1. The first page – Face it, baby steps. Even Stephen King at some point had to sit down, scribble his very first story (in crayon I’m sure with eight year old hands) and chances are, it sucked and no one ever read it except his mom, but it was a start. By the way, things your mom like about you isn’t something to crow about. Your mom likes everything about you…unless you’re a jerk. My singing voice…not as good as Mom told me. Simon and Randy had to tell me the God awful truth. I hate you Simon! No one ever won a race if they didn’t line up at the starting line. I would say this step is at the same time the easiest and hardest part to being a writer. I would venture a guess that the vast vast majority of people who consider writing as a profession or hobby fail at this point.
2. Finishing their first book – I’m going to use the term “finish” loosely. Technically, a book can always be improved upon, so let’s keep finishing in relative terms to the initial draft, be it 50k words or 100k. Er…or in my first attempt, 206k. Meh, who’s counting anyway? Obviously, people who publish count. Do you know how many trees that kills? We can’t all be Victor Fugging 2k pages Hugo.
3. Get an Agent – Sounds hard? Yeah it is. It’s hard as shit! I always said that it’s easier to be in a movie than it is to get published. By the way – Go rent Fred Claus. I get like half a penny every time you rent it! And if you watch carefully, you’ll see me for half a second as the banzai chef in the restaurant. I cut myself and bled for your entertainment in that movie. No really. It hurt.
It’s definitely easier to break into a film/commercial acting career than it is to get a literary agent. It’s easier to get into a movie than get a book published. Trust me. I know. The publishing business is a bit antiquated in its processes. Some agents still refuse to accept queries through email. I read somewhere that a good manuscript has less than a five percent chance of being picked up by an agent. I don’t know if that’s true. A good manuscript should always find a home. But then, I know several authors with whose great manuscripts still need a home. Agents just have so much shit to wade through. And the rejections. Man…don’t even get me started with that. It’s a cruel business for sure.
4. The deal – Your agent sells your book to a publisher and you officially become an author, someone that is paid to write a book. It’s the Holy Grail and lifelong dream for many writers. I’m not going to go into the self-publish/traditional publishing argument. They both are valid, but for now, I’m referring to traditional publishing.
So today, I hit a milestone. Milestone #3 to be exactly. This morning, after a long fascinating conversation, I signed with Russell Galen of Scovil Galen & Ghosh. I. Am. Terrified. I grew up on Russell’s authors. He was the agent for Phillip K. Dick (Minority Report, Bladerunner, Total Recall, Adjustment Bureau), Terry Goodkind, James Rollin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Mercedes Lackey and many more. His agency was also the representative of Arthur C. Clarke (2001/2010 Space Odyssey) It was a veritable pantheon of what occupied my bookshelf at home and the reason why I never dated in High School. Well, other than the fact that I was a pimply moron back then — wait wait — I’ve just been informed that the pimples are gone but everything else stayed the same. You can see Russell’s sample of work here.
So how do I feel?
And a little bit of tha….oh wait. Where that come from? Hey, what’s up, girl?
But mostly I’m this. Yeah. I am fucking entertained!
For geeks like me, this is rarefied air. Kind of like when Beliebers swoon over Justin, or when Hansel walks down the runway (That Hansel. So hot right now. Hansel), I swoon over fantastic worlds and thrillers and epic stories. I’m not going to scream like a little girl. Well, actually, I did a little in the privacy of my own home. Still, I am happy to have signed with Russell to represent me in my literary career moving forward. We’re going to builds worlds together!
And at the end of the night, I allow myself a small present: my special occasion bottle of Macallan 17 with a touch of ice…ie…one ice cube. Why one ice cube? Because I’m not man enough to drink it neat.