How To Get A Book Deal in Ten Years or Less


So, a couple months ago I used YouTube’s
post feature to announce by way of a screen cap because it had to be a screen
cap because the announcement was behind a paywall
that I sold a novel to commercial fiction publisher St. Martin’s Press. Axiom’s End, a Stranger Things meets Arrival story set in an alternate 2000s
about a young woman who becomes the sole point of communication between humanity
and a hostile alien civilization. Okay and so for you smart asses who are
bagging on this, I did not write this. I honestly don’t know where they got
Stranger Things. Doesn’t take place in the 80s. It’s not even like you know
magical metaphysical stuff. Is it on brand? Yes. Is it too long? Probably.
Can I preorder it? Actually, you can. They got right on the ball. And I know what you’re
thinking, like oh another one of those you know, here I have been slaving away
at the Great American Novel for decades and another one of these youtubers just
has a book deal like foisted upon them. The influencers sit recumbent on the
chaise lounge and receive the offers. When, in reality, I have been working at this
for 10 f—ing years. Oh no, I don’t mean literally the same book for 10 years. It did not take
me ten years to write this–well, sort of. Anyway, we’ll get to that. And the truth
is yes, it is a lot easier for some people with bigger platforms to get book
deals than others, but that also depends on the type of book that they are
writing. In the case of youtubers and influencers, what publishers usually want
is like, you know: my life as a girl boss the book. Or: Hi I’m an Instagram model
the book. But I was like no, I like suffering.
I want to write novels. Better yet, of the science fiction variety. You know, the
science fiction. That…that biggest piece of the publishing pie.
Everybody loves it’s so in demand. It’s not. So, today I’m doing something a little
different in discussing how does one actually go about publishing a novel?
I’m going to demystify the process. Cause I know a lot of people that
subscribe to this channel are either creatives or aspiring creatives
themselves. You need to know what holy hell you’re getting into and decide… Can
I handle that many rejection letters? So how it works. If it’s your first time,
fiction and nonfiction are handled generally quite differently. Nonfiction
is generally sold on Proposal, meaning there will be between one and three
chapters of the book written, and also you’ll have like a bio and then like
some stuff about your platform and an outline of the book and you know a
section saying why I am the expert that should be writing this book. And with fiction, again for debut authors that aren’t famous, it needs to be done. The
book needs to be 100% written. Debut novels are very very rarely sold on
proposal. Outliers to the point of should not be counted. Yes, I know it happens but
it doesn’t happen very often. I mean a debut novel might be sold on proposal if
it’s by like a celebrity or you know it’s like a YA Adventure about like
beating the system written by a youtuber with more than ten million subs,
but you know, if that’s the case, they’re probably
hiring a ghostwriter anyway. I am obsessed with this shirt I got by the
by at the Pantages the other day. The CATS trailer has sent me spiraling into a
severe Andrew Lloyd Webber relapse this fall. Anyway, yes there are famous people
exceptions but in general debut novels are not sold on proposal. It needs to be
done. And by done I mean it needs to be edited it needs to be polished it needs
to have gone through several drafts and by the time you think you are ready to
go, you are wrong. Put that thing back in the drawer take it around the block a
few more times it still needs work. Trust me. You have to be able to look at this thing
and go, yes, I could see this going to print tomorrow. This is the level that
we’re at. The thing about writing especially something as, like, sprawling
as a novel, is that writers are actually not very good at judging the merits of
their own work. Shock, I know. When the truth is nine times out of ten, authors
think they are ready to go before they are ready to go. I know I was. We’ll get to that.
But now that you have written the thing, it is time for step two: Get a
literary agent. Arguably, the hardest step because this is the part in which the
odds are least in your favor. So you’ve submitted your query. You are now
in the slush pile, which is a very uncharitable name for unsolicited material because
most of it is detritus. Yes, there was a time when authors submitted
directly to publishers and they did not need a literary agent. We call those
times the 1970s. Yes there are some exceptions, but for your purposes, if
you want to get published with a major publisher and most small presses and a
huge chunk of indie presses too, you need a literary agent. They won’t even look at
you if you don’t have one. And while we are here, no you do not pay your literary
agent before you sell your book. They take a cut after they sell your book. If
there is an “agent” saying that you need to pay them upfront, they’re not an agent.
They’re lying. It’s a scam. Run away. So what does a literary agent do? Are they
anything other than a glorified filter that exists to separate the rabble from
the publisher so the publisher doesn’t have to waste their precious time and
resources anymore? Well… See, here’s the thing. You are a special flower, an
artiste floating along on the winds of inspiration. You don’t understand
contracts. The publishing industry is labyrinthine and complicated and it has
a culture that you do not understand. I know I don’t. On top of that, contracts have gotten a
lot more complicated since the 1970s Mine, for instance, was pretty
boilerplate and it still took two months between selling the book and signing the
thing. And that was pretty quick turnaround. On top of that, agents also negotiate
royalty rates and advances for you and also advise on what you should ask for
in your contract because they know what is standard and what is reasonable to
ask for and you don’t. But there is a creative element too. A lot of literary
agents will actually do a pass, do some edits with you before you actually go on
submission to publishers. They also act as sort of a go-between between you and
the publisher. You know, so they can like soak up the emotions if you have too
many. Cause it turns out you’re not supposed to yell at your publisher. They ask you how are you just have to say that you’re fine but you’re not really fine
you just can’t get into it because they would never So why are the odds not in
your favor at this stage? Well, it’s because of volume. It’s hard to find
exact stats on this. How many submissions any given literary agent gets per day. My
agent gets between 15 and 20 per day. So depending on the size of the agency, a
literary agent is going to get anywhere from several hundred to several thousand
queries per year. And depending on how much they are trying to build their list,
they may only take on a half a dozen or less. So I’m not saying you have less
than one in a thousand odds for your basic midlist literary agent. Actually, I am saying that. That brings us to step two point five, the query letter Okay so if you’re a novelist, you’re probably not very good at being concise, but the query
letter is basically a two paragraph, less than 250 word pitch. It’s basically the
copy you would read on the back of the book. It is designed to make the person
reading it be like, “Oh yeah, I want to throw down my $27.95 MSRP for that.”
It’s not a summary. You should not summarize. It is a pitch.
And it’s actually really hard to do well. A bard, a mage, and a rogue meet in a tavern
and then they hear of a quest. There’s a business centaur that owns a company and
he’s just he’s living his life until one day a plucky young virgin becomes his
secretary or something. And then, oh the pa– Yeah see I’m really good at this. So each literary agency
operates differently, but in general, the steps will be: query letter leads to
partial request, which means part of your manuscript, like first five chapters
or something. They like that, then they’ll ask for the whole manuscript. And if they
like that, then they will offer you representation. Generally, this process
will be protracted over several months unless you’re just that amazing.
Sometimes it can be really fast, but usually it’s not. Wow, you have an agent now!
Good for her. Hopefully your agent will help you out
on the creative front too because presumably they took on your project not
just because they thought they could sell it, but you know, because they like it.
And the level to which they will help you before you go on submission
to publishers varies a lot. Like it could be just like an email with like
hey maybe you should like brush this up or like you know, you use the word
basically too much. Or they could do like an entire line edit through your
manuscript. Depends on the agent. Next stop, book deal? Well, not so fast.
First we got to talk about who we are submitting to. Generally, an agent will
want to start with big five publishers because they are the ones with the money
and they are the ones with the best marketing and the widest distribution.
So what do I mean when I say Big Five? Well, basically they’re the biggest five but
also they are umbrella corporations effectively for many many many publishers.
The big five are Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, Hatchette, Macmillan, which is mine, and Harper Collins.
The way it works is at the top, we have the publishing house then
you have the publisher, then you have the imprint. And the imprint is where the
editor works. They are the one that’s specialized in whatever it is you are
trying to sell. For instance, my imprint is St. Martin’s Press, which is an
imprint of St. Martin’s Press, which is owned by Macmillan. Imprints specialize
in different things, so for instance you’ll have Tor Forge, which specializes
in sci-fi/fantasy. Love Swept will be HarperCollins… Is it HarperCollins?
No, it’s Random House. Well, anyway, it’s a romance imprint. St. Martin’s Press specializes in “commercial
fiction” which obviously can mean genre fiction, but you know a certain type.
Let’s just say I was rejected from more than one genre imprint for “not being
sci-fi enough.” It’s Arrival meets So Big Five publishers are
desirable not just because they are able to pay advances sometimes very big ones,
but also because they have much wider distribution. Generally, you’ll go on a
round of submission. You’ll see how that goes. Maybe it’ll sell on the first round, but if it doesn’t you probably want to do some
revisions before you go on round two. And then when you go on round two and it
doesn’t sell then, then maybe you want to start seriously considering smaller
presses or indie presses or self-publishing or trunking it.
And we’ll get to that. Okay, so let’s say you are on submission.
If there is more than one offer, then it goes to auction. And auctions are great.
They make you feel really popular but most of the time for debut authors
especially if they don’t have a big platform, this process will be protracted
over a period of several months. So while on the one hand there are an
ever-increasing number of options to get your book out there, traditional
publishing is actually more competitive than it has ever ever been. Yeah.
Especially for fiction. And that leads us to my monstrosity. Ten years, huh? “Ten years old!” That seems like…. sad. There is this expectation when you work in a new media
that people think that you’re gonna be like, you know what? I’m bucking the
system! Screw you gatekeepers. I got a do me! But no, no that is not what I wanted to do. So this is a story about traditional
publishing and rejection and all sorts of fun things. And why I never talked
about it till now. So let’s get this out of the way first.
There’s this sort of wrongish idea I see floating around that if you
have a platform of, you know, decently sized,
then you’re pretty much guaranteed a book deal. And no, wow, you know,
that’s not true. And I will find that people that even work in the industry
are surprised that like my platform didn’t get me something much sooner.
Which inevitably leads to these dipshits on reddit surmising that like well if
you can’t get a book deal despite those YouTube subs, well… woof. Which just kind of
reveals that these people don’t know how anything works. And that’s fine.
That’s why I’m here. Fundamentally, quality is secondary to where the market
is and what they think they can sell. Especially for fiction, a thing no one
should write. Okay so what did I mean by that? When I said this whole big nonsense
thing took ten years, what I mean is it was about ten years between my conscious
decision of yes I am going to pursue this thing–by this thing I mean
traditional publishing with a big five publisher–and it actually happening. Was the novel I sold the first novel I wrote? No. I’d argue that it
wasn’t even the second, but it was also kind of the first. It was the
first and–well anyway… So I joke a lot about fanfic, but the truth is fanfic is
actually really good practice and a good way to decide if that is something that
you want to pursue. And I joke about it a lot especially with the Phantom stuff,
but the truth is I was not terribly prolific until I was in college because
I had this narrative about myself that you know, I just don’t finish things… I’m
just–I just I don’t have the attention span. Too bad for me. I guess
I’m just gonna work in data collection for the rest of my life because I’m 22
and I don’t know anything. But then, thanks to the wonderful world of
fanfiction, I actually did start finishing some stuff. You know, it wasn’t
good, but I finished it. So again this was around the time that the you know
economy crashed and I went to grad school. So going into film and television
of course that’s where we’re going to start making serious attempts. Haha.
Because after all, there was no way in hell I was going to go into a creative
writing MFA on the strength of a few over-long fanfics. No. Going into debt
one of the most expensive film schools in the world during the worst recession
and living memory is a much better idea. But yeah, we’re at film school, it’s 2009,
part of the curriculum is let’s come up with some story ideas. There’s a class
called ideation. Oh, we had fun. So the first non-fanfic thing I wrote was this sad-sack attempt
at a Christian romance novel because I knew someone who worked at the Harlequin
imprint for Christian romance called Love Inspired, and this imprint was one
of the only imprints that was taking unagented authors, and I in my
infinite hubris was like, “Anyone can do that!” At least I got some practice in.
I did also write a full-length screenplay while I was at USC for a class, and no, it
will never see the light of day because it was quite bad. But then, I got an idea
in 2010 that was rooted in some items that were in the news at the time. Well,
how about that but with aliens? But no I did not start writing it then.
That did not happen until 2013, and I wrote the first draft in two months. It
was one Twilight long, because I measure everything in units of Twilight. This is
a Twilight. This book actually has really big print. It’s not that–it’s not that long.
That first draft was described by one person that I no longer speak to at the
time as “publishable,” which is probably a little bit of a red flag when the people
in your life don’t really have the heart to tell you that your word baby is a bit
of a yike. But I, in my infinite arrogance was like we’re off to the races.
I very wrongly assumed that my platform, which was much smaller than it is now,
would make me a catch. So even if the book wasn’t all that great, and sure as
hell was not ready, it didn’t matter. They’d help me fix it. I’ve got twenty
thousand Twitter followers. I think I might have done like one very minor
revision before I sent it to … like not very many agents I only think… I
only send it to a few, and one of whom I knew personally. Five thousand words to
very nicely say yikes. Which was good, because it finally
brought me down to reality and realize that like oh, actually maybe we should
take this a little more seriously. So I spent a few months on revisions and now
armed with, you know, a little bit of perspective, we tried round two. This time
I actually queried pretty widely. I got interest from about 30% of the agents I
queried, and then actually it happened rather
quickly. I got an offer of representation after about two, three months. And then I
had an agent. We did it. I hopped the hardest hurdle, right? So, what now? Well, we
revise it again. Substantially before we Go on submission. Submission round one.
Mostly big five and a couple of smaller publishers like Quirk Books. Generally a
round of submission will be between maybe 10 and 15 editors. And wow, that was
a lot of rejection. Like I got rejected so hard I don’t think I got like a
detailed rejection letter from anyone. And that whole rigmarole from start to
final “no thank” was about four months. So yeah. So what now? Well, we revise again.
Let’s try to figure out what was wrong. Another round of submissions. This time,
it was I think a few more, maybe fifteen. And this time, well, I got one or two
rejections that were quite detailed. See? Progress. One or two felt it wasn’t
“commercial enough.” The guy at HarperCollins thought I was “whip smart.”
But most people just “didn’t connect with the voice,” which is of course industry
speak for “I think you’re a shitty writer.” And here we are at the end of
2014. Two years of work and nothing to show for it. What now? You can go
downstream to smaller presses, which you know, might give you less money up front
but will still distribute as widely as any of the larger ones. Or you can go
indie or you can self publish. I mean that kind of makes sense. If you have a
platform already, self-publishing does mean you get to keep a much bigger cut
of the money that comes in for you. But there is a third option. We got us a
trunk novel. The trunk novel! Everyone has one. They don’t. So yeah. I could have self-published.
Even now, I get a lot of people asking me why I didn’t, because like, you know,
hey, there’s no shame in it. And also you’d make a lot more money with your
platform. And well, okay, first of all, I don’t know about that. I’m gonna I’m
gonna have to disagree with you there, part– And secondly I did not want to
self-publish. Like I self publish right here. Like this is what I’m doing.
That’s what YouTube is. All I do is self publish. But ultimately, the reason that I
trunked it was because I felt that the reason it wasn’t selling wasn’t
because the market was necessarily hostile to that sort of thing (which it
totally was), but because it wasn’t ready. And by extension, I was not ready. I had
not put in the work. I had not done the hours. And there are many people who
would call this flawed thinking. After all, publishing is very fickle, and they
always play it safe, and most of the time whenever you get a no from an agent or
publisher, it isn’t because they don’t like it, it’s because they don’t think
they can sell it. They don’t think it will move copies. Yeah, after my book
comes out we will…we can talk about the… the why it was a hard sell.
But the TLDR is it doesn’t really fit with any kind of publishing trends right
now. That’s it. That was actually simple. But at the end of the day, in my heart of
hearts, I knew trunk novel had major problems. Like you know, there were
definitely some contrivances. Some of it was really half-assed. It read like a
debut novel, which it was. So I put the book away. The book has been trunked.
Time to move on. Round 2. 2015/2016 we have moved on
completely. I get an idea for a new novel. Wholly unrelated to the first one. Same
genre. It doesn’t have aliens in it. I very naively thought that this one would
be more commercial despite the fact that it was still genre fiction, a thing
that no one should ever write. I very naively gave it the working title
“Commercial as F—” because I thought it would be. So I broke up with the first
literary agent. No hard feelings. Because surely I will have no problem
getting a literary agent that is more I don’t know… suited to what I’m going for.
I’m me. Huh. Looks like the lighting and setup has
slightly changed. It’s not totally because I filmed this on a different day. I still have two copies of John Scalzi’s The Consuming Fire, though. This one says happy birthday.
So I start writing “Commercial as F—” over late 2016 early
2017, and then I start querying “Commercial as F—” around mid 2017, and this one gets even less interest than the last time F—- really? This is supposed to be
commercial as f—! So yeah. I got a bunch of partial requests and a bunch of full
requests, but ultimately no offers. Asterisk. And a lot of the times it would
get rejected for reasons that would be like totally fixable. Like you know,
location or something. And it would be like oh well, I could revise that… okay.
And while we are here, the truth is these days, if your book needs a lot of
revision, or even not that much revision, agents probably aren’t going to be
interested in walking you through it. Although it does depend on the agent.
Your mileage may vary. But I did find one agent that was willing to work with it
and was really interested in fixing it. You know, “like the characters, like the
premise, but the ending is a little too bleak.” And I’m like, look it’s 2017. My
heroes are dead and my enemies are in power. What do you want? But point taken.
So she is willing to talk representation if I am able to revise the thing in a
way that she thinks can sell. But the problem is, I don’t really know how I
want to revise it. This is just where I’m at. So despite the extensive feedback
that this agent gives me, I sit on this thing for many months not quite knowing
how to fix it. But it is at this point in early 2018, a full three years after our
trunk novel has been trunked, that I go ahead and dig that one out ,maybe
thinking that will inspire me. And it is at this point that I remember what
interested me so much in that story in the first place. But it is also at this
point that the problems that had been plaguing the thing basically since its
inception become wildly obvious to me. Why is it so expository in the first
five chapters? Why is the entire third act like that? Why did I not do a
motivation better? And so trunk novel is where my inspiration goes not, “Commercial
as F—” So I start working on that instead. And what was supposed to be a
fairly modest rewrite with the intention of I guess, you know, getting the creative
juices flowing for the other one, ends up being like a complete overhaul. And by
the end of this rewrite, I have deleted about 60,000 words and written another
70,000. And so by the time I’m done with this (and this would have been about a
month after the Hobbit videos came out) I was like, hey look, a thing. I guess I have
two projects again. Sort of. And as far as I can see, trunk novel is the more
polished of the two, so why don’t we just tepidly see if there’s any interest
there. So once again, I very tepidly send out like, I don’t know, maybe ten query
letters and–No’s across the board. Okay, fine. This is clearly not meant to be.
Fine. And the flavors of the “no” are pretty much all variations on “Mmm I
don’t think I can sell that.” But here’s the thing, that revision actually did do
the thing it was intended to do, and it helps me figure out how I wanted to fix
the “bleak ending” of “Commercial as F—” So you know what? Working on trunk novel
wasn’t a total wash. So I’m working on that, and then I get an email from this
agent, telling me that she is leaving the agenting industry. Jesus Christ. All right, fine. Fine. I give
up. I give up. The end. Oh wait no, this is about like triumph or something.
Never give up. Except for I totally gave up. And this is where my #privilege comes in.
So it was almost around this exact time that this rando
in Brooklyn emails me like, “Hey, I’m a literary agent. Do you have one?”
And this was not the only thing that was going on in my life.
Like, if you watch the talk I did for XOXO 2019, which is on their YouTube
channel, this was around that time. So you know, my heroes are dead. My enemies are
in power. Not a great time. So he askes me if I have anything that I’d be willing
to share and I’m like, okay, which one do you want? Do you want “Commercial as F—”
or do you want trunk novel? And he says whichever one is more done. So trunk
novel it is. So basically, in very short order, he does pinpoint the issue with
why agents thought that they could not sell this. And one of these days, I might
talk about the issue, and no it wasn’t about like problematic content or gender
or anything. But it was very small and ultimately very fixable.
It was kind of on the level of like, hey, this takes place in Santa Monica. What if
it took place in San Diego instead? We’ll talk about it one day. So this dude (his
name is Christopher Hermelin, and he is part of a boutique agency in Brooklyn) he
signs me up. We do a round or two of revisions, and then we go on submission
the first week of January. That was on a Monday. I get my first phone call from an
editor on a Friday, and then after talking to a few more, ultimately it’s
sold in less than two weeks. Yep. Okay so, ultimately we come again full circle
with that question of why is my thing not selling? What is wrong with my
manuscript? Is it my manuscript that’s the problem or the market? And in my case,
it’s a little difficult to answer since I ultimately did sell to a commercial
imprint, and the book itself doesn’t really fall in line with any publishing
trends right now. So it does kind of remain to be seen just how much (if at
all) St. Martin’s gamble will pay off. Because that is kind of the reason that
agents are so bearish and they want things that are comparable to things
that I’ve already sold well. This, for the record, was mine.
Thank you, thank you for debuting at number one.
Readers are creatures of habit. They want things that are like the thing that
they’ve already read. So if I’m to come to a publisher with this book and
they’re like, “Okay, what is it about?” And I’m like, “I don’t know, it’s Independence
Day meets The Big Short. Mary Doria Russell’s Invader Zim?” I guess it’s kind of
fair for them to be like, “I don’t really care if it’s any good or not, I don’t
know if I could sell that.” The point here being is that it is honestly really
difficult to tell where the line in the sand is. Your work is not good enough and
the publisher/agent doesn’t think there is a market for it. So in conclusion, something something follow your dreams. I think it would have been
just as easy for me to be like, yeah I wrote a thing and it’s out now. And then
not, you know, cop to the ten years of… I guess failure is a strong word–struggle. And
then people will be like, “Wow! I guess you just magically did it on the first try!”
when in reality–no. Because it doesn’t do anyone any favors to act like even in a
position like mine, where I have a relatively large online platform, I
didn’t have to put in the work and go through a lot of rejection. But here is
what I have learned from the thing. Learning to write, learning to be a
novelist, and the publishing industry in general is incredibly incredibly slow-
going. So you have to be incredibly patient. And looking back, the best choice
I made in the whole thing was choosing to trunk that novel in 2014. So the fact
that I was able to get in another five years of writing experience actually
helped the thing get to a level where it could sell to a major publisher and
hopefully will be, you know, not hated by a plurality of you. So in some ways, I
think fiction is more difficult to publish than nonfiction because it’s
harder to really gauge demand for. But that is not to say that nonfiction is
easier. It’s just different. But a lot of people’s success really is owed to luck
and timing. These people that you hear of that get these like debut novels with
six-figure advances, and you know, they tend to be YA…
they hit at the right point in the right genre, but they also tend to be
outliers. For instance, if you were querying a YA dystopia in 2009, you’re
probably going to get different results from querying the same book in 2019.
Few years ago, author Jim C. Heinz did a survey of traditionally-published
authors to see how long it actually took them to get published, and the average
length of time was…drumroll…11 years. So what does that mean for this channel?
Is this going to turn into this shameless self-promotion channel?
Well no, not yet. I mean in six months it will. But I do imagine that this has shed some light on why
this channel hasn’t been as prolific as it has been in years past. And one more
thing with regard to pre-orders–and this applies to pretty much all traditionally-
published authors–is if you want to support an author, and you plan on buying
the book anyway, pre-orders are a great way to do that because it helps the
publisher decide where they are going to end up, you know, spending their resources.
Who gets the marketing, who gets to go on a book tour. Pre-orders are basically
their barometer to, you know, who gives a shit. So if you want to pre-order American
Three-body Problem for Girls, the link is in the description. It is available in
hardcover and Kindle right now. I guess the paperback will be like, I don’t know,
six months or a year after that. And yeah, this won’t be the last video of this
kind. I will probably be doing a lot more process/publishing industry-type
stuff in the months and years to come. Although yes, don’t worry, we will still
be doing traditional video essay type stuff too. So yeah, I know
everybody can’t wait for this youtuber book. This should be…this should be an
interesting journey that we can all go on together. Hope this was some help and
if it wasn’t, well, hope at least it was entertaining to watch. This is gonna be a long year.
Happy end of the decade everybody!

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100 thoughts on “How To Get A Book Deal in Ten Years or Less”

  1. Tristan Moore says:

    Thank you Lindsay I listened to this while throwing up in the shower and it was very helpful

  2. Anthony Lopez says:

    This is discouraging.

  3. Kate J says:

    this is somehow simultaneously soul-crushingly depressing that it took 10 years but also uplifting because clearly hard work can get you results

  4. David J. McGee says:

    What I got out of this was a great new answer for when people ask me how I am: "My heroes are dead and my enemies are in power."

  5. Inkimetronic says:

    what is the mecha book?

  6. Andrew Jara says:

    I made a movie when I got out of college in 2012, it got released two years ago on streaming, got picked up by a bigger distributor after now and just got released on dvd/blu ray this year. It takes so much time! Good for you for publishing. The idea that this stuff is so easy is crazy to me but I think it's worth it.

  7. Michael Crockis says:

    Welcome back, Lindsay!

  8. ayanna says:

    First of all: Congratulations on getting published! I've been following you since your Nostalgia Chick days, and it's amazing to see you get to this point. Big ups to you!

    Secondly: I love this video. I've been writing since forever. I made the decision to become a novelist when I was around 13, and I'm 22 now. Been working on my main manuscript for 3 years and It's pretty much unrecognizable than when I started it back in 2016. I honestly believe that work changes with you. Back in 2016, I thought I had a great story, but as I became an adult, I changed and so did the story and it's much better for it. As you very well know, the writing process is no joke and finishing stuff can be taxing, but patience is a virtue with all forms of creation. I guess it's a good thing that I've been involved with writing for so long, because most of what you talked about I've been expecting. Especially the rejection letters XD.

  9. Max Xam says:

    Can I Order it in Italy?

  10. Oskar Finnevidsson says:

    Whait did you just create fifty shades of hay at 7:50 ?

  11. senefelder says:

    Is the young woman the aliens talk to based on you?

  12. Elephant Trunk says:

    How can I pre-order for a european benelux country without huge shipping costs?

  13. MountCeleste says:

    "The influencers sit recumbent on their chaise lounge and receive the offers" We all know you make no secret of your love of Contrapoints, but I still caught that Lindsay!

  14. Crossed Wires says:

    Good for you! 🙂

  15. Daniel Alexander says:

    I hope there will be an audiobook version.

  16. Loli-Pop says:

    Thank you (times like a billion) for making this video. Hearing realistically how someone goes through this whole process even with all the failures is so inspiring. I'm not trying to publish a novel but a comic book which feels significantly easier since it only takes a month to write a chapter (I only need 1 chapter). I've been rejected 5 times now and from many people's stories that's not enough to give up. I even had one publisher laugh while he read my comedy and told me it was good but the ending wasn't enticing and that he believed I was capable. tbh I still don't know how to write a good ending to a chapter, but I know that all the failures will help me figure that out. Thank you for reminding me that failure isn't the end! 🙂

  17. C says:

    And after all that, you will still never sell anywhere near as good as "50 shades of gray" a literal Twilight fanfiction that works as softcore porn.

    Being a writer seems to be very depressing.

  18. ColinTedford says:

    A wild reference to The Business Centaur's Virgin Temp by Jenny Trout appears!

  19. havva says:

    Or you can start by writting a one direction fanfiction on wattpad and one day it might be published and even better, a movie

  20. GrubStLodger says:

    I'm about to float my own trunk novel and it's nice to see all my delusions, disappointments and half-successes reflected to me in the video.

  21. trbickmore says:

    Very happy to see the best Gundam manga on your shelf there.

  22. ReJ3kt Studios says:

    I spent a lot more time than I should have figuring out what books she had on her shelfs. Turns out Lindsey owns a copy of the Mobile Suit Gundam manga. Good taste, I’ll buy her book for that.

  23. UnionShen says:

    Thank you!

  24. Aaron Levitz says:

    Pre-ordered on Kindle, where I can at least make the text really big.

    If you publish in audiobook format, I'll probably buy it on Audible and ignore this copy.

    (My eyes are not great.)

  25. Lu na says:

    I wish you were a bit more enthusiastic about self-promotion. This is great news!! I know you hate that type of stuff, but after all this hard work, you deserve to revel in succeeding for a bit. I know I am excited! 🥰

  26. Katharine W says:

    Can I pre order from the UK?

  27. Ivar Schut says:

    If i see this kind of struggle i just think: Thank God, my dyslexia is so bad that I don't even think about writing a book.

    But I'm curious how you write, so that's another book sold 😀

  28. Rowan Fitton says:

    I think that bit about "if you think you're ready to go, you're not" is true of pretty much any creative field. I've been told by many different tutors that you basically have to have been looking at and working on your creation so much and for so long until you probably end up hating it. And then, it'll be just about acceptable to release to the public.

  29. Terence Caron says:

    Congratulations Lindsay ! Is it gonna be available in any european online store ?

  30. engineheart says:

    I see those Radch books peeking out of the corner 🙂

  31. MechIII says:

    This is by far the best and most enticing add I've ever seen.

  32. Let's Not Fight says:

    Abby Arcane?? Are they for real? That's like the worst name ever!

  33. Let's Not Fight says:

    I really gotta eat something

  34. n 2 says:

    we stan a published queen

  35. The Doctor says:

    I'd love to know your thoughts on the "Three Body Problem" books. Trade ya a pre-order for it?

  36. Clarissa Wild says:

    I have to disagree with you. I am an avid fan of your work, but as a self published author with over a million dollars in sales in 6 years time, I have to say this video feels condescending towards the self publishing route. I understand not wanting to do the work, which is quite a lot, but to also say the earnings will not be the same (or more) than as trad is not correct. I'm sure you could have earned the same with fiction, should you have gone this route. But this is truly a disappointing take.

  37. psammiad says:

    The worst thing about the publishing industry is fashion. Publishers both want to find something new which starts a new trend and they make a fortune on, but mainly they want to sell stuff that's like other stuff that's already been successful. So you could write a fantastic novel, but if it's not marketable and aligned with current market trends, no-one will bother. Writers think writing is art, when in fact publishing is a shallow, grubby, cut-throat industry dominated by celebrity ghost-written crap that no-one remembers in a few years' time but actually makes the majority of the cash.

  38. Ke Jiang says:

    “American Three Body Problem For Girls” by Lindsay !? Two of my favorite things into one. I’m sold! “美国三体妹子版” 买了 买了! Just ordered! I better start doing basic research on my literature skill before your book arrives earth next year.

  39. eye big says:

    Worse than rejection letters is not getting any answer at all…

  40. josan14basket says:

    Didn't she self-published Awoken ?

  41. The HolographicSweater says:

    uh well then just become a literary agent, then you can get 1million books published and you don’t even have to write it

  42. cyotee doge says:

    Maybe if you didn't delegate your fans and stopped thinking that any criticism of you is hatred.

  43. thatsrightjay says:

    Lindsey writes a book… could be Carmen Sandiego fan fiction for all I care… can’t hit preorder fast enough.

  44. Rua O'Neill says:

    I’m so fucken happy for you! And thanks for being honest about the struggle, I gre up thinking either something/someone was either good enough or not, but hearing all the details about the revisions and rejections and bad luck is actually very hopeful in a way.
    Also, I only recently watched your xoxo vid and I am so sorry you went through all that bullshit. I had no idea.

  45. Gillian Hutchinson says:

    Why'd you move Infinite Jest? I feel like there's an inside joke I missed

  46. Tigarooo says:

    A new Lindsay video is a great way to start the day.

  47. Iaterocks says:

    as a graphic designer, thank you so much for not cheaping out on the cover design xoxox

  48. Chad Bastardly says:

    "I got rejected so hard…"
    So, basically a protracted middle school.

  49. Vimoh's World says:

    Inspiring — ContraPoints

  50. Hanz Darm says:

    Will there be an aduiobook read by you?
    I would totaly buy that.

  51. Hamza Nadir says:

    You know what ?
    I'm just gonna write for myself. Probably submit it to wattpad and gain approximately 3 people as my fans. And i'm content with that

  52. sed anon says:

    Is it bad I want to see the adventures of Business Centaur and his Secretary?

  53. Thiago Abreu says:

    you're an AWESOME person!! <3 congrats on the work and the persistence!!

  54. Damien Cole says:

    You sound like you been drinking. Not a criticism. Most writers drink dont they

  55. Guilherme Souza says:

    This was very interesting to watch. I'm in the non-fiction branch (academia, engineering) and things on this side are way more clear-cut about what you can get away with, your dos and don'ts. At the same time, books are more of a end-of-career thing. Thanks for your perspective!

  56. Le Ortiz says:

    Lol, you have no enthusiasm for the publishing of your first book. Just like I have no enthusiasm for writing mine.

  57. Rowynn Blair says:

    Thank you for this. I'm digging into draft 2 on my novel. Memoir? Novel? Eh. I'm the manager of an indy bookstore so I have a vaaaaague familiarity with the publishing industry and this helped so much.

  58. Catnium says:

    Step1: Write a good book

  59. RainbowByt3s says:


  60. GottleOfGear says:

    just ordered it
    really need you to post up more to youtube
    i love your stuff

  61. kloggmonkey says:

    i know it's quite a different beast, but i've been working on a graphic novel for about three or four years now and the publishers i've shown it to haven't even granted me a response. it's getting really difficult to stay motivated knowing if it ever gets published i know it's too 'out there' for mainstream appeal so i won't make any money off of it, all the while managing a day job which sucks all the creativity out of me. i feel as if i've wasted four years of my life with a vanity project and i just want to do something completely different instead.
    how the hell do people stay motivated through such a process?

  62. iheartwalle says:

    Bless you for using your platform to explain how publishing actually works.
    Next do a video explaining the importance of indie bookstores and why people should support them!

  63. Jai Cilento I Love That Guy ʕ•ᴥ•ʔߛ ̋ says:

    ☼ stranger things meets arrival. jeeZus. glad i dont write my own reviews. ill wait for "my life as a female film critique on youtube – the book" . that has legs.

  64. Atlante Fou says:

    Very interesting video, it is always nice to leran how things (books included) are really done.

  65. Jacob DeCoursey says:

    "Can I handle that many rejection letters?"

    People who write short stories for literary magazines: "I was born in the dark…molded by it…"

  66. Animagyk says:

    The undivulged issue in all this: blind American commercialism.
    Remove this dimension and you have no problems. Does everything have to be hawked?

  67. Monika Tomaszuk says:

    It was interesting, and entertaining, and it broke my heart a little. It's great to hear that you've succeeded with your book, I'm very happy for you.

  68. Rocketfalls says:

    Fanfic writers are the ones who give fanfic the most shit tbh. And it's well deserved, except for one someone outside of fandom shits on it, at which case I get extremely protecttive

  69. Jai Cilento I Love That Guy ʕ•ᴥ•ʔߛ ̋ says:

    ☼ ill buy it just cause you wrote it. i assume there are a few of us in that boat. pre order. ok.

    should have self published and gone on a speaking tour. but then we wouldnt have this video. also i live in a basement.

  70. Emily K says:

    Pre-ordered 👍 I usually don't preorder books but a half an hour of recounting your tedious struggles to get this published kinda made me realize how much work goes into these things and how the least I can do is preorder if it helps ease the stress just a little bit

  71. Unlucky D3Player says:

    Mmmmh.. you know, whoever wrote your book's blurb isn't even trying. How about this for a rewrite of the first paragraph?

    "Cora's life is a confounded mess due to her whistleblower father. Not only has he plunged the US into turmoil by revealing that its government might have engaged in first contact with one well-timed leak, he has also redirected his unexpected celebrity status onto her. She wants no part of all this unwanted attention by the media. That's it until she learns how deeply entrenched her family is in the cover up of an alien presence that has been on Earth for decades…"

    Similar work could be done to the rest. Tell your publisher to have another go at it, because your book description hasn't really drawn my attention to it.

  72. Ed Walford says:

    Totally pre-ordered

  73. Chuker says:

    Lindsay Ellis is r63 for George Weidman

  74. Lyendith says:

    Eeh. I bought Elisa Hansen's book just out of curiosity (and because Dom Smith had reviewed it) and it ended up being one of my favorite reads of 2019, so who knows. I might try this out − I'm always a sucker for genre fiction.

    Anyway, you got a lot of negative answers, but at least you got answers. Nothing's worse than being flat out ignored and not knowing why. =[

  75. J. Tiberius Kirk says:

    The true test will be if you see a bunch of copies of your book with the black sharpie line on the top sitting on a table in those book discount clearance places.

  76. Joshua Fagan says:

    As someone who's spent five years going through this process (I've never gotten an agent, just a handful of full requests), I'd like to thank you for this, Lindsay. It gives me inspiration to keep going.

  77. ScriptWorthy says:

    I do not have the patience to be a writer, I once thought I did, but I for some reason can't bring myself to overhaul all the shitty writing ive done the past 10+ years haha, but I love supporting people that do! can't wait to read every word this summer :3

  78. Irene G. says:

    "inspiring" – contrapoints. Lmao

  79. Bimon1234567 says:

    sees thumbnail

  80. Perpetual Check says:

    30:20 well, technically I think the end of the decade is the end of next year. The Gregorian calendar doesn’t have a year 0, so all decades, centuries, and millenia start with a 1 on the end.🤓

  81. Alex McNaughton says:

    This video made me pre-order.

  82. The One and Only Michael McCormick says:

    Wait…you made fanfiction in college?

    Was that joke about a novel-length Starscream fanfiction NOT a joke?

  83. J H says:

    You have two copies of John Scalzi's The Consuming Fire. I should look into it if you think its so good you desired two copies.

  84. Kimberly says:

    Good to know that the academic publishing industry is only moderately better than the mass publishing industry. 2 years vs 10 years.

  85. FaeQueenCory says:

    "This channel has not been as prolific as in the past…"
    Girl. Quality over quantity.
    Death to the algorithm.

  86. MiriamClairify says:

    Preordered 🙂

  87. Andriana Ferguson says:

    It's scary how much your early thought process matches my own, but I am also 23 so here's to the arrogance of youth! Writing fan fiction is a great way to practice writing in general. Sure it's not publishable because its basically a second draft that has been reviewed by my two friends at 3 am but it gets me thinking of how to plot things out, what are my characters motivated by, how do I make a consistent magic system. It's good practice.

  88. Mad1Cow says:

    Thank you for sharing this story ^^ It was the kick up the arse I needed to start pursuing my own projects. Hopefully I'll have something sellable in 2021!
    <Heartfelt Laughter>
    <Transition into Hysterical Crying>

  89. Sebastian Sommer says:

    Speaking of the Green Brothers: Will you have some pre-orders signed? I would totally buy that, but judging from your videos and the books in the background, I will buy the book anyway.

  90. Capri-Omni says:

    I tried to write a middle-grade fantasy novel in the late '80s (before Harry Potter). I got my first rejection from an agent (most agents wouldn't even look at middle-fiction of any sort, much less fantasy) a week after my mother died of cancer… It kinda broke me, for a while…

    Congratulations on surviving the slog! (And it's good to know your upload pace slowed here for creative reasons, rather than falling deathly ill, or becoming homeless, or anything like that).

    [Pre-ordered the book, BTW. "Doesn't really go with any publishing trends right now" is what sold me]

  91. Cinder Block Studios says:

    A friend of mine sent me over here since I'm playing with the idea of sending my book out or self publishing it. I never wanted to, though. It was always for me, but some friends have convinced me to look beyond that. The thing is I really don't consider myself a writer, so short of writing a story that's all I have going for me. This video is really helpful though. Perhaps in the new year I'll start looking for an agent.

  92. Jackie Musto says:

    Just preordered! Cant wait to read it Lindsay. Thanks for sharing all that with us. Sounds like… a TIME.

  93. Hxarh says:

    Can I give this video two likes? Cause I watched it twice, and it was great both times! 😁

  94. damo agun says:

    I just resolved within myself to self-publish if I ever get around to finishing a novel. Is that not a healthy option for first time novelists? Of course, I know I'll very much have to hold on to my day job.

  95. Sam Aronow says:

    Sounds like nonfiction was the right call for me.

  96. Thomas Devine says:

    I hope it pans out.

  97. Mike Thieman Jr says:

    06:26 Bjork, is that you?

  98. Lee Korotash-Gullett says:

    Preordered, excited, congrats Lindsay 💘

  99. James Downs says:

    Can I get the book with the bleak ending? I ain't here for no flowers and sunshine. I'm here to bleed.

  100. Amylia Clenny says:

    Where are the Funyuns & drinks? I was gonna chow & party down with Lindsey's next video viewing.
    Feel like I got hyped up, buying Funyuns & drinks for nothing.

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