Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How Publishing a Book is Similar to Climbing a Mountain

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Being an author involves more than just having talent. An author must also have knowledge about the craft, industry, as well as the publishing process. 

They must have a passion big enough to do whatever it takes to accomplish their dream; a determination that will take them all the way to the finish line; and the perseverance to keep going, even when they feel their motivation level becomes low, and they feel as if the journey is never-ending.

However, you must remember: It’s not always about the destination, but the journey within itself.

Below is a “roadmap” of the publishing process that I have created so you can have a visual understanding of how the publishing process works:

Stage One: The Slow Zone

When one wants to publish a book, they have to first write the best possible novel they can. This involves researching the craft, reading books in their genre, as well as editing/rewriting their story (and possibly hiring an editor and joining a critique group). Although this is only the beginning, it is the most important part of the journey and should not be rushed.

Think of it this way: When the speed limit is 30 MPH, it must be for a reason. If you don’t want to get into a car accident or receive a ticket, then you must not speed. You will get to your destination eventually, but it is more important that you drive safely and according to the rules than rush.

It may take years for one to complete a book. But once they are finished, they may then move on to step two.

➙ Stage Two: The Winding Roads & Upward Climb

When someone feels as if their book is 100% ready, they can begin to finally submit their work out into the industry.

This involves:
  • Researching reputable agents that represent their genre
  • Sending them a query based on their submission guidelines
  • Most likely receiving several rejection letters
  • Most likely having to wait months until you hear a response from an agent or finally find one that is interested in representing you
This may also involve:
  • Attending writing conferences and meeting with agents and editors
  • Receiving more critiques on your novel
  • Receiving even more rejection letters
As I mentioned above, not everyone’s writing journey is going to be the same. For some, it may take less than a year to sign with an agent. But it is always wise to prepare for the worst, yet hope for the best.

➙ Stage Three: The Peak of the Mountain

This is the point when you, the writer, can finally relax. No, the journey hasn’t ended—but the peak of the mountain is beautiful within itself. You’ve made it this far, and you finally have an agent! Now you are no longer in this by yourself. Someone actually saw potential in your work and has decided to represent you.

Although there are no guarantees that you will receive a publishing contract, the chances are much higher than they used to be.

This process may involve a lot of waiting, similar to step two. You will need to create your book proposal with your agent and wait to hear back from a publisher. Meanwhile, you may go ahead and do what you enjoy the most: writing. And enjoying the view at the peak of the mountain. =)

➙ Stage Four: The Downward Slope

When your dream has officially come true and you have landed a book contract, this is when things finally start moving. You will receive a release date for your book (usually a year or more once the contract is signed); you will go through edits on your book with your editor; and you may now begin the marketing preparations for your debut novel. It is during this downward slope when things  start to pick up and finally become real for you: in at least a year, you will finally be able to hold your finished book in your hands!  

➙ Stage Five: The Landing

Once your book is released, you have officially reached the finish line (at least for your debut novel). But just because you have reached your dream doesn’t mean you can relax completely—you still have to promote your book and begin writing your next one. Of course, that means you will have to climb yet another mountain. However, thankfully, it probably won’t be as difficult as the first one. =)

Final Advice

Do not become scared or intimated by this process. Sure, climbing a mountain might take a while and involve much effort. But once you take that first step, you’re already on your way to achieving your dream.

     ✎ Which of the above stages are you on? If you've already completed this process before, which stage was the most difficult?

  • It’s not always about the destination, but the journey within itself. @tessaemilyhall on the publishing process Click to Tweet!
  • You will get to your destination eventually, but it is more important that you drive safely and according to the rules than rush. Click to Tweet!
  • How publishing process works & why it's similar to climbing a mountain. Click to Tweet!

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photo credit: twiga269 ॐ FEMEN via photopin cc

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  1. I'm still on stage one. =P But hopefully will edit 50 hours during March. It'll be the 2nd draft of my NaNo novel. =)
    Great post Tessa!

    TW Wright

    1. That's awesome! You're definitely way ahead of where I was when I was your age. I would constantly begin stories but never complete them. It wasn't until I was 14 or 15 did I write a full-length novel. =)

      Thanks for your comment, TW!


  2. Still in the slow zone… On some days that mountain looks really high and I wonder if I'm even capable of climbing- but here I am still, pressing on.

    Great post, Tessa. ^^

  3. I'm in stage two. I think the main two reasons I've gotten this far is 1. I want to do it for God's glory and 2. I love the journey. I don't write just for the purpose of getting published, even though I do want to get published. I have novels on a file that I have no intention of ever revising for publishing, but I loved writing them.


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