Welcome to Part II in the Series! Feel free to jump back to Part I if you haven’t read it. Today we continue our journey of hacking and slashing our way through the process of the coveted publishing process a writer wades through. Have your flame retardant panties on? Good!
The Fourth Circle: Acceptance
Hold that manuscript up like you’re presenting a lion cub to the pride. Dance a jig! Ignore the spouse waving a dollar bill in your face for attention. It’s ‘you’ time! Hold on to that elation with two fists and a couple of toes. It truly is a great experience. It’s just the beginning, however, of a quest of mass proportions. I’m not going to wade through the short stories and whatnot. Most of those better be spot-on perfect because they get slapped in as soon as to sign the contract.
Once you’re out of breath, and on the floor trying to fend off your spouse’s insistence of giving you mouth to mouth to ‘save’ you, clear your mind because there’s a few things you want to make clear before signing the contract. Read it over carefully. Take an hour if you need to. What’s your take? Who is responsible for what? Are they charging you anything? Psst…if they are, RUN! Make sure you understand the terms and don’t hesitate to ask questions. Putting a shaky pen to paper and signing your soul to a publisher forever could be your own private level of Hell if you’re not careful. Fine print is everything. If it looks good, fill out all the paperwork and relax. Your bumpy ride has just begun.
The Fifth Circle: The Perfect Cover
This sometimes can make or break an author. We all have that vision of the perfect cover. Hell, I’ve stalked photo image sites looking for them and never seem to find that perfect one. I had a beautiful idea in my head for The Romance Novel Book Club. No way in hell, without a lot of money, was it even possible. If you haven’t notice, I don’t have a shit ton of money to work with and I certainly am not going to expect my publisher to go out on a limb and fork over a huge amount. I can honestly say I’ve never settled. I’ve liked every cover. Don’t throw a fit if the heroine’s lip color isn’t the shade of pink you wanted. Keep in mind that you want it to be eye-catching and look good thumbnail size. That’s how big they are on selling sites. What matters: Does it represent what you’re book is about? Will it catch the eye of the reader to get to the blurb of what the story is about? Give the cover artist a break and only give one element that’s important to see on the cover. That one thing that simply has to be there or you’ll faint. For me and The Romance Novel Book Club, the heroine had to have that cheeky smile. They got that spot on.
The Sixth Circle: #6 Editing and More Editing
Most companies should at least give you two rounds of editing. AT LEAST. You should have given them a pretty clean manuscript to begin with. I’ve had companies requesting a pre-edit before they’ll even hand it to the editor in charge of beating me with a virtual red pen. Don’t cry in the corner and blindly go through the line edits. I did that once and–to no fault of the editor–it’s an error nightmare. I let my pwecious wittle feewings get in the way of having the best damn book out there. Go through and take care of any changes the editor has for you, even if you don’t agree. Once the changes are made, leave them but go ahead and debate (NICELY!) why you had it that way with a comment bubble. It’s important to have a good relationship with your editor, especially if you plan on staying with a publisher. I get the same editor at Evernight and I love her to death.
You’re going to find mistakes that make you cringe and wonder how you missed it in the first place. No worries, it happens. Catching it is the best thing. Most edits, they give you two weeks on the first run through, one week on the second, and less for any others. Take your time and make sure you’ve nailed the door shut where you write to decrease distractions. Oh and headphones to muffle out those annoying “When’s dinner going to be ready” rants. 😉
My final segment is only a week away! Congratulations! You’ve almost made it through your personal hell. Soon you’ll be an old hat with this process.