This is my encouragement to savor every moment, from the creation of your book idea, to penning the idea, to escorting it to agents and editors. Any attempt to rush the process may deter from your book’s future successes, let alone publication potential, if the wrong steps are taken.
There’s another reason why we may close to queries: we’re getting ready for a busy few months of conference travel. Yes, writers’ conferences. It’s one of my favorite things to do, as I get the chance to visit other cities in the company of other book folks. There’s the adventure and book talk; this is why it’s a delight to attend them.
In order to ensure that we’re ready for these conferences, we’ll plan any classes that we plan to teach at the conference, while finishing any reading from our query inboxes beforehand. The goal: to have both the time and the room on our lists to potentially work with any writer who presents a fun and exciting idea at these conferences.
The organizers of these conferences are promising their attendees that the agents and editors will be available for book pitches. It’s our responsibility to be receptive to these ideas, and to provide the education to anyone who may need to fine tune an idea. While every writer may not find their perfect agent/editor match at a conference, it’s important those agents and editors in attendance provide the critiques and education that will result in finding a future match (maybe through the inbox or at a different conference).
If you are independently publishing any book, contracts are a necessary part of the process. This includes hiring a freelance editor, a book designer, a publicity person, a printer, a distributor, and any other relevant costs associated with publishing your book. If you are putting the money (and time) into the publication of any book, having a written agreement with any third party is absolutely mandatory.
I often find that there are many myths about publishing, despite the fact that the intended audience is already a naturally curious and resourceful group of people. Writers, as a practice, will ask many valuable questions; my goal is to help bring an understanding to a few of these “unknowns” of publishing. A deeper understanding will help in the larger picture, specifically in sidestepping unrealistic expectations along the way.
This is my gentle nudge that if you’re a writer, you never forget your own reader experience. That you remember any book you write just isn’t for you, it’s for your future readers. Assuming that if you write it (the book), they’ll find it (the book) is unrealistic. And when a person takes the valuable time of reading your book, the highest level of respect is given if they find a story they can connect with and hopefully want to read again. Or even better, they enjoy your writing so much, they commit to reading all the books you write into the foreseeable future.
One of my favorite parts of being an agent is seeing my authors celebrate the release of their books. It’s like Christmas, except it’s a figurative Book Christmas and it can happen almost any day of the year.
Yet what’s not often discussed is all the time it takes before those books reach readers and bookshelves. Many people and many steps lead to this happening, but also one important key in this process is the timing, specifically when publishers decide to release any book into the world.
Working with another author on a book idea can be life-changing experience. Writing can be a satisfying yet isolating experience; the possibility of writing and creating a book with another person can present opportunities to learn more about the writing process, while sharing individual knowledge and successes with one another.
Recently a friend of mine (not in publishing) asked over lunch if self-publishing is still frowned upon. It took me by surprise, as this is someone who generally avoids discussing the writing realities of publishing, and generally geeks out over books with me. Needless to say, I wasn’t surprised by the conversation. It’s one I know can and will happen when I least expect it.
The green-eyed monster will try to tell you that other writers will steal your readers. How wrong this monster is! People who read books will read more than one book, and as we all know, writers are readers too. Never forget that.
Writing: it is a work of love. It may or may not result in riches, but the process in itself should be satisfying. Literally there is blood (oh those paper cuts), sweat, and tears as the words find their way into the public ether. So it’s natural to feel the drive to “give up the day job” when going down this path. This is my gentle nudge that it’s better to ease oneself into such a position vs. backing out at a breakneck speed. There’s a life beyond writing, and both are dependent on the other to ensure success.