When that magic moment happens, and you've signed your first contract of publication, you feel on top of the world. But then.... the work really begins. Somehow your manuscript is converted into a commercially published book, but there are various stages along the way.
Every book has a few amendments to make before it finds its way onto the press. A in-house editor from the publishers will work with you to ensure the book is in its best shape before it lands into the hands of the reader. If you find your editor's comments upsetting, give yourself time to relax and think carefully. Everyone wants the same thing, the best book. They're all on your side, even if it may not feel like that. So, count to ten, calm down and think objectively. After all, that's what the editor is doing, thinking objectively. Your reaction is only so wild because it's your own sweat and toil that has gone into it so far. Now it's time to be professional. Of course, you should discuss things with your editor, but don't forget that they're the experts in the industry. They know what sells, and why.
Polish your dialogue. It can help build pace, sustain suspense and bring your characters to life. Double check your structure. Ensure everything plot point hangs together and check for inaccuracies. Is your book readable? Strange question but a valid one.
The Final Check
When all the re-writes are complete, it's time to proof read and check. Whilst a professional proof reader will read your manuscript, more than once, you should also take time to carry out this task. After all, you're the writer, you know what should appear on the page. Remember to check every spelling, even those you think you can write with your eyes closed. Punctuation is important. There will always be a reader who knows it back to front, and punctuation mistakes can annoy the reader. If you're too close to your project, step away for a bit (as long as you can, given the deadlines!) and return with a fresh pair of eyes.
Marketing - your brand
If you remember nothing else from this blog, let it be this. NEVER tell your marketers anything you wouldn't happily share with the world. They want to know about you, the author. In this day and age we tend to share everything via social media networks. That brings with it joys, advantages and pleasures, but it also brings danger and a lack of privacy. Remember, share only what you're happy to. Marketers know how to market books, and they will want to use any snippet of information you're happy to give them. They are people like you and I, and they will respect your privacy, but ultimately they're doing a job so be wise from the start. It pays to think about your "public image" or "brand" in advance. Know what you want to tell the world, and be consistent.
It's an exciting time when you first see images of the proposed cover for your book, and in particular your first published novel. Your publishers graphics team will devise the book cover based on the back cover blurb and your combined ideas. The artists may not have read the book so the authors input is essential here. Look at it objectively and think about what it says to a fresh pair of eyes. Ask someone for their first impression. It's surprising how often people see different things.
It's generally thought best not to confess to the following:
- I'm hopeless with technology
- I can only write when, it's quiet/I'm in the mood/I have two cups of tea and stand on one leg
- I'm a terrible public speaker, very shy, an introvert
- I don't want to do book signings, events, interviews
- I hate social media