Done, finished, over with. Now, I just need to prepare the submission package and mail it out.

In case you’re wondering what submitting a book for publication looks like (hey, people have actually asked me, which is weird, cause not even *I* care), it looks like this.

1. Choose a publisher. This is easy if you’ve published before, because you need to offer your old publisher first dibs. If they don’t want it, you can send it, and all following books, anywhere you like. If you have an agent, you send it to him or her instead, and he or she decides where to send it. But occult nonfiction isn’t often agented, so I’m agentless.

2. Write a cover letter. Mine looks a bit like this: “I’m a writer, poet, and occultist living near Chicago.” My biggest question is always, do I mention I’m a professor as well? I am hesitant to do this, because it’s unethical to sell books based on one’s expertise in academia if those books have nothing to do with one’s expertise. For example, if I had a Ph.D. in, I don’t know, physical therapy, and tried to market myself as Dr. Patrick offering psychological advice to people, I’d be a liar and a fraud and probably rather wealthier than I am. Similarly, adding a Ph.D. to the end of your name and mentioning in the book that it stands for something stupid like “Practically Hilarious Druid” or something is also deeply dishonest. So the Ph.D. stays where it belongs: the classroom. Still, I do make cops call me “Doctor,” but that’s just because it’s fun.

3. Write a summary. This is a chapter by chapter rundown. I’m just cutting and pasting the last half of the introduction, for this.

4. Write a list of indexing terms. Here’s an archaic thing that some publishers still require. You go through the book quickly like a bunny, writing down all the terms that would appear in an index. This takes hours. You alphabetize the list, and send it with the book. When it arrives, it’s carefully separated from the submission package and used to wrap fish. No one ever mentions an index again, although the contract mentions that the author pays for it if anyone does.

5. Write a table of contents. Easy as pie.

6. Write a bit on the market. Point out that nothing like your book exists on the market (partially because most people probably know better than to try to write something like this), point out that you have skill and knowledge most people don’t (most of it involves stuff the book isn’t about, but that’s beside the point), mention that you are a great public speaker (I am, but even if you’re not, don’t worry about it — no one will ever ask you to speak), mention that you have various plans for promotion and would be glad to collaborate with your publicity guy. The publicity guy might even email you. But only once. Don’t worry about it: it’s part of the nature of the beast at every publishing house on Earth, as far as I can tell.

7. Mention that you maintain a blog and that it’s not quite as popular as those dancing babies were a few years ago, but is at least as popular as the guy who dresses up like Peter Pan. Actually, no, it’s not even that popular — and do you know how that makes me feel?

8. Wait about a year.


2 Responses to “Done!”

  1. So, does the baby have a name, yet?

  2. Yup. But there’s a good chance the publisher will have other suggestions, so I don’t want to announce the title until we’re all pretty sure what it’ll be.

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