Well, the publishing process begins, and while what I share happens roughly in this order, some of the steps are flexible and can occur at different times through out the process.
Negotiating contractual deadlines - this is where you need to know what word count you're able to produce in order to complete a book. It will determine the deadlines you set for handing in a finished product (edited & polished) to your editor. And this, in turn, will impact the scheduling of your release date, the editing process, cover art etc.
Some things to consider when working out your deadlines - daily word count x months it takes to complete your book, your regular routine, being sick, juggling work or volunteer commitments, unanticipated interruptions. And then add another month just to be on the safe side.
Writing the book - self explanatory. However you do it, get it down and drafted. One of the most bantered about phrases is "You can't edit a blank page."(coined by an author, whose name escapes me, at a writing conference). This is so, so true.
|Cover conference ideas|
Anything that will help convey the tone, theme or story of your book to the art department/cover artist.
Your editor and art department will come up with a brief for the commissioned cover artist.
|Cover conference ideas|
Some publishing houses may not include you in the consultation process. It all depends on house policy.
|Pre-Berkley work-up. Artwork: Gene Mollica|
Both times my agent and I discussed the covers and requested a couple of tweaks. They were given the nod and the final cover was approved for printing.
Back Cover Blurb/Title - between the cover copy team, your editor and you, you'll write a blurb for the book.
Be prepared to submit possible titles for your book as well. One may be chosen, more likely there will be some tweaking and to'ing and fro'ing of ideas and suggestions until your editor comes up with the final product. Hopefully it will be something you like or at least are happy with.
Tag line & Cover Quote - Your editor may request you provide a 'wishlist' of authors whom you'd like to read your book and provide a quote that may go on the cover, back cover, cover pages or other promotional material.
My agent and I, as well as my editor, approached my wishlist authors for the quotes on VENGEANCE BORN. Thankfully all of them said yes to our requests.
Revisions - these are the big picture fixes suggested by your editor and may include comments on things like plot lines, characters, pacing, and scene deletions. AND you may go through multiple rounds of these before your editor signs off on them.
Deadlines for these are negotiable depending on the amount of work involved. Be honest with yourself when setting them. Don't be tempted to try and get them done ASAP. Give yourself some wiggle room.
|Line Edits/Galleys - now converted to book format|
This is not the time to make massive story line changes or scene additions or deletions. The deadline for these are usually set by your editor.
|Advance Review Copies (ARC's)|
Most authors get several of these. They are sent out by your editor and/or publicist to book bloggers for advanced reader reviews. You might use them as contest giveaways or to build pre-release buzz.
|The final product!|
The day you get that box in the mail is an emotional one. Have a box of tissues handy.
Promotion - publishers are likely to send out information to their booksellers in a seasonal catalogue, or they may distribute excerpts/promotional material on your behalf. Promotion of your book will vary author to author, publishing house to publishing house.
I took the view that there would be no one as keen as me to promote my book, so I planned, budgetted and organised a lot of complimentary promotion, on top of what my editor and publicist provided. Take on only what you feel comfortable doing and stick to your budget.
So, basically, this is the publishing process you'll go through with each book. Something to keep in mind is that amidst all this you could juggling the following (particularly if you have negotiated a multiple book deal):
- writing the next book
- editing a previous book as per the publishing process mentioned
- promoting another of your books
- life outside writing
Just remember, every author's experience will be different and that some of the things I've explained here may vary depending on your editor, agent, and publishing house.
The most important thing though is to learn and enjoy the process. :-)