I think the other girls have pretty sufficiently covered all the stuff that happens with the editing process once you turn a book in. So I think I’ll talk about what doesn’t happen. In the spaces in between edits and copy-edits and galleys and trying for blurbs, there’s a whole lot of anxious waiting on the part of the author. That’s right, after turning a book in you wait. And then you wait some more.
It takes a long time from the time you sell or turn a book in until the time it releases. For me, it’s been anywhere from a year (THE SEPTEMBER SISTERS) to 18 months (THE LIFE OF GLASS and THE TRANSFORMATION OF THINGS). And yes, there are things that happen along the way, the stages of the editing process, seeing the cover, getting blurbs, and starting to think about promotion, and all of this is fun and exciting for all the reasons that Tracy and Maureen and Lisa discussed. But also, a lot of it just feels like. . . waiting.
As a result, I’ve had two things happen. One, there’s so much time that elapses between when you finish/sell a book a get ready to go out into the world and promote it, that I find I sometimes honestly forget some of what happens in the book. In the 18 months between when I finished THE LIFE OF GLASS and when I sat down to prepare myself for my first reading/signing in February, I found myself opening up the book and having to reread it so I was prepared to talk about it. I also had so much distance from it, that when I sat down and reread the first chapter, I felt like a different person had written it, which, in a way, was true, since 18 months ago, I was in a different place in my life in a lot of ways.
The second thing that’s happened to me, at least with THE LIFE OF GLASS, is that some of the events in the book ended up being quite similar to events that transpired in my life – after I wrote them. Yes, it sounds a bit like a paranormal thriller – but it’s really not. THE LIFE OF GLASS is about death and moving on and learning how to live your life, and it’s realistic fiction, so these things happen in real life. In my real life. In the time between when I wrote THE LIFE OF GLASS and when it came out, someone close to me died in a similar manner to the way Melissa’s father dies in the first chapter of the book, and some of the actions and reactions of the characters played out in similar ways. Which made it awfully awkward when the book came out to try to explain to some people in my life that I’d written the book first, that it really does take a really, really, really long time from writing to publication.
But even with all the waiting, that still doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy every little step of the process. Because I do. When I saw my cover for THE TRANSFORMATION OF THINGS a few months ago, I liked it so much that it made me cry. And last week, when I received a copy of the galley proofs for THE TRANSFORMATION OF THINGS, (which means I got to see my book looking like an actual book for the first time – printed out on regular white paper) I got chills. Because that was the moment when I looked at my words, and felt, somewhat shocked to realize, this is actually going to happen. This is actually going to be a book! Granted, it’s still six and a half months away. . . but who’s counting?!