Thursday, September 4, 2008

Road to Publication: what happens after the contract is signed.

A quick-match tale of unexpected love . . . A fuse that burned rapidly

Surrender the Wind

In bookstores ~ Autumn 2009

I posted the following in Stepping Stones Magazine for Writers to garnish the September issue.

When you set your feet upon a path and begin walking, you might encounter a few trip hazards along the way. You might encounter a road block or two, or a fork in the road. The road to publication is not easy. But if you want it, you'll have to get up when you trip and dust yourself off. You will have to figure out a way around the road blocks, and choose the right direction you should turn. In oth
er words, the key to publication is persistence. Don't sit down on the side of the road for long and weep. Get up and keep moving; sprint toward the tape.

For some writers the journey may
be brief, for others long. It doesn't matter the time it takes. What matters is reaching your goal, and you have to be committed to reaching it, no matter how old you might get, or how arthritic your fingers become after years of pounding away on a keyboard. One of my goals with Stepping Stones Magazine is to encourage and equip writers, especially those starting out and the not yet published.

You find plenty of information in books and online about writing, about the submission process, etc. But there is little about what happens after you sign on the dotted line. I recently asked a group of published authors to share their experience of what happened after they signed their contracts...what stages they went through up to the release date and beyond. Here are their answers.


Rita, I'd be happy to go through the publication process after the contract is signed.

1. contract is signed. You agree on a deadline for the manuscript to be turned in. You will receive part (usually half) of the advance. (this is an agreed upon amount of money your publisher is paying for your book)
2. Now, you must write and write well! And make your deadline.
3. Publisher designs the cover or hires someone to design the cover and they will send it to you for your opinion. In my case, I don't have much say over it except to make minor changes. If I really hate it, I'll tell them, but unless they agree, they pretty much use whatever cover they want.
4. On or before your deadline, you turn in the manuscript. (For me, it's already been through my critique group and a freelance editor I hire to look it over. The deadline is usually 6-9 months before the book release. (You get the other half of the advance)
5. Your publisher will submit your manuscript to either an in-house editor or they will hire someone to do a line by line detailed edit of your book. This is not only grammar and punctuation, but plot, characters, tension, historical detail, .... anything that stops them. They are not your enemy. (You have to keep saying this to yourself) Their job is to make your novel the best it can be. They will work with you to "fix" your manuscript. This process could take days or weeks.
6. After the editorial changes are done, I'm told my manuscript gets read by several more people at the publisher. Any further changes are made at that time. A couple months before release I get the galleys, which is a printed form of my book just as it will appear when it is packaged as a novel. This is my last chance to read the whole thing offer and make an "minor" changes.
7. One month before release, I give my publisher a list of influencers who are willing to read my book and if they like it, tell others about it. My publisher will send advanced reader copies out to these people. At this time, ARCs also go to online reviewers, magazines, and other book reviewers. Publisher weekly, etc....
8. Two weeks before release, I will get my "free" author copies in the mail. How many copies that is, depends on your publisher. At this time, I begin my personal marketing. I have contests on my blog, I do blog tours, interviews..etc... give free copies to my local bookstores, church library... book clubs..etc.
9. Some publishers will do their own marketing for your book. They will put ads in magazines, send news releases out to bookstores, etc.. Some have their own in-house publicists and some hire an outside one. Depending on how much they do, you may have radio interviews set up, or book signing tours... etc..
10. The book release date arrives. You wake up, expecting fireworks and parades in your honor, but then your kid asks where breakfast is and your cat throws up on the carpet, and you realize that was only a dream. But really, nothing new happens.
11. At this point, I'm usually onto the next book, but I may get an occasional interview (online or radio) or someone wanting to help promote me on their blog... but it is usually pretty quiet. I may get some reader mail from people who are reading my book, and there may be some reviews that show up on Amazon or, but my work is really done, unless I have a book signing or something my publicist has set up.

Okay, that's all I can think of.. I've written it fast... so it may not be thorough, and I'm sure other authors have had different experiences, but feel free to ask me anything else...
MaryLu Tyndall:


From author Terri Kraus:
One other step that may or may not be included: Endorsements. The
publisher asks you to send endorsement requests to people in the industry. Once you have a list of possible endorsers, the publisher sends a galley out to them, with a deadline on when they must have the book read and their endorsement submitted.

1 comment:

Chiron said...

Great post, Rita!