Remember I mentioned that I went to a Writer's Conference two weeks ago. At that conference I received interest from a publisher and their house. Ironic as this sounds, I didn't know how to react. I remember saying, "So what you do you want me to do?" Something completely ridiculous like that. I believe the publisher looked at me with the queerest expression ever. Her immediate response, "A book proposal." I nodded and then walked out of the room with a confused look filling my face. Someone I met at the conference asked how the meeting went and I dumbly said, "They want my book proposal, why?" He looks at me and nearly lost it, I now believe he wanted to rattle me and yell in my face what really just happened.
So you write the great novel. All of the pages are done. Everything you ever imagined is done. You close the computer and are actually getting a good night's sleep tonight. But before you do that, you think. Perhaps you're scratching your head and feel more confused and overwhelmed now more than ever. The whole novel writing was painful, but the next steps might even be worse. That's exactly what happened to me. I finished my novel with this great ending (at least I think so) and I proudly closed my laptop and cupped my face in my hands. I sat still for the first time in months and stared at nothing. I just finished my novel!! Eeeek!!!! Okay, I thought, now I can sleep and perhaps award myself with something tasty to eat. After all, I've worked months on this manuscript, I need to revive a bit. The moment I got up from my chair I began thinking about the future of this book. My characters were taken care of. They weren't hanging on a string and waiting to either fly or fall. But my purpose and intent on writing this book was just about to begin and I had no idea about the process. I raked my hands through my hair and exhaled deeply. For now I would treat myself with something good and then get back with it.
I gave myself three days before I opened the book again and began editing. In that time I was looking at publishers but noticed the hard work of getting in. Again, I had to remind myself what my purpose is in writing this book. I recommend you do that too because it's so easy to lose yourself through the process. I stumbled upon self-publishers and contacted a few but never felt easy enough to do that (I'll discuss that process in the upcoming posts). Eventually I attended the Writer's Conference in my area (third largest in nation) and my golly goodness, I thought my stomach was about to fall out five minutes prior to my meeting with the Editorial Assistant. It's no joke, I was shoved into the room by a fellow writer friend. At that moment I forget everything I was going to say, I didn't even remember what my book was about. I had my pitch (the novel in a brief verbal synopsis, must be captivating) laid out but it vanished. Thankfully I got through the meeting and the editorial assistant ended saying, "Please send us your book proposal." I knew what a book proposal was, I read about it everywhere but to be honest, I never, NEVER, NEVER EVER expected that to happen to me. Now what?
Write a book proposal.
- Cover Letter (introduce yourself and your book, intro starts with a hook--often the back cover blurb)
- Brief Synopsis (no more than 2 pages)
- First Three Chapters of the Book (or whatever the publisher asks for)
And remember: a publisher or editor will only ask for your book proposal if they're interested.
That's it. There you have your book proposal. I was told to get it done in five days and that I did. Was I stressed? Yes. Why? Because I didn't expect this to happen but expect for the best and prepare for the harvest. Work on it now to have it complete and anticipate that good things will happen! And now that I'm waiting and we all know waiting can be a long process. I'm working on a new novel to keep the flow going. I don't want to stop the ideas when I'm full of them. Besides, they have to go somewhere so might as well fill papers of ideas up and get new characters excited.