From manuscript to published book.
You typed ‘the end,’ but it’s not the end. It is the beginning. It all starts with the submission. There are two types of submissions we will discuss in this post: cold and requested. As it stands today, most major houses won’t touch a cold submission, which means the role of an agent is key. We chatted about the dreaded slush pile before. What that means in the simplest of forms is…slow. Super, duper, crazy, slow. Keep in mind that the bigger houses can get upwards of hundreds of queries a day. That’s hundreds.
That’s a lot. I need a cuppa just to process the idea of that pile. I’m picturing a massive pile of laundry at the bottom of the basement stairs. You know, where you just chuck your latest mass of grungie sweatpants, and t-shirts. Yeah, that is what I see when I think of a slush pile. Well, with that lovely image seared in your mind, let’s refill our cuppas and find a nibble. I am having…what am I having? Hmmm…peanut butter and crackers. That sounds good. Gather up your yummies and your copy of The Novel Writer’s Toolkit by Bob Mayer and meet me out on the reading rug. We are on page 179. Ready? Well, we are starting anyway Henry. It is not our fault that you dawdled. Lateness is not acceptable behavior. Think of the others. Geesh.
The Sloppy Slush Pile
On top of there being so many, who do you think are going through this waist deep pile? Not the heads of the house or even their assistant’s assistant. Nope. The lowest paid/intern are picking through the heap looking for a gem. In smaller houses, they have what they call ‘parties,’ where they stay late for a few nights and wade through the mountain of submissions that rolled in. This is why they tell you to allow 6-8+ weeks for a response. It takes them that long to get to you.
Talk about disgruntled employees. Can you imagine how it must feel to never see the end of the pile. They wade through twenty to only see ten more fall in. I guess they could call that job security…? Either way, get use to waiting. Say you finally, after 8 weeks, hear from a publication. They ask for your full manuscript. Awesome! But you must wait, again. Months. Then. Magically, you get an offer, but they refer you to an agent first. It’s a never-ending cycle of do, then wait, then do, then wait some more. This is the journey of a cold submission.
Okay, this is the submission put forth by your agent who knows who to send it to and when. This means they bypassed the massive slush mountain. Because you have already gone through the weeding out process by your agent, makes your jump into the office of a publisher much easier.
Your agent is basically doing the query, in person, for you. When they do this, it is as simple as two lines. This is why Mr. Mayer hopped on the original idea so much earlier on. You need to be able to sell your story in two lines. What’s good in this situation is books pitched by agents tend to get read faster than the slush pile submissions.
To recap: Tell me about your book in no more than two sentences. I have heard this called the elevator pitch. You must pitch your book in the time it takes for the doors to close once you get in and open again at the next floor. Can you do it?
Show me your pitch.
Up next: The Contract
Polish your sparkle and keep twirling.
Find joy. Be joy. Enjoy.
I’m always looking for new friends!
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Universal Code for O-B*tch-uary: https://books2read.com/u/bOZe8o
Universal Code for Sin Full: http://books2read.com/u/m2Vdqd
Author Page: amazon.com/author/nellawarrent