"So when will your novel be published?"

2:38 PM

So now that you've all jumped on 'path to publication' with me (Thanks! Let's go for coffee!) I must warn you, the path is long. Very, very long. The path is so long it's advisable to pack a change of underwear and take rations. For a year.

Still with me?

Hey, it could be worse. Margaret Mitchell took ten years to write Gone With The Wind. You can raise a whole human being to double-digits in that time! But Margaret probably had the good sense not to tell anyone she was writing a novel. In those days, an 'author platform' was a small raised stage that writers sat on in public libraries doing readings and answering polite questions. There was probably cake afterwards.

Well look here people, there might not be cake on this author platform yet, but by jove there WILL be cake. At some stage, succeed or fail, we shall eat cake together. I'll even do a reading and you can ask polite questions.

But the question for now is "When will your novel be published?"

The short answer is "I don't know." The long answer is to give you a bit of an idea of the timeline we're working with.

1. Write novel. Tick. Done.

2. First read-through. Tick. Done. This was my first pass at the novel as a whole, making notes on all the things that didn't quite work such as timeline issues, chapters in the wrong spots, adverb-spotting and overuse of the word 'lovely'.

3. Edit #1. Doing this now. Diving back in and making all the changes.

4. Beta Readers. Giving the novel to the two poor sods who've agreed to read my unpolished gem and provide critical feedback on structure, characters, overuse of the word 'lovely', etc.

5. Edit #2. Incorporate feedback from lovely sods.

6. Write a compelling one page synopsis and cover letter and send to prospective agents, one of whom will think it has 'something' and agree to represent me, as long as I fix up all the things they found wrong with the novel.

7. Edit #3. Incorporate feedback from lovely agent.

8. Did I mention agent will also need to see a synopsis of my second novel?? Publishers will want at least one, possibly two, more novels-in-waiting.

9. Lovely agent will send manuscript to prospective publishers and cleverly negotiate a book deal.

10. Publisher agrees to book deal as long as I fix up all the things they found wrong with the novel (are you seeing a pattern here?)

11. Edit #4. Incorporate structural edit feedback from lovely publisher.

12. Edit #5. Incorporate copy edit notes from lovely publisher.

13. Stop using the word lovely.

14. Publisher inserts novel into publishing schedule and eventually, with all sorts of additional hocus pocus by whizz bang publicists, editors and printers, novel is released into the world. Huzzah!

So you see, the path is long and winding and eleventy billion things could derail us, but if you're still with me by the end, we will wipe the sweat from our brows and be jubilant.

If things do go wrong, make no mistake my friends. We will be published. Even if I have to go down to Officeworks and tie up their photocopiers for three hours!

And don't worry, I haven't forgotten about the cake.

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