As Grover from Sesame Street would say, “Oh! I am soooo excited!”
At last, this watched-pot of book publishing seems to be getting ready to boil. The Acquisitions Editor for Five Star Publishing sent the cover design to me last week, and I have been anxious to share it with you since. I hope you like it.
Some of my friends and acquaintances have been asking lately–in a very polite way–“where’s the book?” It starts a wonderful conversation on the publishing process and even though I’m a total newbie at this, lets me think it through too. Why the heck does it take so long to produce a book?
Here are some things I believe happen in the process (but don’t hold me to these as the absolute truth):
SUBMISSION & REVIEW – This “stage” is constantly happening. Who knows when the next best-selling author’s muse will wake up and inspire work? Authors work all the time to generate story ideas, blog posts, character sketches and more. When they finish a novel, they’re going to submit–whether it’s acquisition season or not. Many editors and agents are reading samples of hundreds of books a year in search of that special book they’re ready to get involved with. I can’t imagine them doing this on a schedule of any kind other than constantly reading.
ACQUISITION STAGE – I found out that a team of people at Five Star had reviewed my submission (meaning they had to have read the entire book–at least some of them) and accepted it as a sales-worthy product in February (several months after submission), but was asked to keep the news quiet until an official offer came up. That offer arrived in my inbox in March. After that, I received the official contract for my review, and that’s when the publishing clock began. Although the contract allows for 24-months to publication, publishers have no desire to go that long between and acquisition and getting the book out the door, so I was put on schedule to have the book release about one year later. Still seem like a long time? Read on.
EDITING — The editing process was a lot better than I thought it would be. I believed that editing was the big obstacle to publishing on a timely basis. Not so. I received my first set of edits at the beginning of June. As that is one of my busier months, they allowed a few extra days for my to respond to Alice’s work. She was thorough, but kind and that stage went well.
Then I had something called “line-editing” by Tracey, who went through the manuscript in a lot more detail. She kept me on track with the consistency issues that drive readers nuts, and made sure my grammar and punctuation were the best possible. Tracey was done by the end of September. At that point the book went to design.
DESIGN — I think this is a stage that many people don’t know well. I had sent “Ancillary Documents” way back in June, but I think the book people were working on the January releases at that time (Five Star launches twice a year from what I understand).
Ancillary Documents include my own stab at cover copy, my thoughts on what the book should look like, and a short author’s bio. While I think of myself as a “graphic designer” as well as writer, the team at Five Star took my suggestions and ran in their own direction with them. I believe this is to keep a consistency of look and feel for the publishing house, and, judging by last week’s email, I think they did a terrific job.
Next, I should receive something called ARCs — Advanced Reader Copies. Although Five Star will send some out to their contacts, I will also be responsible for getting these into the hands of public book reviewers. Do you know anyone I should consider sending to? I’d love to hear from you about this.
BOOK REVIEWS & PROMOTION — I think the people who do book reviews have tons of reading to do as well, so we need to give them plenty of time to look at a new book by a first time author before launch. I’m guessing that six months in advance lets the reviewers read the book and write their notes. This also gives me time to enter the book into competitions–another way to garner credentials and awareness.
With smaller publishers, there is no real budget for non-standard book promotions. That will be up to me. This is part of why I started this blog. As I learn more about what an author’s supposed to do, I’ll let you know (and may be asking for your help here).
LAUNCH — I still believe my book will launch in June. Not really sure what that is about, but I’ll keep you posted. Meanwhile, if you’d like to host an author signing, I hope you’ll use the contact page of this site and let me know. If I can get to your area next summer, I’ll be sure to do so, and work with you for a good event.
Meanwhile, I need to go back to the Submission and Review Stage, and get Sliced Vegetarian done. Now, where did I put my muse?
On A Somber Note …
Last week, the tragedy of Newtown reminded us all that murder is an unacceptable element in our communities. I write cozies more for the puzzle and the quirky characters than for the act of taking another human life. I hope one day that murder is only a fictitious event on the pages of books, and not the horrific reality that our society has come to accept as normal. Let’s all send our positive thoughts to the community in grief, and work together to solve this issue of violence in American society.