Answers to Your Questions About Book Deals + The Publishing Process! (Plus An Army Tank, The Nickname “Butch,” and My Favorite New Compliment: CREAMY.)
March 26, 2019
In: Book Publishing
Last week I asked: what questions do you have about the publishing process? Since I’m in the thick of it, and you’re my ride-or-die crew, I thought I’d bring you along on the journey. (Picture me holding the keys to a Ferrari. Except instead of a Ferrari it’s more like a tank. Can you imagine a giant tank with “The Middle Finger Project” emblazoned on the side? WE WOULD HAVE SO MUCH FUN.)
And, omg, you had so many good questions. The most common, by far, was “How and where do I even get started, Butch?!” Which is an understandable question to ask, though I’m not sure about the nickname, “Butch.” Nobody seems to know if you should write the book first, or get the agent first, or try and get a publisher first, and then an agent? There’s also a lot of confusion around the role between agent and editor, and what your relationship looks like with each. (Hint: you will never find better people. My theory is that people who read are just CREAMY. Which is a cross between “crème de la crème” and “dreamy.” Creamy.)
So, guess what! In light of all of your questions, next week we’re doing a thing. It’s going to be an event! It is going to be marvelous! And it’s going to be something special for the people who are just like I was, once upon a time, googling their eyes out, searching for any legitimate information about the publishing process from real people who have gotten book deals (and not any more cutesy shit about people like James Patterson and J.K. Rowling. WE KNOW, THEY MAKE A LOT OF MONEY. But what about real humans?)
In the meantime, however, here are just some of the questions you asked—and some of the questions I’m going to answer for you next week during our very big and mysterious “I want to get a book deal, tell me everything!” event.
- What comes first … the book, the agent or the publisher?
- Is there a way to pitch a topic/idea for a book without developing a full-blown book proposal?
- How do you even get started? Write the thing? Write only the pitch? How do you determine if a publisher would even want it? Does it matter?
- How do I know if my idea is any good?
- I have so much content, but no clear message yet, what should I do?
- Do you need an agent? How do you find one? What do you look for in one?
- Do you have to have a finished manuscript before submitting it to a publisher?
- What should a book proposal *really* contain?
- What is the ideal page numbers for a book to be published? I've heard many different answers to this….
- Should you be worried about someone taking your book idea when your shopping publishers?
- Do you need a—groan—platform?
- How much was your advance, and what is is based on?
- Do you get the advance all up front?
- How much will you make on each book sold?
- Do you have a publication date? How far in advance are you working?
- How often do you agree with the editor's feedback? How often do you argue for your original idea?
- Have you done a wpw breakdown? (That's wine per word. How much did you drink while writing?)
- Did you consider self publishing? And/or why did you decide to go with a traditional publisher?
- What's a single piece of advice you wish you had known from the get-go?
- What is it useful to have clarity on, be prepared for, emotionally/spiritually/financially/physically/etc before you start the process?
All of these are superb questions. And all of them also illustrate just how exclusive the publishing process can be—and how little “normal” people know. It’s sort of like this big and mysterious thing, the literary agent and the editor and the publishing house and the advance and way it all works. So next week, I’m going to break it down for you and we’re going to talk ALLLLL about how it functions as a whole. The more you understand, the less intimidated you’ll be. Because, we need books in this world. We need your book in this world. And I can’t wait to talk shop.
Don’t forget to just click here and I’ll add your name to the list to make sure I tell about the event happening next week (and you might even get the inside scoop before anybody else, natch.)
TO BOOK BABIES. Which are sometimes just as messy as actual babies, but definitely not as scary.