And finally, as promised on Wednesday, Part Three in my Three-Part Series on Riding the Gravy Train to Fame, Fortune, and a Lifetime of Neuroses by Becoming a Best-Selling Author. It's probably in your best-interests to ignore most of this, because as I mentioned on Wednesday, my book isn't even out yet. So what do I know? But let's continue:
Step EIGHT: The magical day has arrived! An agent wants to sell your book. Unfortunately, in the course of your research, you’ve learned that he is a former felon and can’t even vote in 13 states. He also has several pending lawsuits against him and wants you to pay him $5,000 for a detailed critique. Despite this, consider signing his contract anyway. In a fit of reason, tear up the contract. Feel relieved when you learn he has been sentenced to prison for tax evasion, fraud, and first-degree murder. He is now out of your hair.
Step NINE: An even more magical day arrives! A reputable agent claims to love your book and wants to represent you. Manage to work your elation into a fit of neurotic panic. Grow convinced that friends and foes alike will now eye you with suspicion. It’s hard to be successful.
Step TEN: Fall on the floor and clutch your heart, because your agent has managed to interest not one, not two, but as many as three editors in your book! Enlarge the front door so your head can fit through. Scream loudly and often.
Step ELEVEN: The offer comes. You sign a contract. It is for less than you imagined, but it will be enough to do some remodeling. You can not quit your day job, but this is okay because this entire experience may give you a heart condition, and it’s good to have health coverage.
Step TWELVE: Begin obsessing about promotion. Have your author photo taken and feel self-conscious about your muffin-top the whole time. Based on your editor’s suggestions, make many changes to the manuscript. Realize that your first version contained some pretty gagtastic scenes that contributed nothing to the overall story. Feel relieved that despite this, people saw potential in you.
Step THIRTEEN: Learn your editor is changing publishing houses and realize that you are this close to becoming what you’ve read about in the how-to books, what you’ve heard spoken of in hushed tones at conferences: an orphaned author.
Step FOURTEEN: Something swoops in to save the day. This something is the wonderful agent you signed with. Send her and her assistant handmade soap and chocolate for Christmas.
Step FIFTEEN: Begin fielding questions about how to publish a book. Answer with confidence, though you are an expert on nothing. Grow comfortable with public speaking if “grow comfortable” = learn to suppress a jackrabbit heart, red face, sweaty pits, and sheer terror when the situation demands.
Step SIXTEEN: Somehow, you’re moving with your editor to her new home. Nearly vomit with relief. Your book won’t be released for another 16 months, but feel dim relief because that equals 16 more months during which you won’t have to speak in public. It also means 16 months in which your book hasn’t yet received any scathing criticism from reviewers and readers.
Step SEVENTEEN: Start writing the next book. Continue reading and taking notes on funny things friends and family say. Blog about people for cheap laughs, but get permission first. Don’t blog about your spouse much because you don’t want to lose half your stuff. Or your spouse, of course. They've been a saint to put up with you through all of this, and that kind of tolerance is hard to find.
Some of this is true, much of it is not. I don’t yet know the next steps in the process, so I’m stopping here for now. I left out the part about building a solid portfolio of magazine features, articles, short stories, poetry, or other related writing, because this post is about the fast-track to success, and nobody wants to hear the hard-work one. Also, I left out the part about writing contests because I got bored with my own post.
Disclaimer: book publishing experiences may vary. Riley’s Ramblings assumes no responsibility for fits of rage, panic, annoyance, or despair that result from reading this. Void in Delaware.