The happiest time for a new author? Getting The Call! But then what happens? New Special Edition author Olivia Miles gives us some insight to her experiences…
I SOLD MY BOOK! NOW WHAT…?
It was around this time two years ago that I sold my first book, ‘TWAS THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS, to Special Edition after the first chapter was selected by the entire Special Edition team as the winner of the Happy Holidays Contest. I will never forget the thrill of answering that phone. Finally, finally, The Call! My long, bumpy journey toward publication had come to an end. Or had it?
I’d always assumed the editor would edit the book, the proofreader would proof it, and the next time I saw it would be on a shelf in my local bookstore. I quickly learned there is still much to be done between getting The Call and seeing the book in final form. Here are a few things to expect after you sell your book:
You will not just read your book, but scrutinize it. Sometimes you reach a point where you feel you literally cannot read your own book even one more time. However, you can plan on reading this book at least another four times before it goes to print: at the revision, line edit, copy edit, and author approval stages.
Even though an editor has to truly love your book to buy it, there is always room for improvement. The great part about the revision process is that it not only strengthens your book, but it also gives you tools for your next. I was still writing my second Special Edition, RECIPE FOR ROMANCE, when I went through revisions for ‘TWAS THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS, and many of the notes I received on the first book helped me in plotting my second.
Expect the unexpected. As with any work environment, there is always a possibility of change and a chance to work with new people. Although my first editor, Sarah, made The Call (and patiently listened to me freak out for nearly half an hour), shortly thereafter she took a new career path and I began working with my current editor, Susan Litman. That experience taught me that everyone on your editorial team is invested in your work and growing you as an author.
Editing is not just for the editors. While your editor and copyeditor separately go through the manuscript for a developmental/content edit and copy edit, respectively, there are also many comments and questions that the author needs to address. During the line edit, there may be the need for last minute revisions, as was the case in my second book, when my lovely editor, Susan, and I agreed that the ending needed to change.
The author has a voice. Ultimately, this is your book, and as the author, the editor wants your input when it comes to alternative title ideas, cover inspiration, and even approving changes in the line and copy edit process. This is the opportunity to not only ensure that every component lives up to the promise of your story and style, but also the series promise. My beautiful covers, for example, not only absolutely capture the heart of my books, but also the essence of Special Edition.
Writing a book can be such a lonely endeavor at times, but after the sale, it becomes a team effort. Suddenly you have an editor, copy editor, proofreader, and cover artist, all working with you to make your book the best it can possibly be. I’ve now had the experience of working with Susan on a few projects over the past two years, and I’ve come to see the post-sale polishing of a book as a truly collaborative experience, and I’m a better writer for it.
Of course, there are new challenges to face. Whereas before you were simply trying to find time to write in the midst of other life responsibilities, now you have production deadlines to meet in addition to everything you were already doing, like writing another book, maybe working a day job, raising a family, or possibly squeezing in a little time for yourself. After I sold my first book, I was so eager to finish the second, but in time I learned that my work with the first was not finished, and that the writing of the book is just the first stage of many in the ultimate path to publication.
In our next post, my editor and I will be discussing my April release, RECIPE FOR ROMANCE, and its post-sale evolution. There can never be too many cooks in a kitchen when it comes to a great production team, and Susan and I whipped up several new ideas that brought the characters, and the story, to its ultimate happy ending… Stay tuned to find out how we got there!
Thank you, Olivia, for this insight into what happened after your Call. Though there are similarities, every author/editor match can be different. And your interaction might even change with each book!
You can also follow @Susan_Litman, #HarlequinSpecEdition and check out the Writing Guidelines for more info!