The plan is that applicants show up (in California?) or send a rep - pay 100 USD and get a number in the lottery.
ICANN will then process the application in that order (IDNs do go first, though) with a pace of 20 new gTLDs per week - beginning right after the ICANN meeting in Beijing in April 2013.
I am sure this will create an interesting debate at the ICANN meeting in Toronto next week. If you cannot make to Toronto, now you have to plan for a lottery tour (why not toVegas?) in December, you can comment on the drawing proposal here