Monday, February 3, 2014

From Pen to Publisher . . . Part 3

Rebekah M., you probably never expected your post request would turn into a novel! Go HERE to begin the publishing journey. This is part 3 of 4 parts, in case you are wondering if this will ever end.

This is the "SLUSH PILE." Too many manuscripts to read!
No more past memories. No more hand-copied books! The publisher wants to see your story!

7. First of all, the editor does not want to see your entire story. Why not? See picture. If you get the go-ahead to send something in (that sweet editor from the expensive writers' conference told you to!) you send in a synopsis (summary of the story) and ONE sample chapter (always send in the first chapter.) "But what if my Chapter 2 is more interesting?" Answer: Make Chapter 2 your Chapter 1. End of discussion. If you can't hook the editor with your first few pages, let alone your first chapter, believe me, he is not going to skip ahead to the "good parts."

8. Fortunately for me, the editor liked what he read in the summary and asked for the entire manuscript. But that didn't mean they were going to publish it! No, not by a long shot. They had to read it and decide. This takes a long, long time. For me it took a FULL YEAR! The editor contacted me a couple of times and asked if I was willing to change some things (the answer to that is always a YES). I pretty much figured they'd dropped off the planet, and I was ready to move on, when . . .

Look over your contract carefully!
9. I got a contract! The excitement of this event cannot be overstated. It probably feels a lot like winning the lottery (or finding the lost ark). First you can't believe it. Then you scream. Then you email all your friends (and your mother) to share the good news. When you come down from Cloud Nine, you read the 7 or 8 pages and wonder what in the world they are talking about: Royalty rates, legalities ("You can have a contract lawyer look this over," the publisher told me.) Nah, I just had my author friend look it over. She said it looked fine. So I signed . . . before they changed their minds. And I sent the story via email. Back in 2003, I had sent the original in by hard copy the first time. I never did that again. 

10. Just when you think everything is going right, the editor starts marking up your manuscript. Wait. Didn't that mentor/author friend mark it up already? Yes. Now it's time for the official editing. Ouch. Usually two editors take turns. One looks for overall flaws (of which there are many), and later the other editor looks for mistakes (of which there are many). Together, along with the author, the story gets another beating . . . oops . . . revision. But it is worth it. I have wished I could go back and rewrite a couple parts in some of my published books, but I have NEVER wished the editors had left it alone. They get paid to make the book better. They want to SELL the thing, remember. They are very good at their job. And now they are my friends. But it still hurts. In fact, my 17th book manuscript, Thick as Thieves, just got a good beating last week. Oh, which reminds me . . . the book has been bumped to the next selling cycle. Instead of coming out next October, it is releasing next January. *big sigh*

11. Finally, the manuscript goes to what is called "layout." Here they make the manuscript look like the inside pages of a real book. It's a shivery feeling to see those pages. They come as hard copy, and this is the VERY LAST TIME anyone will ever touch the book. It is called the PROOFREAD. After this, the book heads for the printer.

12. In the meantime, other people at the publishing company have been working hard to create just the right cover. Most of you have probably seen the final Circle C Adventures covers. But I bet you've never seen the "almost" covers. Here they are. For one reason or another, these cover ideas were not chosen.  

Read Part 4!
I liked this one, but Kregel decided on the other.

Yikes! Taffy's head is sticking out of the house!

What do you think? :-)
I actually like this one better. Too late.

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  1. You're right, I had no idea my suggestion would generate a four post answer. :) But I'm enjoying it. And so glad I went the self-publish way. ;)

  2. Wow. That must take a lot of patience! I am currently working on one book that I give to my sister one page at a time, and am restarting my western mystery. But I haven't switched books! Thanks for that post on procrastination a few months back! It really helped!
    ~ JT

  3. Crackers! Who knew publishing a story could be soooooooo much work? :)
    I think if I ever publish my books, I'll go the self-publish way too. ;)

    1. There are advantages, but basically you are totally in charge and you have a limited audience to sell the book to. "Royalty" publishers are worldwide. I've had fans from South Africa email me before. That is fun! So, although it would be easier to self publish, the work is worth the wider distribution.

    2. But if you publish with CreateSpace your books can be available world wide. I've sold some of my books in Europe and my kindle books are available all over! True, it is more work to market them, but I like the self-publish way.

    3. Oh, yeah! That's true, Rebekah, but only through Amazon. A CBA book is available via CBD, LES, all bookstores, plus B&N, Borders, etc. Every outlet available, and through STL, etc.

      Query: Are Create Space/Amazon books available through STL, like when your brother buys books for his bookstore at the conferences. Could he get YOUR book via the traditional channels, and can other bookstores at the conventions get your books without going through you or Amazon (at distributor prices)?

      I'm wondering because if Kregel declines my CCA short-story collection, I'm going to do it myself. Just wanting to know my options. :-)

    4. Yes, my books are available to thousands of major online and offline bookstores and retailers as well as public libraries, elementary and secondary school libraries, and libraries at other academic institutions. All I have to do is click a button. The bookstores and libraries may not have my books in stock because they've never heard of me, but you can request that they order my books and they shouldn't have any problem getting them.
      So, my books are not just on Amazon. :) That's the biggest place I've sold them, but they are out there.

  4. I like the first cover!

  5. What are your covers for the Circle C Milestones going to look like?

    1. They are going to be GREAT! I have seen a draft for the first book, Thick as Thieves, but I'm not allowed to show it until closer to the time it's "announced" to the sales reps and put up on CBD. When I see the cover going up on CBD (probably this summer some time) then I can post it on the website and over here on the blog. But I LOVE it. I hope you will too. :-)


Let Andi know what you think!