Road to Publication: The Waiting Game

Whew! So where were we on this road-to-publication story?

I think I left off at Step 76 or so.

If Step 75 on the road to publication was making manuscript changes for your agent, and Step 76 was going on submission, Steps 77-85 would involve waiting. Which is where I am. Sitting-on-the-couch, eating-ice-cream-out-of-the-carton waiting. Checking-your-email-800-times-a-day waiting. Refreshing-your-email-another-800-times waiting. …

Oh, and rejections.

Yeah. I sort of forgot I was going to have to go through a whole slew of rejections again, but that’s part of the process, too.

You sort of get this false sense of hope that once you finally score an agent, you won’t have to deal with all the “we-just-didn’t-like-this” rejections anymore. You sort of feel like you just got married, and you can walk around without any makeup on, and you always have a date on New Year’s Eve, and you don’t have to worry anymore about that cute guy at the bar and why he’s looking at you like that, and you don’t have to care that he would probably say no if you asked him to dance.

But … no. Continue reading

On Submission!

Well, I’ve wanted to say this for a looooooooong time, but I’m finally “out on submission,” which means my agent is shopping my book out to publishers.

I can hardly believe it!

Of course, this can take a very long time (and there’s probably another huge string of rejections I’ll have to get used to — this time coming from publishers instead of agents), but I’m still very, very excited.

Now … on to write the next book! 🙂

The Next Step on the Road to Publication — Manuscript Changes for Your Agent

So if Step 1 is to write your book, and Steps 2 through 73 are to write a bazillion query letters and enter contests to help you find an agent, and Step 74 is to score an agent, I guess I’m finally at Step 75 or so.

And that involves making some manuscript changes that my agent thinks will help win over publishers of my genre.

She didn’t ask for many changes. And the few she asked for I agreed with 100%. But the biggest thing she needed me to do was to trim the manuscript by 16,000 words. (Gasp!)

Not that I didn’t know that was coming. …

I’d read lots of great articles and posts about why 100,000 words it the TOP of the word count, and – for a debut author – you should really try to hit the low line of the word count, like 85,000 words. (Everyone asks me how many pages this is, and I’m not really sure — I always think in word count. But I think 85,000 words is roughly 200 pages, 100,000 words is closer to 350 I believe. I was writing close to 400! a.k.a. Too many.)

Anyway, I’ve always written long. At the newspaper I was known for this, and it sometimes when an ad would drop out, my editors Dixie or Greg would turn to me and ask me if I could extend a story (sometimes other people’s stories!) by 300 words to fit the space? Sure! Writing long was my specialty. …  Continue reading

I Have an Agent!

Yes, indeedy!

I’m officially an agented author now!

Now all those weeks of the kids having no clean socks; the refrigerator being mostly empty; missing most of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade; ignoring the kids’ hints that maybe I should decorate for Christmas; having to go out to eat again because I was too busy at the computer; missing the last part of Ricky’s “The Walking Dead” family marathon; and using up every last second of my vacation time … well, it all seems worth it!

I scrambled to meet my November 30 deadline to finish writing the next manuscript, then a January 2 deadline to turn in the polished manuscript to the next Golden Heart contest, and also mentioned to the agent who I really wanted (squeeee!) – Jill Marsal at Marsal-Lyon Literary Agency – that I’d send her the new ms on Jan. 2 also.

It took zero-ing out on vacation time and that burying-myself-in-a-cave thing, but I did it.

And she called me the next morning to offer representation!

Yippee, 2013!

Here we goooooooooo


I did it!

I finished the new manuscript!

At 5:11, Nov. 24, to be exact.

I was thrilled, of course. A little shocked. A little giddy. A little doubtful. And a little sad, really, to have said “The End” to these characters, whom I’ve grown with and loved for a good three years now. (Yeah, three years. I got sidetracked a couple of times….)

Anyway, at 5:11, I threw my hands into the air and said “I’m DONE!” and Superman came rushing over from the living room with his cell phone to commemorate the moment. (Because I’m sure he could hardly believe it either.)

Then I went to pick Rene up from a church activity I’d dropped her off at, at 3 p.m. (and had told her I was “almost done with my book … I think…”). So I was excited to get her just a few hours later and say, “I finished!” I think she was in shock, too.

Then I went home and … uh … opened the file again. It’s like I don’t know what to do without this book open. …  Continue reading

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