When people find out that I’ve written a novel, (or at least two drafts of it) they do two things. First, they congratulate me saying how cool it is that I’ve written a novel. I tell them thanks and then because I can’t take a compliment, I hide behind the nearest grown-up’s legs.
The second thing that people do is ask me if I’m going to publish it.
Now, I’d be lying to you if I said I didn’t want to be a published author. From the moment I hit my word count quota during NaNoWriMo in 2012 I daydreamed about finally, maybe getting published. To be honest, the dream was nice, but unproductive (see Mirror of Erised). It got in the way. Instead of committing my novel to the page, I was distracted with thoughts that one day I would be a published author. I’d wave, delicate as the queen from the top of the stairs while a herald shouted my name to adoring fans. There would be confetti and revelry and…
It was all an illusion. It’s a nice place to visit, but as far as distractions go, it’s about as productive as coming up with a clever metaphor here. I focused and finished the first draft. Once the daunting task of fixing that hot mess appeared, I started actively distracting myself with information on how to get published. Would I self-publish because e-readers have really lowered the barriers to authors? Perhaps, but there’s something about the majesty of being an honest to goodness traditionally published author with my name on a book in a bookstore and everything. I wanted to try.
I soon found that having your novel published is a completely other world than the wonderfully naive world of writing your first novel. I started reading terms like “unsolicited manuscript” or “form rejection” and couldn’t wait to find out what they meant. Shorthand like SASE, STFU and GTFO enticed me to read on.
I reverse engineered an understanding of how to get my novel published. It involved from what I understand, writing a novel worth publishing (but let’s not talk about that) and then submitting it to literary agents who will champion it to publishers. It was really heartening to see that I wasn’t alone either, there were millions of other books out there trying to get published! Surely the process would be streamlined to accommodate all these books.
Unfotrunately convincing a stranger to invest in your book takes effort that my millennial brain couldn’t understand. However I’ve kept looking for resources to help me query and found Query Shark. This snarky, anthropomorphic shark offers to critique your query letters (and will eat you if you don’t follow guidelines). There are 200+ query letters, critiques, and revisions available and I highly recommend reading it even if you aren’t planning on querying anytime soon. They give you insights on how to pretend to be an author (until you actually are an author).
I’m aware that it’s Thursday when this was published but I was super crazy busy this past week so I wasn’t able finish this in time.