Friday, November 17, 2017

Learning the process - content edits

On Nov. 8th, I got my "content edits" back from the editor for Danger Tastes Dreadful. I must admit, I was quite nervous, but I needn't have been. She made some very helpful suggestions, including a rewrite of one scene, but didn't think anything major needed changing. Thank goodness, as I am very busy at work.

Of course, this does not mean I sat down and made all the necessary changes immediately. I went in and tweaked the small stuff she identfied, and then read all the comments and put it away. Every few days, I go back and work on it a bit, letting myself think through some of the deep topics such as "how can there be eels if they are so far from the ocean". A perfectly good question, and it happened to mean some changes in four different parts of the novel, including a couple new lines for a song they sing.

I need to be done by December 1st, which should be no trouble at all. If there were more significant changes, we'd probably go back and forth a lot in December, but I would guess it will be fairly straightforward since the changes I've made will be so relatively minor.

Then on to copy-edits! Also, they've told me that the book will be released in August. Not great for summertime middle grade reading, but perhaps well suited to homeschool reading curricula.

I've been very happy with the Electric Eighteens, a group of authors with their YA/MG debut in 2018. There's been a ton to learn, and a lot of perspective on how the publishing journey doesn't get that much easier, even with your first book deal in place. A few general notes I post here so I'll remember them:

  • A multi-book deal for unrelated books (as opposed to a series) means you have to satisfy the editor with subsequent books, which can be harder than it sounds.
  • Agents are great, except when they're not.
  • Not all publishers are transparent with their authors, not about the size of print runs, and not even about little things like when they schedule giveaways. Be prepared to be caught unawares.
  • Writing a first book is hard, and may take years. Writing a subsequent book is often even harder, but faces short deadlines and high expectations.

Aside from finishing up the developmental edits, I am starting to think about marketing. Most of that is on me, and I am increasingly certain that it is better to focus on a few things and places rather than spreading too thin. Social media is all well and good, but developing contacts and allies in libraries and bookstores and schools may be more important, especially for a lower MG book like mine. School visits, or homeschool talks, may be the best way to reach out. Even then, MG books seem to take a while to grow, so patience and persistence are necessary. (As in all of this, I'm afraid.)