Monday, April 5, 2010

The Final Steps

We've talked a lot about the writing of our books here at The Novel Girls, we've talked about promotion, what it feels like to see our books on the shelves, and how cool it is to receive reader e-mails. But we haven't talked about what happens when we turn a book in.

While a lot of the steps are likely to be the same, each publisher does have their own way of doing things. So we thought it would be interesting to share what each of our experiences are after we've finished writing (and editing) our books and turned them in to our editors.

My publisher is Dorchester Publishing. Rather than do a simple guideline, I'm going to pull up the dates and the steps I've taken with each of the three books I've turned in so far, beginning with my first book, A TASTE OF MAGIC. First, though, let me run through a few of the terms I'm going to be using:

Line Edits: This is where someone (at Dorchester, this person is the editor) goes through your book word by word, line by line, and makes changes based on grammar, punctuation, story, clarity, etc. This person will ask questions if something isn't clear enough, give suggestions if something isn't working, look for lazy writing, repetitiveness, gaps of information, order of events, etc. Basically, the line editor is looking to see if your story works, and if it doesn't, why not? At Dorchester, this is often done hand-in-hand with the revisions.

Copyedits: Copyedits are when a copy editor goes through the revised and line-edited book in an effort to correct grammar and punctuation following the house's (publisher's) standards. A copy editor will also point out areas of confusion or give suggestions, correct terms if incorrectly used, and flag anything else that jumps out at them (such as an incorrect sequence of events).

The Galley: Galleys are when you receive your revised, line-edited, copyedited, and typeset book for the last look before it goes to print. Basically, this looks like your book will look when it's printed, but without being bound and covered. This is the author's last chance to find errors and request changes. However, changes at this point tend not to be editorally focused changes. Rather, they are errors: typos, miss-spellings, inconsistencies, and the like.

Okay, now with that out of the way, here is a breakdown of the path I've followed so far with my books at my publisher:

The debut book is a little different, which is why I want to start with that one. When I wrote A TASTE OF MAGIC, I didn't have a contract and I didn't know if the book was going to be published. So in this case, everything started with my editor reading the book and deciding he wanted to publish it.
  • 05/01/2008: Received "the call." Woo!
  • 05/05/2008: Accepted representation from my awesome agent, Michelle Grajkowski of Three Seas Literary.
  • 06/04/2008: Received revisions from my editor. I had until July 1st to complete them.
  • 06/25/2008: Completed revisions and turned revised book in to editor.
  • 06/30/2008: Completed my dedication and acknowledgements and turned those in to the editor.
  • 08/07/2008: Turned in author photo and bio to the editor.
  • 09/10/2008: Received comments and line edits from editor (based on revised book) along with some other minor changes to be made.
  • 09/11/2008: Turned in book with changes based on comments and input from editor. Obviously, the alterations were finally minor, as I was able to complete everything and re-read the book in a 24-hour time frame.
  • 09/25/2008: Received the copyedits for the book from my editor.
  • 09/25/2008: Turned in book with changes/verifications made per the copyedits. Again, they were relatively light as I turned this back in on the same day.
  • 10/06/2008: Received the galley version of the book to review.
  • 10/20/2008: Turned in corrections based on the galley.
  • 02/24/2009: Book is released!

So, about 9.5 months from call to publication. This is actually pretty fast, as often, the time frame between purchase and publication can take one year, two years, or more. Also in the time span above, I received cover quotes, my cover, reviewed cover copy and front matter, and was working on the next book: A STROKE OF MAGIC.

For this book, the timeline went as follows:

  • 11/06/2008: Turned in the complete of A STROKE OF MAGIC to my editor.
  • 02/19/2009: Received revisions and line edits from my editor. Unlike the first book, these were handled at the same time instead of separately. Luckily, the revisions were minor, as the publisher needed the book back to them asap.
  • 02/23/2009: Turned in the revised book to my editor. I also turned in this book's dedication and acknowledgements.
  • 03/04/2009: Received the copyedits for the book from my editor.
  • 03/04/2009: Returned the book to my editor with changes/verifications made based on the comments made by the copy editor. Obviously, these were minor as I turned them in before the day ended.
  • 03/24/2009: Received the galley proofs of the book to look over. With TASTE the galleys arrived in hardcopy. With STROKE, they arrived in PDF format via e-mail.
  • 03/26/2009: Turned in requests for changes/corrections based on the galley.
  • 06/30/2009: Book is released!

Again, in the same timespan as above, I worked on promotion, received the cover, reviewed cover copy and front matter for the book, and worked on and turned in my next two proposals, and received a new contract.

The timeline for the third book, A BREATH OF MAGIC, is:

  • 10/18/2009: Turned in the complete of A BREATH OF MAGIC to my editor.
  • 11/04/2009: Turned in the dedicaiton and acknowledgements for the book.
  • 11/30/2009: Received line-edits and revisions from my editor. In this case, I actually didn't have revisions of any sort to make regarding the story or the order of events. Everything that I needed to look at was in the moment, small things that were easily fixed.
  • 12/01/2009: Turned in book to my editor with changes/edits made based on his feedback and comments.
  • 12/08/2009: Received copyedited book from my editor.
  • 12/08/2009: Turned in book to my editor with changes based on the copyeditor's comments and suggestions. These were light enough that I was able to make the changes within a few hours.
  • 12/23/2009: Received the galley proofs of the book. Just before Christmas, naturally, lol. Luckily, I had until January 9th to go through everything. I set aside until after the holidays.
  • 01/02/2010: Turned in requests for changes/corrections based on the galley.
  • Now: Waiting for the release later this month (April 27th)!

And again, throughout the above dates, I've worked on promotion, garnered cover blurbs, received the cover (my favorite of the three), reviewed cover copy and front matter, and worked (and am still working) on the next title (BY MAGIC ALONE, a Dec 2010 release). Oh, and everything else that comes with life.

For my current manuscript: my deadline is fast approaching (it's in May), I've just received my cover copy (last week), and haven't seen a cover yet (but that should be soon).

As crazy as the timing gets/feels sometimes, I love every step of the process of seeing something I created evolve into a finished book. I love having my editor's input, as he always helps my books and the stories I'm telling become stronger. I get a little thrill of excitement when an e-mail appears that has my cover copy, and then my cover, attached. Oh, and when the big box of my author copies arrive? That's pretty dang awesome.

I love hearing how the process works for other authors, so I can't wait to read the rest of The Novel Girls' posts this week.

See you all next Monday!


Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Kimmie said...

Did you have to arrange your own author photo? I always thought the publisher did this. Thansk Kimmie

Tracy Madison said...

Hi, Kimmie! Yes, I arranged for my own author photo. As far as I know, that's the standard, but I'm sure the other Novel Girls will chime in with their experience.

Maureen Lipinski said...

Wow! You've definitely had a busy few years! Kimmie--I arranged for my author photo as well. I think that's more common than your publisher setting it up.

Jillian Cantor said...

Tracy, I can't believe you know all the exact dates!! I wish I'd thought to write it all down, as it's very cool to be able to look at everything you've done in the process.