In case you missed last Tuesday's post (click here to read it), I walked you through a hypothetical scenario of getting your book submitted to an editor and how the editor got the publisher to make an offer. You're signed the contract and are going to be published! Congrats!
But what happens now?
Even though your manuscript was complete when you submitted it, you have a delivery date to officially turn it in and Tom asked for a few story changes in the contract, so you make those changes then go through the manuscript once more to make everything perfect. Once you officially turn it in, you have nothing to do but wait. You tell people you’re having a book published. You start writing another book. But you've got to wait your turn for Tom to get to you again, because remember, he’s a busy guy.
Eventually you get an email from the marketing director asking you to fill out a marketing information sheet. This asks for your author bio, how you'd describe your book, other possible titles, what you’d like on the cover, names of authors you’d like to get endorsements from, names and addresses of people you’d like to get a free copy of the book to review, names of your local newspapers and TV studios… things like that.
A few months later you get an email from Tom explaining that they’ve changed the title to The Crowl. You don’t love this, so you email your agent for help. Your agent gets involved, but in the end, the publisher is too excited about a tie-in with The Hobbit, so you lose out.
A month later you get an email with your cover art attached. Other than the title, you love it. Whew! At least you don’t have to complain again. You’re really trying to be an easy-going author.
A few weeks later the marketing people email you a link to a book trailer they made for your book. It's ah-some!
Then, while you're on your summer vacation and hop online at a computer in the hotel lobby, there is an email from Tom with your edits. He wants them back in two weeks, and you won’t be home for three more days! You shoot of a quick email to let him know where you are, then open the edits really quickly to see how they look. You see a lot of changes! This depresses you for the last three days of your vacation, but you get home and see that they’re not so bad after all. You spend all day, every day, of the next eleven days getting your edits done and turned in on time. Then you wait.
The edits go back and forth between you and Tom a few more times before you’re both happy with the manuscript. You don’t hear anything for a while until you get a PDF galley of the final book to read for mistakes. This file looks like a book! Your name is at the top of every even page and the title is at the top of ever odd page. You ask your critique partner and your best friend to read the PDF too, make a list of the typos you all find, and email it back to Tom.
Then one day you receive a package with an advanced reader copy inside! It’s your book! It’s beautiful. You laugh and cry and dance and show everyone in town.
You start to get emails from the publicist, who forwards you reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, School Library Journal, Kirkus, VOYA, and, if you’re lucky, an endorsement for a well-known author. The reviews are mixed. Some love the book. A few hate it.
Meanwhile, you've been trying to learn the ropes of self-promotion and have set up a release day book signing at your local Barnes and Noble. You've invited all your friends and family. You get a box with your author copies of the final book and you have your friend video tape the moment and post it to Facebook. That night you sleep with a copy of your book on your pillow.
Your book is now showing up for pre-order on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and other online retailers! You pre-order a copy from every store, just for fun.
Release day arrives! The book goes live online and you spend the morning watching the Amazon rankings go up, hoping that everyone who promised to buy a copy will. That night you head over to your book release signing. Your friends and family are there to support you. Your mom buys ten copies. Your family and friends all buy one, but you’re most excited about the three people who were actual customers who walked by, asked what all the excitement was about, and bought a book. You’re hoping they’ll become fans and buy book two when it comes out!
So there you have it. Pretty cool, huh? All this takes about a year and a half from submission to the book being available in stores. And that’s much faster than it used to be. Still, if you’d taken a year or two to write that book, to rewrite it over and over, to edit it, find your agent, then work on the book with your agent, we’re talking three years of work with no pay. You've got to really love writing to put in that kind of effort.
So what do you think? I'm going to talk a little more about advances on Friday.