Today I’m welcoming friend and fellow author, Eric Trant.
His latest book, Wink, is a powerful and moving tale. Eric sent me a copy to read, and while it’s not my usual genre, the story has been riveting and my heart goes out to the main character, a boy named Marty.
Take it away, Eric!
First off, I will assume you read L. Diane's Book How to Publish and Promote Your Book NOW! She tells you everything you need to know about promotion, and spends a great deal of time discussing self-publishing.
I also will assume you know how to query. If not, check out The QQQE by Matthew MacNish. I bet you already have that link, because you are a smart and astute writer, aren't you.
I will further assume you know how to seek out agents and publishers. If not, try Agent Query, and don't forget to research the publishers of your favorite authors. For instance, I found WiDo Publishing through my friend Summer Ross. So don't forget to network, and be nice to your fellow bloggers and writers.
What I want to discuss is that gray area between acceptance and publication. We skip that process in most of our writerly discussions, and yet this is the birth of your story! Your first draft is foreplay before you reach the real action. Revisions are the act of creation, those months of pounding away at your computer, sweating, grunting, suffering through fits of agony and ecstasy, those months of saying to people, "I'm trying to write a story." When that part's over, when the seed is planted -- and that's the fun part, isn't it, all those months of trying -- now comes the gestation period where you query and wait, query and wait.
Then that letter comes and your water breaks and in walks your editor to help you bring your baby into this world! But these labor pains don't last a few hours. Nope, Dear Writer, these pains last weeks and months.
Dear Editor will first say to you: "Give me a few days to read your story."
She will read it and send back her suggestions. These will consist of modifying chapter lengths, enhancing scenes, adding snappier segues, cutting or adding the book to a specified length, along with making some high-level formatting changes. No big deal.
"That was easy!" Those are your first thoughts, but this is only the initial contraction, my friend. You modify as requested, slap your hands together and do that same thing you did after the first draft, after the first and second and fifteenth revisions, after that acceptance letter and now after your editor is finished with your book. You lean back in your writer's chair, drink a beer or a glass of wine or a shot of Jack, and you tell your friends and family you're finished with your book.
Then comes the second wave of contractions. These arrive in the form of an email from Dear Editor. You open the draft to see a bloody mess of red-lettered edits, comments, and on every page and every paragraph there is something to be edited! These hurt, but you suffer through them, and at the end you do that thing again, have your drink, and you tell your friends and family that you're finished with your book.
Then comes the third wave of contractions. You suffer. You edit. After two more rounds of this Dear Editor finally says to you, "Okay, that looks good!"
You have your drink, and you tell your friends and family you're finished with your book, finally, that it is ready to be published! You cut the cord and prepare to reap the benefits of being a published author.
Then you get a note from someone claiming to be in layout. A Layout Editor? Surely they don't require edits. Do they?
Yes, they do. Amid the afterbirth of your novel with the book wailing in the background your Layout Editor asks you to modify your chapter headings. She asks that you refrain from using so much profanity. She requests that you rename a couple of characters, tone down a scene so it can be marketed as Young Adult, please rewrite your forward and afterward, and by the way, can you write the cover description? And we need a few more titles to choose from, because A Day in the Life of Someone More Interesting is too long. Can you send me an author picture? I need two, actually, and how does this cover art look?
You thought you were finished, and you're still sore and throbbing from the pain inflicted by Dear Editor, but you soldier through it, and when you receive those author copies in the mail, ten of them tightly bound and God Almighty are they beautiful! When you receive them you say to your friends and family, "There! I'm finished!"
You say that because, apparently, you did not read L. Diane Wolfe's book on promotion.
See more of Eric's work at his site, or order directly from Amazon or wherever books are sold.