4/18/11

Layman Publication: The Publishing Process

I'm in the process of writing a Facebook note detailing the publication process for my non-writer friends, because I've had to answer too many times that a "finished book does not a NYT bestseller make." This is part 4. (But if all the parts are this long, there will definitely be some cutting.)

Since I'm here, I'd like to highlight Stina Lindenblatt's (Seeing Creative) addition to the last post. She said: "And even if your agent is legit, you should still listen to your gut. It's too easy to say 'yes' to an agent who wants to rep your book, only to discover later you two aren't good together." Very, very good advice, even if turning down a representation offer would be the hardest thing ever!
  • Once you have an agent, she (or he, but we're going with she) begins to shop it around to publishers. And, if your book is marketable good, you get offered a publishing deal, but...
  • ...if your book is really marketable really good, there are multiple publishing companies that want to publish your book. That means your book will be sold 'at auction,' which is basically the publishing houses bidding higher and higher in terms of money and promotional plans. The agent and the author (though the author would be wise to listen to the agent's advice) choose one. Then...
  • ...you wait. The book will undergo more edits, and more edits, and even more edits, and cover design, and formatting, etc... before it's finally printed. Plus, books have been planned to be printed from months ago, so you're going to be a bit behind anyway. Plan on 6-18 months before you see your book on shelves...
  • ...but you won't have much time to see it, because you'll (probably, depending on your publishing deal) be busy writing your second book, since publishing houses usually buy a two- or three-book contract. You don't have as much time as you had with the first one, so you've got to go insane with writing. But you're book is selling...
  • ...and it's slowly (or, hopefully, not so slowly) earning you royalties. You don't get any money until you "earn out" your advance, which is the money you got when you signed with the publisher. So if they gave you $1000 (it's usually more, but we're going with that) when you signed, you don't get any money until your royalties exceed $1000. Your royalty percentage varies depending on how many books you've sold and what type of book (hardback, paperback) is being sold.
And that, my friends, is what I know about publishing. I have the feeling I'll be looking back and laughing in a couple of years. :)

Did I miss anything? What would you add/take-out?

1 comment:

D U Okonkwo said...

Very cool - and I'm sure like the rest of us, you'll learn more along the way.