Publishing Tales: So You Were Accepted, Now What?

Publishing Tales: So You Were Accepted, Now What?

Every agent is different as is every publisher, so these are mere generalizations based off what I hear and what I've gone through. The stage I'm discussing here is after you signed the contract with the publisher. Since I decided not to go the agent route, I'll leave those steps up to those more knowledgeable about the process.

There are stages to the editing process and they might happen in a different order, but the generalization is developmental editing, copyediting, and proofing. But it is not as simple as that.

Here's the breakdown:

Get in the queue: You just signed and most new authors expect to get right to it. Nope. You just signed. Your contract said the book would come out in a year or more. You wait. While you're waiting, write another book.

Developmental edits: This stage is looking at the plot and making sure it is sound, looking for holes and major discrepancies. It also looks at other aspects like character arcs and structural aspects. This is usually done first because there is no sense line editing material that might change. In this round--sometimes it does happen later--there is a continuity checker too. By the time you leave this round 2-3 editors have seen it.

Back in the queue: What are you doing? Continue writing that second book!

Copy edits: This round is the nuts and bolts of grammar, wording, mechanics, etc. These rounds depend on the author's skill, so sometimes a lot has to be fixed and sometimes less, but rarely will it be little. Most authors are shocked by the markups but even the best writers just can't self-edit and often overlook their mistakes. Can't tell you how many times I want to smack myself in the face for being a hypocrite who made the same mistake in my manuscript that I just marked in a student's paper.

Your part is done: Finish that second book, seriously!

Proofing: This is the stage where last minute checks for any typos or formatting issues before it is sent to print. I've always had the publishers do this part. 

These are not clear-cut stages. Because I am a decent editor myself, my publisher tackles developmental and editing together just fixing things that stand out. I run in behind them to accept things, but other things pop out to me and I fix them. They approve. I have to add things, so make new typos or errors. The process repeats until we are finished, so it's like 2 rounds in one. Strenuous, but makes the job quicker for the second editor who also serves as a blind beta, meaning they are not privy to any info as first editor about what will happen. I love this part, seeing if they can guess where I'm headed or not. They catch anything that slipped by us in round 1-2. Then the continuity editor checks and always finds my timeline errors. (I am horrid with time; can't even conceptualize or keep track of it well in real life.) I fix these mistakes, and any little things found. Then it goes off to be formatted then proofed and I wait until it comes out. Overall, the book is examined about 5 rounds over that year wait.

Hope this gave you some insight and a little more patience with waiting. Just remember, when they aren't working on yours, they are working on another author's.