Realities of Being Published: Lesson Two
Someone juggling would have been a better picture, I suppose, but when I'm hiking, I always end up in the water in the above situation. I apparently have poor balance.
In my first post in this series, where I talked about working with agents and editors, I listed for you what I envisioned publication being like. This was my list:
- I would have a story idea.
- I would write this story.
- I would send it to my editor.
- She would love it. (My future editor was always a woman. Not sure why.)
- My publishing house would send me a check. (Or maybe I would stop by and pick it up, since I, of course, lived in New York City.)
- I would have another story idea.
- I would write this story.
- And so forth.
That list is laughably simple. Even if we ignore all the other responsibilities of being a novelist - blogging, networking, marketing, critiquing for friends who are nice enough to critique for you too, staying up-to-date on the current market, and many, many more - this list is still way too simple.
When I was contracted for The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt series, my publisher wanted the books to release within 4 months of each other. Eager to please, I said, "Sure! Not a problem!" Because I didn't know what all my publishing house was going to need from me, or how much time marketing should take up. I was very naive. You, fortunately, won't be because you'll have read this.
It never works out where I write a book from start to finish (by which I mean from typing "Chapter One" to wrapping up all the edits) without having to break for another project. Something time-sensitive always crops up, especially if I have a project contracted. When I was working on the Skylar books, the timeline looked something like this:
- Write a couple chapters of book two, Out with the In Crowd.
- Receive several questionnaires from publishing house regarding the release of book one, Me, Just Different (asking for information like who I knew who might be willing to endorse the book, my thoughts on cover design, a revised bio, etc.)
- Turn those in. Write a couple more chapters of Out with the In Crowd.
- Receive feedback from editor about Me, Just Different. Input her changes. Send it back.
- Finish first draft of Out with the In Crowd.
- Receive "galleys" of Me, Just Different. These were often continuity issues, but in my experience the copy editor had just as many suggestions as my regular editor. I would spend a week or so doing this, then turn them in.
- Write second draft of Out with the In Crowd. Send it to critique partners. (I think I had six at the time, or maybe I was down to three. Either way, it was too many. I have one now, and that works much better for me.)
- Receive "second galleys" for Me, Just Different. Make changes.
- Write a couple chapters of book three, So Over It.
- Receive feedback for Out with the In Crowd from one or two critique partners. Input their changes.
- Write another chapter of So Over It.
- Receive page proofs for Me, Just Different. That's one of the coolest parts because it's the first time you get to see what the book will look like once it's printed. My publisher sent them to my house in a box like this:
There's a letter accompanying them detailing a few potential issues the editors or proofreaders see, and a reminder that at this stage we can only change what has to be changed. (Like typos.)
Everything is formatted the way it will be for the book, which is such a thrill.
I won't walk you through everything that took place during that crazy year. My above list is limited to my correspondence with my publisher, so it doesn't include the things I was supposed to be doing on the side to promote the books. Even if you're fortunate enough to have writing be your full time job, you still need a lot of discipline and time management to complete everything by your given deadlines.
Just a little glimpse into the realities of being a novelist.
Make sure you're back here tomorrow; Sandra Orchard will be here to talk about her writing process, and she's offering a 3-page critique for one lucky commenter!