A Peek Behind Publishing Scenes

posted in: Writing | 4

Hi all–hope you’re staying safe and sane in these weird and trying times. It’s been a summer for the record books, that’s for sure. In a few weeks, my kids will head back to school, only school will be at home for the fall semester since I’ve enrolled them in our district’s online learning program. It’s sure to be interesting as I work on finishing up my part in the process of getting my first book published, continue freelance writing and editing, and also work on my newest book in order to get it ready to send to my agent.

But in the meantime, I wanted to share a “peek behind publishing scenes”, or at least tell you about my experience in the process so far. I’ve learned a lot over the last few months, and I’m sure there is still much learning to come as this journey continues.

To recap a little, you may remember that I received an offer of publication from Running Press Kids, an imprint of Hachette, back in December of 2019, signed with a literary agent in January, and then finally signed my book deal for NOT OUR SUMMER in May. You might be surprised to learn that I actually completed my first round of edits just before signing my book deal (which is uncommon, but not completely unheard of apparently), but maybe I can blame that on COVID-related delays. . . I will tell you this: edits are tough! It was a detailed process which was fairly time consuming. I’m sure this will differ between books and editors though.

After turning in my first-round edits, I then received notes back from my editor and completed a second round of edits, which wasn’t quite as arduous, but still work, for sure.

Once I turned in my second-round edits, my book then went to a copy editor, who read for clarity, consistency, spelling, grammar, typos, etc. At the risk of sounding braggy, I have to say I was thrilled to get the copy editor’s letter which began by stating, “It’s a beautifully written story, and I enjoyed it immensely.” I figured the copy editor didn’t have to comment on my overall story at all, so I took this as a huge compliment. I just hope my future readers will agree. Of course, this isn’t to say, I didn’t have mistakes in the manuscript. I did and hopefully, they are corrected now!

While reviewing copyedits, I first planned to just go through his comments and changes and accept or reject them, but I then decided I better read through the entire manuscript again since this would be my final chance to make any significant changes. While I didn’t make any huge changes, I’m so glad I did this because I did opt to change some wording, added and deleted a few sentences, and even caught a mistake regarding shoes, of all things! In one scene, my main character started out wearing flip flops which magically changed into Converse a few paragraphs later–lol! Thank goodness I saw that.

I turned in my copyedits yesterday (whew!), and I have to say it was a little emotional. I’m sooo happy my work is *almost* done on this book, but it’s also terrifying because, like, what if I left some gaping plot hole that no one has noticed yet? Or what if there’s another mistake like the “shoe” one and I missed it? I guess some reader will let me know down the line. . . but I have a feeling this is a completely normal mix of emotions. It’s time to let my baby go and get her wings.

The next step will be getting my manuscript into book format and also proofreading, and I won’t the get the “pass pages” back for over a month. I’ll then review those and send back (again, either accepting or rejecting the proofreader’s changes). That person will go over the book once more and send it back to me a final time, where I get to sign off on everything (at least this is my understanding of how things will happen). This final part will go on until early December.

In the mean time, my cover illustrator is starting on my cover (and I’ll get to see sketches soon, I believe). I get to have some say in the book cover, thanks to a clause my agent was able to work into my contract, but this isn’t common from what I hear.

Yesterday, I received an interior design sample of the pages, which was exciting, too. It’s starting to look like a real book, ya’ll, and I’ll probably lose my you-know-what when the galley copies arrive in September. I will send those to other authors in order to get “blurbs” for the back or inside cover of my finalized book. I don’t have an official release date yet, but it’s supposed to be May-ish of 2020.

Getting a book published is every bit as exciting as I thought it would be, and I’m sure the anticipation will only ramp up as I get closer and closer to my release date next year. As I said, I’m sure there’s still much for me to learn about the traditional publishing process, and I’ll be happy to share more about my experience at a later point in time.

But if there’s one thing I’d like to let other writers know, it’s that setting big goals for yourself and your writing is perfectly okay and something I even recommend. For a number of years, I felt like I was the only one who believed that I would actually get to this point, but I’m so happy I kept at it. It’s been an amazing journey so far–full of many ups and downs which are documented in this blog–but I can’t wait for my book baby to be out in the world and finally into readers’ hands next year.

4 Responses

  1. Linda Shantz

    I’m really enjoying reading about your publishing journey, thanks for sharing it! It’s nice to hear you’ve had so much input in the process. Congrats on the whole big thing!

  2. Dan Santos

    Congratulations on the progress. And, yes, it is fine to be THAT excited. I wish you great success.