Since I’m nearing the end my YA/NA urban fantasy’s second draft, a couple of people have asked me “Do you have a publisher yet?” At first I was taken aback; I feel a million miles away from publication. But the question makes sense, especially coming from someone who doesn’t know how traditional publishing works. Here’s a basic breakdown:
- Write a book: It can be anywhere from 60,000 words to 110,000 words depending on the genre. 80,000 words is a generally good goal.
- Edit the book X times: The first draft is awful, the second is okay, the third is passable, and so on. You need perfection. Good luck with that.
- Research your market: Know where your book fits into the publishing world and find agents that represent books like yours.
- Query agents: These are the middlemen, the gatekeepers. Expect a million rejections and hope for that one, magical acceptance.
- Start a second book: Start writing whether or not your first book has been accepted. If it’s all rejection, either your book isn’t publishable or the market isn’t ready for you.
- Get a contract: The agent should know the market and hopefully will get you a good deal with a good publisher.
- Market yourself: Publishers don’t put enough money into marketing, so be prepared to work hard.
- Finish your second book: If the first goes well, your publisher will be hopefully want to sign another deal.
If you’re one of those people who is wondering when on earth I’m actually going to publish my novel, here are the steps. Thank you for checking up on my work; I’ll keep you updated as I go along. I’m working hard on step 2, but I’m also preparing material for steps 3, 5, and 7. It pays to be prepared!