Monday, June 23, 2014

Patience, Grasshopper

Patience, Grasshopper, by Ally Robertson

I know, I know, publishing a book is exciting stuff. Especially your first book. Although, as an author myself, I understand that the excitement never goes away with future books, and you're hyper anxious to get your baby out into the world. And, with each step, you want to rush, rush, rush, from edits to cover art to an approved galley. But, what we authors must understand is, in order to put the best product we can out there, we need to take our time and make sure we give it plenty of sunshine and love so it can grow into a healthy, beautiful rose. (I'm not, by any means, a gardening kind of person, but that metaphor works, right?)

Edits: Your editor has many other projects going at one time; you are not the only rose in his or her garden. So, please be patient as you wait for that first round of edits. Then, once you receive it, PLEASE do not rush through the changes and send the MS back the next day. If you don't keep your edits at least a week, and preferably two weeks, not only are you returning them earlier than your editor is planning to schedule the next round, but your editor will think you didn't take the time to really work on your story, the time required to make it shine. And, failing to do so will only result in MORE rounds of edits, therefore slowing down the very process you're trying to rush.

Cover Art: Our artists are fabulous, and they are very, very busy. Seeing a cover for the first time is probably the most exciting part of the process, other than actual release, but if you want the best cover an artist can provide, please be patient. Also, please understand that emailing your editor about the cover does no good at all. We receive the email with the preliminary cover art at the same time you do. So, we don't know a thing before that point. Filling our inbox with questions will only slow down the parts of the process we DO have control over.

Copy Edits: This is a final read to catch minor errors that you and your editor missed. The MS should be almost perfect before it gets to this step. It's very important to take your time and correct as many errors as possible before your story reaches copy edits, if you want this step to go quickly and smoothly.

Galleys: Yes, I understand, you're sick of reading your story. We're sick of reading it, too, but we want it as error-free as possible before we send it in for release. So, in order to prevent having to read it over and over, make sure that you are extremely thorough in your review. One tip I give to my authors is to read it backward—last page to first—as this will help you catch things you normally wouldn't catch, because you will be seeing the actual words that are there, rather than being caught up in the story. The better job you do of finding errors, the fewer number of times you'll have to read your galley. The ultimate responsibility of providing an error-free manuscript lies with the author. We need your stamp of approval before we can move to the final phase. But, we need to make sure you are approving a near perfect version of your MS.

And, finally, release dates. We stare at our computer, day after day, waiting until we see that email come up announcing our release date (another step your editor knows nothing about ahead of time. You receive the email at the same time he or she does). It's a very exciting process, but even when you find out your release date, there is a wait until the day actually arrives. You know how to fill that time? Work on the next book. There's no better way to get your focus off of the waiting than to become involved in a new story. And, the more you write, the better chance you have of going through this wonderful, grueling, exciting, nail-biting process all over again.

I'm speaking to myself as much as I am to any of you. Because, whether it's from an editor's standpoint or as an author, I'm also very anxious to complete each project. But I have to remind myself, Rome wasn't built in a day, haste makes waste, and patience is a virtue. (Note to self, review manuscript for clich├ęs before sending back to editor)

Ally Robertson
Editor - Crimson Line

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.


19 comments:

Colby Wolford said...

Well said! You did a wonderful job of succinctly summarizing the process and the steps to publishing.

allywildrose said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
allywildrose said...

LOL, I called you Cody, sorry! Thank you, Colby!

Jannine Gallant said...

I'm one of those "get it back way before it's due" authors. Only because I can't focus on anything else until the edits are finished and out of my hands, and I frequently put in 8 hour days working on them. So, I admit to being in the WAY-TOO-SPEEDY camp! LOL Excellent advice, Ally.

allywildrose said...

LOL, getting it back before it's due is fine, as long as an author has put enough work into it, and as long as they don't expect us to turn it around just as quickly. :) You were a dream to work with, so no worries there.

Diane Burton said...

Great post, Ally. The waiting is awful but necessary. Knowing the process helps.

Susan Coryell said...

YIKES! I am so there--waiting with baited breath to see if my sequel to A Red, Red Rose will be published by TWRP. Does anyone else get butterflies in the stomach when pulling up email to see the verdict? And this is NOT my first book. Thanks for giving us the other side of the issue and thanks for being such a great editor.

RT Wolfe said...

Dear Ally,
It's so hard to know where to draw that line, isn't?
-R.T. Wolfe

Liz Flaherty said...

I'm like Jannine--I can't rest till they're done!

Eliza March said...

I shared your article on Facebook because there are so many authors there who can benefit from your article.

MJ Schiller said...

Cute post, Alicia! I love the way you ended it!

Carol Henry said...

Taking a break from reading my galley to agree with Jannine--I block out large blocks of time to concentrate on the whole story and edits when they come my way, so I typically get them back way early. I agree with you Ally in regards to reading the edits one more time. I always tell other writers that you better love your story because you're going to be reading it--a lot! :)

Alicia Dean said...

Thank you, ladies. I appreciate the visits and the kudos. :) Eliza, I'm so glad you felt it was worth posting. Have a great day!

cjbahr said...

Excellent post! Thanks for the explanations. I'm in the middle of it right now: just had my first look at the cover art and waiting for my second set of editor notes/changes. I'm so squealing inside and out!

allywildrose said...

Congratulations, CJ...yes, it's a very exciting process. And, it makes us SO anxious! Best wishes. :)

Leah St. James said...

Love this: "Yes, I understand, you're sick of reading your story. We're sick of reading it, too...." I'm so glad you said that! I always wonder how I can possibly get through another reading of the same story! Reading backwards is a fantastic tip.

Lynda Coker said...

Loved this article. I'm definitely not in the too speedy category. I force myself to slow down. If I find myself overlooking obvious errors, I take a few days break so that I can begin again with a new perspective.

Diana Rubino said...

Great informative article, Ally. I didn't realize taking up to 2 weeks to do edits was better than getting it right back to the editor--I always want her to think I'm efficient and can meet deadlines! I will remember that hint, surely!
I've been very happy as one of TWRPs roses! Diana

Barbara Weitz said...

I agree with all the comments here. As an author for The Wild Rose Press, I'm happy to see this post. Although my books haven't flown off the shelf, I've never considered doing this. I don't even like it when I see mega-star authors re-publishing books that are ten years old or more. I feel when publishers do this, it undermines newer writers (like me ) from having a chance to win readership. And like many of you have said, I feel ripped off.

That said, I do understand authors trying to breathe new life into a book they didn't feel reached enough readers for some reason (bad cover sometimes heads the list), so I guess it's a Catch 22. Although I'd also like a chance to change a few things in my books or covers, I try to look at it as this is my journey, warts and all, and hope the next book will the be breakout book.