My previous published books were picked up quickly by various publishers. In fact, I’ve only had one rejection, and that was for my first book. A year later it was published by the second publisher I contacted. One publisher contacted me asking me to write a book they wanted which I was glad to do. However, my last book was published in 2013, and the publishing world has changed.
Few publishers will even accept a proposal letter from a writer today unless they are extremely well-known or have published for that company before. They ask that all proposals come to them through literary agents. That means I have to change my approach from what I’ve done in the past. I need to find a literary agent to represent my work.
It doesn’t take long on Google to learn that there are MANY such agents out there. At that point, it becomes necessary to find the ones who want to represent what you are writing, in my case a Christian-based non-fiction book. That narrows it down, a little, but takes a lot of time. Then you begin the process of studying the agency in more detail such as who they represent and the publishing companies with whom they’ve worked. After that you check out what they want in the way of a book proposal. No cookie cutter here! They all want much the same things in the proposal, but there seems to always be something additional each one is seeking. It may be in the information you provide or the way the material is organized. Most want email submissions, but a few still prefer the proposal be mailed to them.
There’s a lot of work in deciding which agents to contact, and there is no guarantee the agent will agree to work with you. Most have a 6-8 week response time so there’s a couple of months waiting to hear if you can move to the next phase of getting your book published. BTW – That means the agent now has to find a publisher interested in the book so there’s more time waiting. Just because you have an agent representing you doesn’t mean the book will ever be accepted by a publisher.
If a publisher does agree to produce the book, there are editing and rewrites that will be required. By the time the book is finally scheduled for production it can easily be another year after the contract is signed unless the book is a timely one. You can expect to see books on the shelves soon about how the federal government failed to react properly to the coronavirus. However, for most books, it is a lengthy period between the start of writing to finally holding the book in your hands.
Since my first book was released, numerous people have asked about the writing process. Most of them felt they had a book in them and wanted to know about how to get it published. When I’ve explained the process to them, most decided to leave the book inside them! This was especially the case when I explained the financial rewards, or lack of, many authors experience.
However, there are other rewards for a published author, not the least of which is the feeling that something he or she has produced has made a positive difference in someone’s life.
My first proposal is going to an agent when I finish this post. A second one will go out later this afternoon. As I identify other potential agents, I’ll send it to them. And wait. In the meantime I’ll resume work on another book that is about half completed, and then I’ll start the process of attempting to get it published.