Since I have finished the first book, a lot of people have asked me “So… what happens next?” or “When will it be a real book?” which are both really good questions, that require a really long-winded answer.
The short answer is A.) I try to find an agent, and B.) Hopefully sometime while I am still living, but there are no guarantees.
So let me explain a little bit about where I am at, right now. I began the first book in the Auran Cycle last January. The first draft was completed in March, and then I edited it about six times. Some of those drafts were just touch up drafts, but several were total re-writes. The thing that I did not fully understand about writing a novel, until I had done so, was that when you pull on one tiny storyline thread, it ripples through the entire book (and in my case, sometimes into the next one, too). Thus, lots of rewriting. Truth be told, I don’t know if I’ll ever be done rewriting, until it is officially published, but for now, I am calling it “Finished” with an asterisk.
So, as I was writing, I had a few trusted readers that read various drafts. They told me the areas where I was missing information, or didn’t have enough conflict, or talked too much about Lillia’s hair. They pointed out continuity errors and giant plot holes. They were, in a word, invaluable.
Now that book one is FINISHED*, my next job is to find a literary agent. Which honestly, is a lot more intimidating than it sounds. To do so, I send out query letters, presenting my book and asking if they would be interested in representing the novel. This means that I basically have to boil down 400+ pages of character and storyline and world into about a page. Some agents will look at five or ten pages of manuscript, but more often than not, I have one page to convince them that they WANT to read this book.
So, I send out queries, and I wait. Thus far, I’ve gotten lots of rejection letters, BUT I’m still feeling optimistic. Every author gets rejected. JK Rowling got rejected. (Not that I am comparing myself to her, because, well… that’s crazytalk.)
The point is, this isn’t a career path for with thin-skinned. But the cool thing is that even my rejection letters have been really positive, and my exceptional beta-readers helped to prepare me for constructive criticism. I am currently taking a brief respite from querying, due to the holidays, but come January 2nd, I’ll be back at it.
And you know what? 2014 is definitely going to be Lillia’s year.