So Slow!

I recently read the results of a survey of five hundred authors who were asked how long it was before they published their first book. The average was six years. Somewhere else I read that one author had already written ten books before he was published.

This process is so slow it makes winter molasses look like Niagara Falls.

So many of my friends are agented or already published; some are already several books into their careers. Me? I’m still waiting. And suffering from a big case of writer’s envy.

It’s not that Give the Lady a Ride hasn’t generated interest. As I write this, the first five chapters are sitting on an editor’s desk per her request, and if she decides against it, another editor is interested. If either one of these take it, I’m looking at a publishing date sometime in 2011-2012. Considering I started the query process in June of 2009, you can see how frustrating this is. There are a lot of hurdles to jump to be published by a major firm.

Agents and editors are bombarded by folks wanting to see their names on a book cover. Roughly eighty percent of those folks don’t make it to the final round. Of the twenty percent who do, most won’t make it simply because of the publishers’ backlogs. Some publishers only put out five new titles a year; getting to be one of the five is a matter of luck and editor preference. Look at it this way: by the time you’re one of the twenty percent, it has already been determined that your book fits what the publisher wants and what the market is interested in. You’ve shown you have the right product in the right place at the right time. You’ve identified your audience and given an acceptable plan of how to reach them. If the publisher is willing to take a chance on a new author–and you’re one of the twenty percent who survived the cuts–it’s still a matter of luck and preference to be among the last authors standing.

I’m still jumping hurdles, and although the process is slow, things are promising for me. I can do no more than to continue jumping and praying–and maybe I’ll make the ranks with my published friends.

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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13 Responses to So Slow!

  1. Winter Peck says:

    I know the frustration. Even with an agent, I’m still sitting on the cusp, and it’s been almost 3 years since I signed with her.

    All I know is, I’m not giving up and I’m gonna continue to drive on. It’ll happen.


    • pprmint777 says:

      I’m not giving up either! I figured your Five Second Penalty would’ve been snapped up by now. Good luck with it!


      • Winter Peck says:

        You would think, but for some reason the editors thought my characters need something more.

        You live and learn. I’m doing major tweaks on it and I certainly feel that this is a better rewrite.

        <};^) Give the word and you can take a sneak peek at the new 5SP.


  2. Shaddy says:

    You wrote a book! That’s something to feel extremely proud of achieving.

    Did you enjoy the actual writing process?
    Did you learn a great deal about writing as you filled page after page?

    I’m certain you answered yes to both of those questions, thus, you’ve been rewarded already.

    Savor these rewards; don’t put too much value on whether your book is published or not. Take great joy in what you’ve accomplished all on your own.

    Of course, getting published would be incredibly awesome and I pray that it happens.

    You’re a writer. There’s great joy to be found in claiming that title.

    Best wishes to you as you work toward getting your book published.


  3. K.M. Weiland says:

    I have a feeling that there’s something to be envious of no matter how high up the author ladder you are. Just remember that the struggle is the glory. You’d write even if you knew you’d never be published, right? In a lot of ways, the journey is the destination. Anne Lamott, author of Bird by Bird, wrote, “Publishing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But writing is.” 😀


  4. God opens doors and closes them in his timing. Each of us is on a journey. The important thing is staying on the path. That’s all any of us can do.


    • pprmint777 says:

      That’s true, Janalyn. I put the whole thing in God’s hands last year, so I really shouldn’t be complaining about how slow the process is. (Shame on me!)


  5. Nikole Hahn says:

    I get lucky here and there, but I have never gotten paid for it yet. One woman wrote it took her 12 years to get her children’s book published. I guess that means we keep writing. I’m writing a six book series and I’m almost halfway done with book one. I figure while I’m trying to find it a home, I’ll write on another series I have a quarter done so there are two different books of the same genre out there looking for a home. Perseverence is the key. That, and prayer.


    • pprmint777 says:

      Nikole, that’s the best thing to do while your waiting–keep writing! I bounce between two WIPs and my editing job, so I keep busy. But every now and then, I wish it would move just a bit faster.


  6. Sigh. At that rate, I’ll be lucky to have one book in my lifetime.


    • pprmint777 says:

      Actually, I have a friend who self-pubs because of her age. She’s a terrific writer and doesn’t mind promoting her books on her own, she just feels she’s too old to “jump through the hoops” for traditional publishers. Doesn’t have time, she says. I’m beginning to see her point.


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