When Will Your Book Come Out? (Uff da.)

Earlier this week in Guide to Literary Agents, agent Regina Brooks of Serendipity Literary posted an excerpt from her 2009 book, Writing Great Books For Young Adults. In her post she enumerated the author’s 25 steps to publication.

For me and those of you who are constantly being asked, “So, when does your book come out” (often times when you haven’t even finished writing it yet!), the list proves to be a valuable tool to educate your friends and family. Let’s just call it a gentle way to say “Quit asking before I spontaneously combust!”

I shared it with my dad who said it was worthy of a Minnesota “Uff da.” And for those of you from other states, that (as they say) is saying something.

Regina Brooks’ list is below. The parenthetical commentary is mine.

  1. Author writes the manuscript. (Finally crossing it off her “Things to do Before You Turn 40” List.)
  2. Author revises the manuscript. (And if the author is smart, revises and revises and revises, and moves that comma back-and-forth a few times, and changes “walk” to “amble” and then back to “walk” because why should author be so pretentious?)
  3. Author gets critiques (if the author is humble and realistic enough to know he/she needs outside feedback) and implements necessary changes. (And revises again. Because, after all, “amble” did sound so dang literary!)
  4. Author submits queries to agents. (No doubt too early–should have gone back to step 2 for another go around.)
  5. Author secures agent. (If author manages to get out of the slush pile.)
  6. Author makes changes per agent’s feedback. (If author is not a megalomaniac. See Writer Unboxed post on this subject.)
  7. Agent submits work to publishers. (At this point, writer loses all control and waxes nostalgic about steps 1-3)
  8. Editor reads the manuscript and tells agent she is enamored and plans to share with the editorial board. (If lightning strikes twice!)
  9. Editor shares the manuscript with the editorial board. (Who–God forbid–may still decline it!)
  10. Editor prepares profit and loss (P&L) statement for the book. (Author has drinks with friends and peruses Vogue Magazine for red carpet dress because, after all, Hollywood can’t be too far behind.)
  11. Editor contacts agent and makes an offer.
  12. Agent shares offer with the author. (Author can’t believe  she’s come this far and the numbers just float in a flurry around her head. Wonders how much chocolate she can buy for that.)
  13. Agent negotiates the terms of the offer with editor. (Author distracts his/herself by focusing on current WIP)
  14. Agent reviews actual contract, makes additions and deletions to the clauses in agreement in the best interest of the author, and sends it back to the publisher’s legal counsel.
  15. Editor sends final contract to agent.
  16. Agent sends contract to author for signature. (Author realizes she should have used a pen name and wonders how to get chocolate fingerprints off the contract.)
  17. Editor prepares editorial notes for author, and the author revises again. (Terror! But, ah, a sense of relief, too because now the author has something to do again.)
  18. Author submits final manuscript. (And crawls under the covers.)
  19. Editor reviews the manuscript and then prepares it for production. (Author resumes the “Waiting Game”)
  20. Editors in production department copyfit and proof the manuscript.
  21. Editor sends copyedits to the author for review.
  22. Author reviews last pass of manuscript after proof.
  23. Editor prepares back cover copy, catalogue copy, and other tools to sell the book. (Author sees light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.)
  24. Publicity sends out galley copies to media for review.
  25. Book is published and starts to be sold. (Maybe two years after Step 7)

Whew! And THAT, dear friends, is when our books will come out!

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6 Comments

Filed under Publishing, Uncategorized

6 responses to “When Will Your Book Come Out? (Uff da.)

  1. Great post! I still am amazed how easy people believe it is to get published, though having said that I’ve always wondered how hard rocket science actually is…

  2. Anne!!!! LOVED this!!! So, so funny! I remember when I first discussed deciding to finally write a book and a few people asked if I had a publisher. And I was like, “yeah, Random House called. They heard about that great email I wrote my mom and they want to commission a book.”

    I hope you tweeted this!! And put it on FB!

  3. Yes, very funny. Reminds me of a similar question: how do you answer when somebody asks how the writing is going?

  4. Sharon–Oh, I know…”It’s going” sounds so bitter. Instead, how ’bout: “It’s going GREAT! Let me tell you all about it!” And then start at the beginning…”I first got my idea when I was sitting on the…” (That’ll teach ’em!)

    And for those of you who don’t write–We are actually, truly grateful that you care enough to ask. It’s our own insecurities that make the question so painful to answer.

    • It takes SO LONG. And you didn’t even cover the bit when the publisher decides that they don’t want two books debuting at once, so they move yours. And then they move it again. At this point, I’m just telling people that my book is only coming out in my imagination because I am ever so good at making things up.

      I’ve also taken to answering the question, “What is your book about?” with “I have absolutely no idea. Will you please read it and tell me?”

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