Wednesday, October 7, 2015

What On Earth Takes So Long? Behind the Scenes from Book Contract to (not quite) Publication

Since I signed my publishing contract with Howard in February I've been asked a few variations on the question of "Why is it taking so long for your book to come out?" So today, for all of those who wonder why on earth it takes fourteen months (in my case) to go from contract signing to book publication, I thought I'd share a little bit about what had been going on behind the scenes :)

February: signed contract - hurrah!

March/April
Macro edits (also known as developmental edits). This was the point where I got a twelve page memo from my editor with overarching comments like "your heroine's character arc needs strengthening" and "I'd like you to think about changing X part of the plot to Y" and "I think you should consider removing X characters and replacing them with Y type of characters". I got four weeks to pull Close To You apart, apply her comments, and put them back together again :)

May
Line edits. This was where my editor went through the whole book line by line and made specific comments about each scene. And I did more rewrites :)



May/June
Cover and title development. We started with over thirty potential cover options and quickly narrowed it down to a short list and then the preferred option.

July
Line edits round #2: After I'd gone through my editor's line edits and submitted my changes an associate editor then went through the book again and made her comments line by line and I got to do it all over again :)

July
Cover and title finalised. It starts getting real...



August
Copy edits: In this edit a new editor went through at a very detailed level. She specifically looked at sentence structure, spelling, continuity issues, grammar, and fact checked everything. I went through and answered a whole lot of questions, okayed most of her changes and explained why I didn't want to accept others.

September/October
In the US sales teams sell into retail six months in advance. At this point Close To You went into the Howard/Simon and Schuster sales catalogue for the sales team as one of they Spring 2016 books to talk to retailers about.

October
First proof edits: this is the first time I got to see what Close To You will look like typeset as a book. Hurrah! After so many edits you'd think there wouldn't be much left to find? Wrong! I flagged up almost 200 changes that needed to be made.



October
Galleys sent to potential endorsers: Last week my publisher sent copies of Close To You to five authors who we are hoping will read it and, if they like it, write an endorsement to go inside the front cover. This is particularly important when you're a debut author so some readers will take a chance on you based on if another author they like recommends your book.



At the same time as all of this I've been writing Book #2 that is due in this month, getting my website designed, growing my social media presence, doing my "real" day job and chasing after my two pre-schoolers, among a range of other things :) Oh, and eating quite a few of these...



Over the next couple of month there will be a final set of proofs which will be signed off to go to print. Then, early next year the publisher will send copies to book reviewers in the hope that some will review Close To You in April when it comes out.

In February-April there will be a whole range of marketing activity to try and generate interest in the book and encourage pre-orders (which are really important but that's a whole different conversation!). And then FINALLY on April 26, Close To You will officially be released!

So that's the process (as I've experienced it!). Every publisher is different but would love to answer any questions and chat about the last eight months and what is still to come!

Kara Isaac lives in Wellington, New Zealand. Her debut romantic comedy, Close To You, is about a disillusioned academic-turned-tour-guide and an entrepreneur who knows nothing about Tolkien who fall in love on a Tolkien themed tour of New Zealand. It will be an April 2016 release from Howard Books. When she's not working her day job as a public servant, chasing around a ninja preschooler and his feisty toddler sister, she spends her time writing horribly bad first drafts and wishing you could get Double Stuf Oreos in New Zealand. She loves to connnect on Facebook at Kara Isaac - Writer and Twitter @KaraIsaac


12 comments:

  1. Wow, what a process, but so worth it to put out a first class book. Thanks for sharing. So excited for you and your story!

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  2. Thanks so much, Angela! It's definitely starting to feel more real :)

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  3. Wow, Kara, thank you for opening my eyes to what's going on behind the scenes of books. Congratulations too. Your book looks intriguing.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

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    1. Thanks so much for dropping by, Wendy :)

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  4. Kara, it is a long process but that's all part of the deal when working with a company that looks after many other authors. There's no one person doing all the work and so it takes time. Hope you're enjoying the process.

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    1. Hi Ian. Am so enjoying it. I couldn't wish for a better publishing team!

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  5. Awesome post, Kara!!! Thanks for sharing your process-it's very helpful for writers and readers to see just what it takes and this doesn't even take into account the time you spent writing your story...and consuming chocolate sandwich cookies :) Very excited to read Close To You!!

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    1. Thanks for dropping by, Natalie. Hoping it will be your process soon too! Hope the editing is going well :)

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  6. Yes Kara, I went through this three years back and was amazed at how often I did rewrites and edits - especially as I'd done 14 rewrites or edits on my own before submitting it to a private professional editor - all before submitting it to the publisher. What a challenge!

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  7. Kara, thanks for sharing your publishing experience with us :) The wait will be worth it!

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