That's so awesome that you sold your book! When do I get to read it? What?! 2015?! How could it possibly take that long? I've been hearing some version of the above from a lot of my friends and family lately, so I thought I might fill you in en masse on what's going to happen over the next year! But first, let me say up front: I can't say thank you enough for your enthusiasm and encouragement about my book deal. Your support means the world!
I know I've posted a lot about the process so far—signing with my agent, selling the book, signing my contract, changing my title, revising the manuscript—but I thought you might be interested to hear a little more about what else goes into making this thing that I imagined and wrote into a real, honest-to-God book that you can hold in your hands and buy at Barnes & Noble. So, here it is! The overview. "The Friends and Family Guide to Book Publishing." (With the caveat that I obviously haven't done most of this yet, so you could get more detail down the line…)
Right now, I am in the middle of my second round of revisions with my editor. When I'm done implementing her notes, the book will be very close to its final version! We'll most likely do one more round of line edits to make sure we're happy with every word in the book (time to nitpick!), and then, if all goes well, my book will be "accepted" by the publisher. That means my main role in writing and editing it will be done!
At the start of 2014, my "finished" manuscript will go to copyeditors, who will read through it and make lots of edits that I will then have to read through and accept. The copyeditors will catch typos, make sure names and other facts are consistent throughout the book, standardize style elements (like how TV shows and movies are written, for instance), and do loads more. Copyeditors are very important people—they help to make the text polished and professional!
Meanwhile, over in the art department, someone will be designing possible covers for my book. Before you ask, I will not get to dictate what my cover will look like. There are people far more qualified to do that job, who are already employed by my publisher. That said, when they've tinkered and redesigned and finally gotten down to a top choice or a few choices, they'll send it/them to me to check out. Cover designs are a collaboration between the editors, the art department, and the sales and marketing teams, because everyone wants the book to sell its best. When my book's cover is finalized, I'll be given the go-ahead to share it with you. And believe me—I will be making a big deal of it!
Page Proofs and Galleys
When I've sent back the copyedited manuscript, it will go into layout—which basically means it will start to look like a proper book. Then I'll get sent the manuscript again to read over and make sure nothing got, say, cut out accidentally while the text was being flowed in. I'll probably do several passes in the page proof phase, over the course of a few weeks or months. The book will also be made into galleys, as well as advance reader copies (ARCs). These advance copies are often sent to reviewers, booksellers, and other people in the industry who need to see books before their official release date.
Sales and Marketing Stuff
Once my book has a release season (and, eventually, an actual date), I'll get slotted into the publisher's catalog, so I can be promoted to booksellers. I'll probably also get assigned a publicist who will help me come up with the best ways to promote the book. A lot of people have already asked about my book tour plans. Hopefully, I'll get to do at least a small tour! But that isn't the only option these days. For instance, a lot of authors do blog tours, or visit bookstores, libraries, and classrooms via Skype instead of in person. Trust me, when we're a few months away from my book's release, you'll start hearing me talk a lot more about this part of the process.
The Next Book
What's my job while all of this is going on behind the scenes? I'll be hard at work on my next manuscript. After all, I'm doing all of this because I love to write, and because I want this to be my career. Having a single finished book on the shelves will be amazing and mind-blowing, but having two books there, or three, or more… that's the dream. So I'll be hard at work with my agent and editor planning out what's next while Book One is in production. And you'll probably hear about that, too.
Whew! So that's the nutshell version of what I'll be dealing with in 2014, and why you won't see a finished book until 2015. I hope it was interesting to get a glimpse into the inner workings of the publishing machine. I know I can't wait to reach each point in the process!