Writers On Writing- Once you finish the first draft, what is the process before publishing?
Once you finish the initial manuscript, what is the process that follows.
That is exactly where I’m at right at this moment.
Usually, there is a lot of sleepless night and nail biting, while I attempt to be patient, so that is how this blog series got started… it gives me a chance to be distracted while I wait! And I love your questions! It makes me stop and think about things I never really thought about before… so, here is the answer to Louise S.'s question:
Once I type “the end” on a manuscript, I celebrate with coffee ice-cream. It’s no easy task to finish a full-length story. (for me, anyway!) I don’t type those two little words until I really am finished. I read and re-read and fill out the dull moments, add a bit more character background, turn on a few more senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste) and hopefully catch any “unanswered questions” before my editor does.
After my mini celebration is complete, and I usually rest a day just to make sure nothing else is going to come to me… then I send it off to three different editors.
One reads for continuity. Makes sure the story flows, that one chapter isn’t moving to slowly, unanswered questions, all my characters are real and have emotions and individuality…. So on and so forth.
The other two are checking for grammatical errors. Spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, (…blasted prepositional phrases…)
One goes through it, then passes it on to the other one and they duke out any discrepancies each other might have had. Plus, my mother always gets the first copy of anything I write. Always.
While all that is going on, I begin the marketing. I create the copy that will go on the back of the book, as well as several blurbs that will be used for memes, for catalog references, and the snippets you see on the webpages when you google something.
This is also when I usually have an author photo shoot (if need be) and I am scouting for the front cover photo as well as putting together the front cover either by myself or with a designer’s help.
When the photos come back, I sift through them and decide which can be used for promotion, and which will-never-be-allowed-to-be-seen again! (Lol) An author photo is chosen and several memes are created, either directly about the book, directly about the author, or sometimes used as vehicles to “get my face and name out in front of people”.
I write down several promotional ideas that I think would work best with the newest book and see how many I can move on. (This is my weakest link. I have such a difficult time marketing my work. I am proud of it, I want you to read it, and I have the best intentions but the worst follow-through when it comes to marketing.) I attempt to make a timeline and desperately try to stay on it...
When my manuscript returns to me all marked up and bloody (red ink everywhere) I go back through and make the necessary corrections. When it comes to grammar, I don’t question it, I just do what they tell me. But sometimes when it comes to striking full paragraphs or thoughts, I have the final say. They can give me their opinion, but I get to decide one way or another. In this area, everyone can have a different opinion, and sometimes my manuscripts reflect just that!!
Once the corrections are made, then I go through the most tedious, irritating, draining process of formatting. Yes, I do this myself, because I am poor (read this article for more info on that!) and I CAN do it, it just takes time. It does take a lot of time, a lot of pizza and a lot of Pepsi to push through those long hours.
Then, it gets sent off to the publisher to have a “PROOF” created. This is a mock-up of what my book is going to look like. It gets sent back to at least one of the editors to make sure they didn’t miss anything or I didn’t create new problems while fixing the old problems. It tells me if every thing looks nice and neat and readable. For example, I always like my first chapters to begin on the right page (not the left) and if I put in all the legal mumbo jumbo correctly.
Necessary corrections are made. If another PROOF is needed, we go through the process again. If not… off to the publisher… and wait.
I am usually assigned a “Release Date” but more often than not, I can kind of call when I want it out. (Give or take a week or two).
When the first set of books are delivered to me, there is much joy and dancing, more ice cream… and more dancing.
Hopefully, there are already people anticipating the release of my books and initial sales are high. (Amazon likes that and rewards me with more exposure of my new release!) That’s where all that marketing that I don’t like to do would really pay off.
And so the marketing continues… forever. Even as I am creating new works, I am supposed to continually not let my other creations get too far out of your mind’s eye lest they be forgotten…
And the process begins again. The feeling never gets old when I open the box and see my latest book in actual, physical form right there in front of me. It is a feeling that feeds my soul and sends so much oxytocin to my brain & heart that it feeds me until I get another new box with another new book and am willing to do that and go through all the hard times over and over to have that feeling again. And until that stops happening, I cannot foresee myself ever stop writing.
In case you’ve missed the other posts in this series, Writer’s on Writing…
Why aren’t you rich?
Do you have a muse or inspiration?
How do you come up with new book ideas?
Do you have a question for this author? I’d love to hear from you! Add a comment below or shoot me a message!
How do you come up with stories and book ideas?
Stories are people. People are fascinating creatures. I find stories in the most interesting of places. I love a good story myself, and so it’s easy for me to craft one when there are some good, strong characters to build around.
If I were to publish a book every year… even twice a year, I wouldn’t run out of ideas. New ones come into play at the very least once a month.
In order for me to commit an idea into a book though, I do have a process. I write down the initial outline and mull it over for a while. If it fleshes itself out; if the characters start invading my thoughts and the story idea grows on it’s own, I’ll make a concentrated effort to see where it will go. However, I do not put pen to paper unless the idea has a beginning, middle and end with at least two strong characters.
It’s interesting to see where the story goes once I start the writing process, and sometimes I am quite surprised with the turns it takes.
Ideas are all around me. I meet a lot of interesting people. I read a lot of history and I believe that everyone has a story. I love the opportunity to draw people’s stories out and then create something brand new.
Not to mention, there are so many things that interest me. And when I find something that grabs my attention, I feel the need to share it with others either in a teaching/educational way, or in story form. Being a teacher at heart, my brain automatically breaks information down into new teachable ways. So there are a lot non-fiction books, educational series, e-courses and workshops I haven’t even allowed myself to get started as yet, but they are there.
I have a jar of slips of paper with different plots and outlines and character names tucked (squished) inside. If I were ever to get bored and not have a fresh story on the tip of my fingertips, I could always go to my reserve jar. These are ideas that I just came up with on a whim and thought might be interesting some day, or a plot that is outside of my genre and would be fun to tackle to shake things up a bit. Some are there to remind me just how much my imagination can really come up with! Some will never see the light of a printed page, but others wait patiently for my current dozen or so projects to be complete. Yes, I do usually have about a dozen irons in the proverbial fire at any given time. Yes, it slows down my work/completion rate, so I am trying to only focus on three at a time. It seems to be helping. I am much more productive this way. But my brain doesn’t slow down. It doesn’t know that I’m trying to get things done. It is constantly conjuring and creating and looking for new ways to express itself through my hand. It obviously thinks I have more time.
I’m going to need a new jar soon…
My non-fiction ideas have a binder. There I tuck away scraps of information supporting my thought-process along with notes that I come up with to eventually add to the research. In non-fiction, I have to be more strict when compiling outlines because those turn into chapters and makes the assigning of all of my collected information so much easier. Please don’t ask how many binders I have…
God willing, I will be writing for a very, very long time.
In case you missed it...
How come you aren't rich?
Do you have a muse or an inspiration?
Writers on writing
Do you have a question you'd like to submit?? Add it in the comments below or shoot me a message!
Follow Elizabeth on Facebook!