Hello individuals of the internet!
I want to share with you some of my experiences in getting published, and why leaving a review is the capstone to an author’s journey.
I’ve talked before about how writing can be a long and lonely process, with a million requirements that are sometimes overwhelming, but let me break it down in terms of time.
Step 1 – Writing the Novel
1-6 months, depending on the person and genre. It’s also not unheard of for authors to take longer (especially with their first novels). This can sometimes become a 1-10 year ordeal.
Step 2 – Finding an Agent or Researching Self-Publishing Strategies
If you go the traditional route, finding an agent can be a struggle. Most authors write hundreds of agents, and each of those agents says it’ll take 4-12 weeks before they’ll get back to you.
If you decide to self-publish (which is a totally legit way to go) you need to research cover designers, editors, beta readers, review sites, and balance the cost of paid advertisements. This is all self directed, but you can be sure it takes most people 1-3 months to get this all figured out.
Step 3 – Selling to a Publisher or Following Through with Self-Publishing
Awesome. Let’s say you have an agent that got back to you and loved your book. Well, now you have to wait for him/her to sell it. How long does that take? Again, it varies, but the average is around 3 months. Some have to wait 9-12 months. Some never even get a publisher.
Or, let’s say you’re committed to self-publishing. Now you have to give it to a professorial editor and a group of beta readers. Since these are all people with other jobs (and lives of their own) this can be a lengthy waiting period. 2 months, a bare minimum, to get good feedback. AND THEN you need to make all the changes–suggestions from your beta readers, grammatical edits from your editor. Add another month for the changes. Then comes round two. Another 2-3 months.
Step 4 – Publisher Editing or Designing Your Own Marketing Plan
If you go the traditional route (and you found a publisher) now you need to go through the professional edit. This can take 2-3 months (from my own personal experience). The senior editor goes over your book, then an assistant, then a fact checker, and finally a group of proofreaders read the final product. Keep in mind you have to make all the changes within a timely manner according to schedule or else the whole thing could take way longer.
If you self-publish, and you’ve gone through your edits, you now need to pick a release date and begin your marketing plan. Giving the book to reviewers, paying for advertisement, building a social media platform–some of these tasks don’t even have a definite end date. They take time, at least a month for advanced readers alone.
Step 5 – Waiting for Your Release Date
Now that everything is taken care of, all you have to do is sit back and wait for that release date.
After I was done with my edits (which was around February 2017) I waited another 4 months before the release of my novel. This is to give the publisher time to advertise, get the book to reviewers, and place it in their newsletters and catalogues. All important stuff!
If you’re self-publishing, this doesn’t have to take too long–you could publish straight away, in theory (though I don’t recommend it).
Total Time Before a Book Hits the Shelf: Average 1-2 Years (with a chance it could be 10 years+)
That’s a long time. A lot shorter if you go the self-publishing route and just throw it up on Amazon (but again, I don’t recommend that). I finished Vice City in June 2016 and it didn’t hit shelves until today, June 20th (exactly 1 year later).
So what’s at the end of the tunnel for the writer? Well, believe it or not, writers are excited to hear feedback from anyone and everyone. They spent a small chunk of their limited lifespan to craft the novel, and now they’d love to hear from someone that enjoyed it. Even just a little bit.
Traditionally published authors get paid when the book sells to the publisher (an advance) so by the time the book hits the shelves, it’s not about the money.
Why am I talking about all this?
It’s not to discourage you from writing (far from it – if you have a passion, you should do it!) It’s to say – hey, maybe you should leave a review for your favorite author. Hell, even an author you just kinda moderately liked. Actually, leave a review for all the authors you’ve ever even chuckled once or twice while reading their work. They’d love to hear from you, especially after the long-haul it took to get to you in the first place.
Besides, whenever you get your book out there, the universe rewards good karma! :3
Good feels all around!