Full Steam Ahead

mailbox

Last March, I wrote about the complicated process of getting published.  I was a neophyte in an arena I knew nothing about, and my naiveté about the work beyond crafting a manuscript was quickly exposed.

Since then, I have worked feverishly on get a web site up, maintaining this blog, hunting endorsements and becoming more wired into the social networking world. Meanwhile, I knew the partners of the agency representing me were meeting in early October, and was informed my story would be a priority at the meeting, which I assumed meant query letters would be sent to various publishers shortly thereafter. I also assumed there wasn’t anything else I would need to do, other than keep track of the publishers we pursued.

I was right and wrong in those assumptions.

I was right in the sense that I did receive an e-mail after the meeting that informed me the other partner in the agency was taking over the marketing of the book, and was preparing a package to send to various publishers. But I was wrong about not having to do any additional work. In fact, I received a list of items that needed to be completed ASAP.

What were the items?  A chapter summary, something called a competition analysis, and a marketing plan. I’m not going to bore you with the details of what these items entail, but my immediate thought, besides “are you kidding me?”, was couldn’t someone have explained this to me during the summer, when I was patiently waiting.  I had plenty of free time back then, and wouldn’t have to scramble to produce them like I did now.

Remember, all I thought I needed to do when I first started this was write the manuscript, hand it off to somebody, and they would do all the heavy lifting from there. That obviously was not the case, and if you are keeping score, these are the tasks I have undertaken in order to get to where we are now: Beefed up my Facebook and LinkedIn presence; created an author Facebook Page; created a web site; started this blog; sent out more requests than I can remember to published authors asking for an endorsement; wrote a book synopsis; wrote an author biography; completed a competition analysis; completed a marketing plan.

I was completely clueless about what the last two items required. In fact, I had to basically plagiarize the templates my agent provided in order to assemble something that looked remotely professional. As I was preparing these documents, I remember thinking that I hoped I wouldn’t get questioned from prospective publishers about the competition analysis, which is document that compares your story to previously published novels, because I hadn’t read a single page of the ten books I listed. I had to cobble what I wrote based on book reviews I found on-line.

As far as the marketing plan is occurred, I honestly thought it was a bunch of bullshit, and doubted I could do a fraction of that that document said I would do. Hopefully, that won’t matter.

I sent the final three documents to my agent a few days ago, and wondered if this would be another hurry up and wait situation. It wasn’t. In fact, two days after I sent the documents, I received a list of ten publishers the package, which included everything I have mentioned in addition to the manuscript, were sent to. More will follow in the near future.

It’s exciting to know that after all this time, more than five years after I started the manuscript, the process has finally started. I’m looking forward to reading all the rejection letters that follow. I’ll be interested in reading what the editors that received the manuscript have to say. Hopefully there will be more good than bad. I don’t know how long it typically takes to get a response, or what the average time span is between sending them out and getting an acceptance, or deciding to self-publish. I’m betting it will be longer than I think or will like, and that perhaps I will still be writing about this a year from now.

As long as the query letters and packages keep getting sent, I will do my best to not let the rejections or length of the process get under my skin.

After all, all it takes is one yes.

 

Web Site Launch

web site construction

Back in March, I lamented about the process of trying to get published.  One of the unexpected tasks on a checklist of odious chores I needed to complete to get the process going in earnest was to create my own web site. Keep in mind that I am technically illiterate and didn’t have a clue about web site construction.

Well, I am happy to announce that finally, more than three months after beginning the construction process, and with a lot of help from Josh Lavallee of Mod MDCL, the web site is completed and ready for prime time.

Please take a few minutes to visit the site: stevemarkesich.com and let me know what you think. I would be interested in knowing what you don’t like or what is cumbersome than your unadulterated praise, although that’s welcome too.

I’d also like to thank Grace and Susan for generously donating their time to read the novel and offer their thoughts, which you can find on the site. I won’t tell you however where on the site you can find their reviews. I’d rather have you work to locate them, which means you will have had to look at all the tabs and do some navigation. I hope to add a few more in the ensuing weeks from some faithful followers.

Now that the site is built, query letters to prospective publishers are supposed to go out next month. Wish me luck!

 

Think Getting Published is Easy?

publishing

I’ve written a novel. The main character has MS (big surprise), but that’s only a subplot to the story, which is about self-discovery, perseverance, family, friendship, love and redemption.

I never intended to be an author, and how I came to write this is a long story in itself, but I enjoyed the process, had the assistance of an editor along the way, and I think the end product is pretty good. Most of the people who have read it certainly think so. Who knows? Maybe this can become a second career if working regular hours in an office  becomes impossible. A guy can dream, can’t he?

But I have to get one little detail out of the way, which is getting the damn thing published, and I don’t mean self-publishing. When I finally got the manuscript finished after so many edits and revisions I lost count (at least twenty of them), I figured the hard part was over. Little did I know.

I assumed all that needed to be done was to send the manuscript out to hundreds of publishers, who would see how brilliantly I write, and fall all over themselves trying to sign me. My literary agent, who has been in the business forever and whom I trust, quickly disabused me of that idea. In today’s competitive environment, you need more than talent. You need a social media presence.

Oh shit!

Just hearing the term “social media” makes me cringe, primarily because I never believed in it, didn’t have time for it, and didn’t want to be bothered with it. E-mail and texting was more than enough for me. Unfortunately, social media numbers are necessary because the assumption is you have a built-in network to market the book to. So whether I liked it or not, I had to jump on the bandwagon. And until a few days ago, I thought I did.

The laundry list of things I needed to accomplish when this odious chore was first presented made my sphincter pucker. I needed to max out the number of friends allowed on Facebook, which is 5,000. At the time I had less than 100. This took me the better part of three months to accomplish.

But that wasn’t enough. More was required, the list of options long, and starting a blog was the least objectionable of the choices. That, dear followers, is how this blog got started. Not that I have any regrets. I enjoy doing this and have met some fun and interesting people along the way.

I also needed at least five endorsements from published authors, which took as long as it did to achieve 5,000 friends.

Those three accomplishments got me to the point where I could sit down with my agent and hopefully move forward on the publishing front. That meeting occurred on Wednesday, and the good news is that we are going to actually start the process. YAY! 

The not so good news is getting started means I also have to create a web site (ka-ching!), and get my Linkedin presence more robust than Facebook. By the way, Linkedin does not have a follower limit, so I presume I’m looking at having to get in the 10,000 range. I currently have 103. And while all that is going on, I need to get started with Instagram.

In addition to this, a marketing plan that can be sent to publishers along with the manuscript needs to be developed, which demonstrates how wonderfully connected I am, shows all the writing groups I am affiliated with, and lists more endorsements than I currently have. That presumably will occur once the web-site, Linkedin and Instagram are in full gear, along with Facebook. Getting the blog numbers up would also be helpful.

I walked out of that meeting with mixed feelings. I was happy that we are going to actually move forward with this, but all the other stuff? It’s completely foreign to me. I think I will become enthusiastic and have fun once I get into it, but right now it feels like I’m sitting in the dentist’s office waiting for a root canal.

I know my agent is right, because once it does (hopefully) get published, the foundation to market, sell and get the word out will be in place, and the news hopefully spreads like a virus.

Still, all of this for a freaking book? If I’m going to go invest all this time, money and aggravation to get the platform up and going, it sure as hell means I’m going to have to write more stories. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Wish me luck.