Have you ever wondered what exactly happens after an author submits a story and a publisher accepts it? Well, I’m not an expert, and I can only speak for my own experiences with e-publishing. Other authors may have very different experiences. But here is mine.
1. The author has read, polished, re-read and re-polished the story and submits it to a publisher.
Let’s pretend that the publisher decides they want to offer a contract for the book with no pre-contract revisions requested. (Sometimes a publisher may think the story has promise, but they want to see some changes before they accept the book.)
2. In a few days or a week, the publisher sends a contract to the author to sign. Contracts differ from publisher to publisher. The author reads over the contract, makes sure s/he has no questions or concerns (The house I’m with, Liquid Silver Books, has a very straight forward, easy to read contract) and if s/he is satisfied, the author signs the contract and returns it to the publisher.
3. The publisher sends a Cover Art form to the author. The author describes his/her characters, perhaps some key scenes from the story etc, and returns it to the publisher.
4. After a month or three the editor contacts the author and the editing process begins. This might take a couple months, depending on how many times the editor and author go through the story. My editor did a first pass to have me correct some grammer and basics, and then a second pass to add some more description and round out some scenes, and a third polishing pass.
5. The artist turns in his/her initial mock up cover art and the publisher sends it to the author. The author may make some suggestions or want some changes made. These suggestions may or may not be accepted. The author has limited control over his/her cover.
6. The author writes a blurb about the story, about 100 words. It should tell a reader what to expect and “hook” them so they’ll want to read it.
7. Final cover art is submitted and approved. The publisher sends it to the author. The author (that is to say, ME) will show it off to everyone, even complete strangers, and post it on their website or blog.
8. Final Line Edits are sent to the author. The copy editor is probably a different person than the previous editor. This is the final edit to catch any spelling and grammar errors, and perhaps some details that may detract from the story.
9. The author is given a Release Date. S/he may do some special blogging or other types of promotion for the new book.
10. The book comes out!
11. Royalties come pouring in. (Hopefully. 🙂 But for someone like me who has never been paid for writing, even a small check is exciting.)
For most epublishers the time from signing the contract to release is around 6 months. My first book was 4 months two weeks from signing the contract to the release date. Right now I’m at step 3 for Wolf’s Glory, and have Tracking Tami about 1/3 of the way written in rough draft.
I’ve always loved to write. Now it’s a job, so I have to take it more seriously and be sure I can meet deadlines. Sometimes it seems a little less fun and more like work, but I still love it.