Today I am so excited to introduce you to Aimee Hyndman of Slush and Writing with Kallypso. She is a true blue author, and her book, HOUR OF MISCHIEF, was just released. She's sharing some very helpful tips about the publishing process with any of you aspiring writers who are reading. Give my friend Aimee lots of love in the comments!
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From a distance, the whole process of getting publishing seems like a magical whirlwind. It is, to an extent. But a lot of writers expect the journey to be faster. In reality it’s a lot of waiting on pins and needles, sometimes for years and years. It can be tough, but you live for the baby steps. Let’s talk about those steps.
Step 1: So you’ve finished a book. That’s great. A lot of writers don’t make it this far. No matter what anyone says, writing a novel is no easy task. So take some time to celebrate and run your book through a few more rounds of edits just to be safe. Then sit back down. It’s time to write a query letter.
Step 2: Writing a query letter isn’t easy. It involves lots of rewrites, red ink and frustration. I rewrote the query for my first book some ten times. My query for my now published book HOUR OF MISCHIEF also went through extensive edits. Not surprising, considering you have to sum up the plot of your book in a few interesting paragraphs. The query letter has to be short and to the point, but it also needs character and excitement. A good query letter makes an agent or publisher need to see more.
Step 3: Once you’ve got your query letter and you’ve had others read it over and edit it for you as well, it’s time to send it off. You’ll need a list of agents you are interested in and who represent your category and genre. Be sure to research every agent you query. Remember, an agent, if they make you an offer on your book, is going to be your biggest advocate. You want to find a good fit. Once you’ve made your list, send out the first round of queries.
Step 4: The waiting game begins here. Part of you wishes that only two seconds after you hit send, an email will appear in your inbox, requesting more pages. But in reality, you’ll be refreshing your inbox for a few days to a month or more. During this time, you’ll get rejections. Maybe lots of rejections. It can be a disheartening time. Maybe your query doesn’t work and you’ll have to rewrite it and try again. Or maybe you’ll have to make a new list of agents to query. However, if your query is well written and interesting, you might start getting requests.
Step 5: Requests are super exciting, but also nerve wracking and include a lot more waiting. Agents will request partials and some will reject. Some will also ask for fulls. You will wait on pins and needles, praying and hoping they will fall in love with your book. And you’ll cling to every request. At this point you’ve probably started to adapt to the waiting game. Depending on how long you’ve been querying, the trenches are a familiar place. So what can completely throw off your game? The coveted call.
Step 6: One day, an email might arrive in your inbox from an agent asking if you can schedule a call. This kind of email is one that usually provokes screaming of some sort. Maybe falling out of bed, which I don’t recommend if you’re in a bunk. Of course you will schedule the call and pace around your room like a crazy person, bouncing back and forth between exhilaration and terror. Then the time of the call arrives and you talk to an agent. An agent who loves your book. An agent who wants you to be their client. Halleluiah! It might take tremendous self-control not to say yes right there. But take a breath. Thank them. And then take some time to consider. If you have pages out with other agents, it’s time to let them know. They might make another offer and they might not. If they do, you’ll have to choose which lovely person you want representing you.
Step 7: Once you make your choice and sign the contract, congratulations! You’re out of the query trenches, and you have an agent. Now settle in for something entirely new! Edits, submissions and waiting. Yes, even though you’ve escaped one slush pile, you dive right into another. The difference is, your agent is handling the submission process which takes some of the stress off of you. So you’re back on familiar pins and needles waiting for another call. The book deal call.
Step 8: Sometimes your agent will totally spring this one on you. Out of the blue, you’ll get a call. You might not even think about who’s calling before you pick up. Then, suddenly, the news you’ve been waiting for. Someone has offered on your book. They want to publish it. For real. Your book is finally going to be in print. You babble nonsense through most of the call, then hang up the phone and scream to the hills, waking up your neighbors. At long last the waiting is over.
Step 9: But not really. There’s still a lot of work to be done over the next year or so before your book comes out. More edits, because you can never edit enough. Not to mention all of the marketing and preparation. And then of course, there’s the long wait until it actually hits Amazon. During that time, you’ll likely wonder how you even got to be here. You might have days when you hate your book and think it’s the worst thing ever written by human hands. And you’ll have days where you imagine it skyrocketing to the bestsellers list and ending up as a movie. There are lots of emotional levels to this problem and most of them slightly unstable.
Step 10: But finally the day will arrive. Your book will release to the public and you’ll spend all day furiously refreshing your Amazon and Goodreads, hoping for ratings, reviews and purchases. The stress doesn’t stop, but at least all of your hard work and waiting paid off. You can hold your book in your hand. Savor that moment. Celebrate with your friends. The work is over.
At least until the next book.
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Thanks, Aimee! If you simply loved this post, please holler on social media or follow Aimee here: