Things I Wish I Had Known Before Signing With That Agent (AKA mostly everything I knew about publishing was wrong)
A simple, down ‘n dirty list:
1) No one you know will comprehend what just happened to you (ie getting that agent, signing that contract with that agency), and as such no one you know will share your enthusiasm, or understand your sudden, “kinda creepy” effervescence. I was lucky enough to know a few editors and published authors who know how ‘the biz’ works, and from these folks I got the most awesome of hugs and well-wishes, but everyone else got real bored when I told them I can’t quit my day job yet. (I DID know that I could not quit my day job, but if you’ve read any of my past entries you know I probably won’t anyway because I’m probably a wee masochistic)
2) Speaking of, you have to explain to ALL of these people what’s going to happen next. Takes away some of that effervescence, explaining how long it takes to get your book on the shelf in your favorite bookstore, and how you’ll likely not make much money off it anytime soon. Which brings me to
3) Best case scenario, if an editor at a publishing house likes your stuff, you’ll maybe see half your cash money advance on signing which the publishing house takes 6 months plus to draft your contract. (NO ONE understands why this takes so long. I am a practical person, and to me it SHOULD be as simple as USING A SIMILAR CONTRACT but there are likely nuances I do not understand and this is why I write books and not contracts. However. I have asked MANY PEOPLE. They all give me the equivalent of a shrug emoji.) You’ll see the other half maybe when it gets published. Which brings me to my next point which is
4) Don’t quit your day job because at this point none of your stuff has been sold yet and you still have to pay rent, and also
5) You will be asked to write your own author bio which is equal parts terrifying and exhilarating and weird that you have to refer to yourself in the third person and
6) You will be asked “what else are you working on” by said agent which makes sense, considering they like what you write enough to want to make the both of you money, so it stands to reason that they would like to represent more things that can bring you both money. Said agent needs to pay the rent too. If you’re smart, you’ll have multiple outlines with the first three chapters ready. If you’re like me, you’ll have 12 chapters of something your agent doesn’t represent, and a couple of viable ideas you came up with in the shower. But hey that can be set aside for the moment because finally
7) (I DID also know this but…) you’re working on a revision. Again. Because there are a few tweaks that need to be made and frankly, the fast as molasses speed at which the publishing industry works you really need your best work to be sent out.
No one will understand what just happened to you even though you’re finally allowed to leave the kiddie pool to swim with the adults, but it won’t matter anyway in the grand scheme of things because you still have to tweak and write. And quite honestly, it’s the best, most validating feeling in the world. But yes, adulting is hard. Did I mention I’m likely a wee masochistic?