Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Reality Bites

It's so funny to tell people that I have a book that is going to be published. They first thing they ask is "What's it about?" and I give them a short synopsis. (Tiny, seriously, have one sentence ready. And I'm not talking a Faulkner-esque sentence. More like a Shel Silverstein sentence.:)) Then they ask what the title is. I tell them I don't know (although that is supposed to change this week! Cross fingers!) That's when the "Yeah . . . sure you're getting published," looks start. Then they ask me when they can buy it, and I drop the bomb. In just over a year. The thoughts in their head at that moment go something like this: "Wow, they are making her wait a year to get published? Her book must really suck to be so far back in the line." Then they smile and back away slowly.

I don't blame them. Most people who know nothing about publishing think it happens like this:

Me: *skipping* La la la la . . . oh, hey! I have this great idea for a book!!

(Three Weeks Later.)

Me: This is clearly a most brilliant book. I will pack to whole thing up and send it to Very Big Publisher.

(Three Weeks Later)

Me: Oh, look! Very Big Publisher has sent me a contract! Hooray!

(Three months Later)

Me: Oh look, my lovely book here at Barnes and Noble. Yay!

This is how people think it happens. Really! They look at me like I have three heads when I try to explain how it really is.

But folks, this is how it is. (not always, but this has been my experience and I have found my experience to be fairly typical.)

Me: *skipping* La la la la . . . oh, hey! I have this great idea for a book!! (See, it starts the same way!)

(Three months later)

Me: Oh, look, I have a book. Yay! Now I need to write a query.

(A week later)

Me: This is hard.

(A week later.)

Me: Okay, a query! Now I'm going to query agents.

(Three months later.)

Me: Everyone said no; I must need a new query!

(Nine months later.)

Me: Everyone still doesn't want it. I must need a new book!

(Three months later.)

Me: Oh wait, an agent does want it. Must shift focus.

(Six months Later)

Me: No publishers want it. Must study the market THEN write new book.

(Three months later)

Me: Yay! I has new book!

(Three months later)

Me: Okay, I have finished edits with agent. Time to send the book out to editors!

(Two weeks later)

Me: Publishers already don't want it. I must give up writing and find new hobby. *mope*

(Next day)

Me: Oh, wait. Someone does want it! Hooray!

(Three months later)

Me: Oh look, an ed letter that I will spend about 100 hours working on.

(Two months later)

Me: Oh look, another slightly less intense ed letter that I will spend 75 hours working on.

(One month later)

Me: Oh look, more edits.

(One month later)

Me: And yet more edits.

(One months later.)

Me: Copy edits! Hooray!

(One month later.)

Me: Round two of copy edits. I'm starting to really hate my book.

(Three months later.)

Me: Hey! ARCS! I love my book again!

(Six months later.)

Me: Hey look, there's my book in Barnes and Noble! Yay! Now I must get back to work because about the time my book 1 comes out I am hard at work on the edits of Book 2. Yay!!

That's pretty much how the cookie crumbles. Lots of work, lots of time. Now, I'm not complaining about the work and time. Rush jobs make for lousy books. I'm happy they are putting the time and work into my book that they are. But I wish more people knew how this all works because seriously, when I tell them my book hasn't got a title and that it's not coming out till next yeah, I can just read their little thoughts. They say, "Oh, sure. I bet you haven't even written a book!!"

To which my little brain replies, "You have no idea . . . you have no idea.":)



Precie said...

This is why I haven't told anyone except my closest friends (and blog friends) that I write.

I'm not telling my folks and non-writer friends until I can hand them a published (ideally, hardcover) book with my name and photo on it.

I hope you can take some comfort in the fact that we understand. :)

YAY for 2009! Can't wait for your release!

Kiersten said...

Just a thought--your brain? I really doubt it's little ; )

cyn said...

and they wonder why writers are a neurotic bipolar bunch? haha!

yes, one friend said she had no idea you had to jump through so many hoops. she assumed, if you write a book and want to publish it, it gets published.

right. i write fantasy but i wish i lived in that one.

Anonymous said...

LOL! How funny! Of course, we know better. I love how they both start the same. Skipping. Nice.

JenWriter said...

Haha! A lot of people don't understand how long it takes to write a book too. They're like, "You're STILL working on that thing?"

Anonymous said...

Just write, baby!

David L. McAfee said...

Aww, Aprilynne. WE know that's not the case. Your book sold in a pre-empt! fer cryin' out loud. They WANT your book. Heck...I want your book. Where's my ARC, anyway? :-)

See, some of us are still at the "Oh, no one wants my book" stage.

Hey...maybe I need a new book, too. ;-) Better get crackin'!

JKB said...

You know, that might be a very interesting post (at least for me). How many MS had you written before the present soon to be published (YAY!!)MS?

Did you actually study the market before you started writing?

Just FYI : I'm perfectly willing to read and review your book on my blog (blushes modestly LOL) if you'll send it to me early. :)))))

Heidi the Hick said...

I'm at the point now where people who know about my book are asking why it hasn't been published yet.

I usually say it's just not that easy...

People also think that it should only take 5 minutes to record a 3 minute song, or that you just hop on a horse and it starts walking and you're off into the sunset.

Sometimes I have to set them straight but sometimes I just smile and nod. There are folks who don't really care to know how much work goes into reality!

Maprilynne said...

Nothing is as easy as it took. I remember watching Kristi Yamaguchi skate years ago, and the commentator kept saying that one of her biggest strengths was that she made everything she did look so easy. I think the same can be said for pros in any field. They make it look easy so people think it is. I like that Heidi pointed out that the same applies to musicians, horse trainers, etc. Because it does. If it looks easy, that person is probably very good at doing a hard thing.:)

Oh, and JKB, depending on how you count it, AW is my third-and-a-halfth book, and yes, it is a book based on my market studies.:)

David, quit whining.;)

Mary said...

That’s why my family and colleagues don’t know I write.

Like Precie, I’ll let them know after I’m published (if that ever happens, of course).

Pike's Place said...

Aprilynne! It's Lisa and Jeremy Pike (Kenny's cousin). We came across your link on Katie's blog and wanted to say "hi." We're so excited about your book -- that's HUGE!!! We're also looking forward to the next reunion so we can catch up with everyone.

Helen said...

Man, if it did work like everyone assumes it does, it would be way too easy. *g*