That’s what she said!
So I had a pee-your-pants moment today. My debut novel went up on my publisher’s “coming soon” section. Seeing my name next to my book’s title was exciting. And it definitely gives me motivation to keep plugging away at my next book.
Here it is on the main Coming Soon page.
Here’s its individual page.
My editor gave me a publication date, but I’m not 100% certain if that could change by a few days, so I’ll leave it as a TBD for now. But I do know the book will publish in early July.
I’m also waiting to receive my cover art. Cover art is super fun, but it’s one of the last things to happen in the book production process — at least in my experience, which is admittedly limited. The bulk of the work revolves around content editing.
I’ve gone through…let’s see, FIVE rounds of editing over the past three months. That was a behind-the-scenes process I’d always wondered about. I’ve always wanted to know about the changes a manuscript goes through before it reaches a reader’s hands (or Kindle). Here’s a general outline for the curious. Keep in mind that this process varies by publisher, and that the actual titles for various editors vary, too.
Step 1: An acquiring editor decides a manuscript is good and that she wants to work with the author. Fun fact: Women have a leg up in the publishing world, where a large number of editors and agents are female. I’m not saying men don’t do these jobs, because they most certainly do, but it’s one industry that’s dominated by women. I never knew that before, and I think it’s pretty cool.
Step 2: The content editor (who is sometimes also the acquiring editor) does one or more editing passes with the author. My book needed three passes. The edits can include anything from “this whole scene needs to go” to “I think you used the wrong word here” to “you used the word murmur 67 times in this manuscript — please revise.” For me, the first editing pass was, in a word, heavy. And it needed to be. Content editors do a crapload (technical term) of heavy lifting. They identify weak spots, plot holes, the infamous “telling not showing” trap, and pretty much anything else that needs attention. When you’ve spent months writing a book, you can’t see it objectively anymore. You need an editor to tell you what works and what doesn’t. You need someone to tell you the ugly, unvarnished truth. It’s the literary equivalent of an honest friend telling you when you’ve got VPL or something stuck in your teeth. You don’t want your editor to be merciful. You want her to be Nero, playing the fiddle while the shitty parts of your manuscript burn. Editing is both a talent and a skill. There’s a reason a lot of authors thank their editors in the acknowledgements section of their books.
Step 3: When the content editor thinks the manuscript is ready, she sends it to the line editor. The line editor goes line by line, checking for flow and readability.
Step 4: The line editor sends the book to a proofreader, who gives the manuscript a final pass to catch spelling mistakes, bad flow, or anything else that needs attention.
Again, this process — and the official titles for each editor — varies from publisher to publisher. But that’s the general gist of it. I say that with the supreme confidence of someone who’s published exactly one book. So you can definitely trust me.
So, next stop: cover art! Fortunately, the publisher assigned my book to an absolutely amazing cover artist who creates gorgeous covers. I can’t wait to see it!
In the meantime, I’m starting to pick up momentum with my work in progress, which is shaping up to possibly be a series. And I’ve got an historical on the back burner that I’d love to keep working on. So I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious.