For historians who research, write, and publish, the entire process can take years. First you think of a topic. Then you poke around to find out what’s been done and what’s still left to do. You figure out what you can bring to it that will be fresh and interesting and that will matter.
Then you research and you start writing. Somewhere along the way you start talking to people about what you’re working on. You get advice (some good, some not so much), you get encouragement (some enthusiastic, some not so much).
You keep writing. Then you ask people you know and trust for feedback. You rethink, you revise.
You keep writing. Then you have a finished manuscript and it’s time to find a publisher.
I love success stories. My current favorite is Megan Kate Nelson’s. You should read her wonderful article about how she secured her book contract. And not to take any drama away from her story, there was bidding involved. Bidding! That’s one of the things that puts the cherry on the top of the years-long effort to write a book–more than one publisher wants the book and they are willing to pay a steep price to get it.
So, with eyes on the prize, I continue to work on my book proposal.