I'm coming to you today from sunny Florida! Well... not exactly. I wrote today’s update in advance because I am on vacation this week. This is my first real break in several months, as I spent most of the Fall and Winter working on finishing my manuscript. I will try to unplug and relax before the Spring season of Ultimate Frisbee begins and my job as a coach kicks into high gear.
As I wrote about in my last author update, I plan to pursue traditional publishing for my book, so over the past month, I’ve been laying the groundwork for that effort. I’ve been developing the book’s website, compiling a list of people to reach out to, and polishing the manuscript. Getting a book traditionally published turns out to be quite a complicated endeavor, so today, I wanted to give you a brief overview of what that process looks like.
One of the biggest hurdles to traditional publishing is actually getting someone to look at your book. Generally speaking, authors do not talk with or pitch publishers directly. Instead, books are pitched by agents who have established relationships with the various publishing houses. So the first step is to find an agent that is willing to represent you.
Finding an agent can be challenging because so many people want to get their book published, and agents can only take on so many projects or clients at one time. Most agents have a limited set of genres they represent and a strict submission process involving writing a biography, query letter, and book synopsis. So before I can start pitching agents, I have to do a lot of research to make sure I am targeting the right people.
Once I’ve identified an agent that represents books like mine, I can submit my application along with a sample of my book, usually the first five to ten pages. If they like what they see, they will request to see the entire manuscript, and then they will decide to represent me or not. From there, I’m not entirely sure what will happen. I know that they will begin to send my book to publishers, but I don’t know the details of how that part of the process works.
As you can see, getting a book traditionally published is quite complicated, and in a way, it reminds me of the college application process. I honestly have no idea if I will get an agent or how long it might take. I’ve been told that it can happen quickly or it could take several months and that I should give it a year, so that’s what I’m going to do. If I’m unable to make any progress in that time frame, I will most likely publish the book myself, but it’s still way too early in the process to make that decision.
My goal for this month is to start reaching out to my network to see if they have any connections to agents or publishers. I have also identified at least one agent I would like to pitch, so I will start working on that application. Wish me luck, and I will write to you again soon!