungs – to the next step!
6. Prepare partial submission package (usually synopsis & 1st 3 chapters) Roll the die!
7. Submit and wait…wait…wait (check e-mails compulsively). Count and move!
8. NO? Wallow in rejection and misery. Down the bigger serpent – back to #2!
9. YES? Squee with Glee, call all your friends, pump fist in air, dream of your big advance. Up the apparatus with rungs – to the next step!
10. Prepare entire manuscript for submission (follow all manuscript formatting rules). Roll the die!
11. Submit and wait…wait…wait (check e-mails compulsively). Count and move!
12. NO? Wallow in rejection and misery. Down the biggest serpent – back to #2!
13. YES? The final Squee with Glee! A YES from a full manuscript submission means you are now an agented author. Whew! Up the final apparatus, taking you right to the winning square!
My limited experience sees me wallowing in rejection after partial submissions. No one’s asked for the full thing yet, but I am determined she will. And I’ve read enough to know that if you get past the manuscript submission and squee with glee, the process starts all over again (from the editing stage) as you and your agent begin submitting to publishing houses. WOW!
So, People of Blogland – has there ever been anything in your life that you’ve wanted so badly that you’ve ignored the enormous obstacles (not to mention the workload and setbacks) standing in your way? New writers, at what stage would you give up and move on to another story – 100 queries? 50? 20? Words of wisdom from published authors would be greatly appreciated. And for fun – what’s your favorite board game from your childhood?
Janet (who'll check in when she can - or when Internet will let her :)