I finally got PUBLISHED! Woo Hoo! It has been a long process. I signed the contract in December 2013, and the book came out in September. People do not realize how long it can take after that contract is signed. You are assigned an editor who reads the book and then starts the editing process. You seriously have to put on your big girl panties at this point because that MS you have slaved over is now going to be changed...sometimes completely changed. My MS for Forest of the Mist: Travelers, was originally 108,000 words. The final product was around 80,000. You do not realize how many useless words are used when writing a book. I heard the terms "head hopping" and "show don't tell" at least a bazillion and three times. Truthfully, I was lucky. My editor was patient and taught me so much. After all that, it gets re-read and then another round of editing takes place. Once that is done, the book is sent off to be scheduled for publishing. During your "down time" LOL, you can work on your next book. The more books you write and get published, the more they will feed off each other and cause your readership to grow. During my "downtime" I wrote the first book in my paranormal series, Sasha Bishop: Retired Slayer. It was released on October 8th. I have also completed the second book in the Forest of the Mist series, Awakening. I am waiting to hear if a contract will be offered on it or not. Keeping my fingers crossed that they like it.
So, I get asked a lot about the writing process. I think it is different for every author. I kinda fly by the seat of my pants until the characters start dictating what they want to happen. I had a whole storyline change because of one persistent character. It also added three chapters to what I thought was the end of the book. The writing process from start to finish is as follows:
- Come up with the story
- Write the story. Don't worry about punctuation or anything, just get it down on paper.
- Keep word count in mind. A novella is around 40,000 words or less. A novel is around 50,000 and above. I write novel length so the books will be available in both e-version and paperback.
- Edit the MS to the point of insanity.
- Determine the genre (example: fantasy romance/ paranormal/ science fiction
- Send queries to agents, editors, and publishers. Make sure you do your homework and query those who represent what you write.
- While you wait to hear from those queries, prepare a one page synopsis of the book, a multi-page synopsis, a hook (a couple of sentences that sum up the book), and a blurb (like you would see on the jacket cover of the book).
- When you receive that first reject, and 99% of us do, look for clues as to what the issue was with the book. Some will actually give you a little feedback. Some will give you a form rejection.
- Have a couple of critique partners who will read the MS and give you feed back. I'm not talking about your BFF or Mom. I mean somebody who will give you the truth no matter how harsh it may be. Once the sting wears off, you will realize that they may have valid points, especially if you keep getting rejects.
- Rewrite and send out to another group of agents, editors and publishers. Repeat step 8.
- Enter the MS in contests. This is a great way to get feedback from total strangers. A lot of detail is usually offered by the judges. Re-read your MS and make whatever changes you feel necessary and repeat step 10.
- Holy Crap...they asked for a partial! This is usually the first three chapters. Make sure those three chapters sparkle.
- Happy Dance...they asked for a complete MS. Do yourself a favor and run a quick spell check before sending. I know you've edited a million times now, but something could be missed. Remember you want to be as professional as possible.
- The Hallelujah Moment...they offered a contract! Look it over carefully. Have a literary attorney look it over if you are unsure or do not have an agent. Sign and send back.
- First round edits/re-read
- Second round edits/re-read
- ARC copy
- Send ARC to reviewers.
- Come up with some marketing ideas. Even published authors need to promote themselves. Have a book launch party, contests, giveaways, book signings, attend conferences, etc...
- Release Date
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