Skip to content

Querying, submitting, and publishing: a series of hurdles

Here is an abbreviated list of hoops that a trade published book often jumps through (apologies to those for whom this familiar);

  • finishing
  • agent querying
  • pitch to publishers
  • request & first reads
  • second reads
  • acquisitions (itself a multi-stage process)
  • offer & contract negotiations

At every stage the book can die. For writing, it might never get finished. For querying, it likely won’t snag an agent. For pitching, it might get few or no requests (unlikely tbf). For first reads, it usually doesn’t make second reads. For sales/acquisitions, it may not pass for a multitude of reasons. For offers, everything can fall through at the last minute.

Most debut books go through this or very similar process to appear on a shelf, and having once appeared there, may not sell well or earn out their advance.

Most authors write multiple books before finding an agent. Many authors go through multiple submission rounds with more than one novel, sometimes having more than one agent, before securing a deal. And most career authors will scrape by on minimum wage.

If you are a woman, you might make 20% less than your male colleagues.


Some general stats if you aren’t bored yet;

Sooo appreciate your books when you buy them! They’ve been through a lot.

Some useful links I keep saved:

Published inArticles