not sure if this was done before, I remember an excellent thread on self-publishing, so I thought I might do the same for trad. Hope this will be helpful.
My novel will launch on 1 July (after having signed in March 2018) and the idea is to give you - well, an insight into the journey. I’ll post sporadically, this first post is all about how I got from querying to a publication date.
How did I get the contract? A pitmad pitch, followed by a submission and a request for a full. Then I got an R+R (Revise and Resubmit). That basically means a publisher is sniffing around your novel, but they want to see changes. They also want to see whether you CAN make those changes, how you respond to feedback.
I did my best and jumped the hurdle. A contract was offered. A closer look at it revealed the same scary conditons that seem to be normal these days. With the help of a few savvy WP friends I got some bits shifted, but not a lot. That is normal. It’s a case of take it or leave it.
I took the offer, for the simple reason that I wanted to have professional support for my debut novel. Self publishing is an option, but AFTER I had learned the ropes.
Money is not an issue insofar as I have no aspirations to ever live of my novels. What I would hope to see is a steady side income. So, low royalties and no advances never bothered me. That might be different for others.
I still think a professional partner for the debut novel(s) is a good idea.
Anyway, after that for quite a while - crickets. They had my revised manuscript and my editor was working on it.
Rule Number One - Trad publishing takes time. IF you have a good publisher, that is. Some just fix a few bloopers and slam the novel out there. THAT I would not recommend. Alternatively, your novel is so brilliant already, it just needs polishing and it can go out. Mine wasn’t, so in October 2018 the feedback from my editor landed in my mailbox.
I knew it would be bad. And it was. I searched solace in a bottle of nice wine (shared with hubby, of course), shoved up my sleeves and went to work.
But I tell you - that feedback smarted. She was factual, her comments were shrewd and incisive. They still smarted. But okay, that’s what I wanted. Professional advice.
So, I took her comments to heart and rewrote the novel. Not touched it up. Told the same story but better, because I now had pointers that told me what was wrong. Too much telling and lack of logic in some instants. I’ll spare you the details.
Rule Number Two - Editing sucks
But it is necessary. How else am I supposed to hit industry standards? I submitted the new version and waited some more. In May the response came and we were in much better shape. There still were comments, but now we were talking mostly language. I fixed that in two weeks and send it back. The response this time was a lot faster, I got another revised version with only a few comments left. That got fixed and the final manuscript went to the Chief Editor.
I then was asked to provide the author’s questionnaire, bio, blurb and input for the cover.
At the end of the summer, I got told the novel had gone to typesetting.
I asked about a release date and got told summer was on the cards, but I had to wait.
On New Year’s Eve (what a nice surprise), the Chief Editor showed up in my mailbox, with the typeset novel as an unproofed ARC (Advanced Reading Copy). And a cover.
Rule Number Three - Make sure you get your input for the cover right
It’s your key visual, an important part of your marketing package. A lot of readers “judge a book by its cover”. I LOVE my cover. I did tons of research into cosy mystery covers, what elements they featured, fonts etc… The publisher took my instructions to heart and created something truly nice (and fitting for the genre, which is most important). They even translated the theme (a bit olde-worlde) into the novel itself, chose a serif font that works very nicely.
I’ll do a cover reveal on my profile a bit later.
As to the ARC, I started proofing straight away. Nightmare - all italics gone and a lot of bloopers introduced. It appears, they used a new typesetter (who they are not using anymore).
Proofreading the manuscript (from an author’s point of view) is vital. this is your last chance to get YOUR novel out there. I’ll give more input in another post.
Any questions are, of course, welcome.