Proposal Shock: Here’s A Stat to Curl Your Hair

By Holly Lisle

Just figured out that I have written over 140,000 original words in an effort to sell this book, plus perhaps one more. The book (or books) will be 100,000 words long.

That’s seven proposals averaging 4000 words long per, an average of five total rewrites per proposal, a couple of chapters for two of the proposals, the first hundred pages for a third proposal. In truth, I’m probably over 140,000 words at this point, but I didn’t want to guess higher than that, so I didn’t count the words for the chapters. I just figured them as filling out any underages on the total rewrites.

Do I usually go through this to sell a book? No. No no no no no. I’ve sold books on "Hey, you know what I’d like to write about?" I’ve sold books on a one-page e-mail. I’ve sold books on my editor calling me and saying, "I need a book."

This is special. This is, in fact, stunning and mind-blowing. I hope I have learned enough from the process of moving into a new genre with this series of proposals that I never have to go through this again, because along with being stunning and mind-blowing, it has been poverty-inducing and no fucking fun.

That said, I really like what I have on this new proposal. And doesn’t THAT sound familiar?

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