Proposal to Publication – Part 3 of 5
The Writing & Editing Stage
* Now that the contract is finished, you should have some interaction with an editor who will outline your writing/editing schedule and expectations.
* You also should receive some kind of “welcome packet” from the publisher, a written set of author-instructions telling you about style requirements, permissions, and other aspects of the manuscript. They’ll probably give you an overview of their process (similar to what I’m telling you in this series).
* You will be given a period of time in which to finish writing and deliver your manuscript. This can vary from a couple of months to six months or more, depending on the project. If it’s complete and you aren’t planning on revising until you receive editorial notes, then you will deliver your manuscript immediately.
* Once you’ve delivered the manuscript, there’s normally another period of time for editing. This varies widely between publishers but might be a few weeks to a few months. There may be a developmental (or substantive) edit. This is where your editor gives you an editorial memo detailing big-picture issues that need to be fixed. Some editorial memos are five pages long; others run to 20 pages or more. This is normal for published authors so don’t freak out! You will be expected to revise your manuscript according to the editor’s notes. (Just a warning: Most authors find this stage, when they get their editorial memo, to be difficult emotionally. They’ve already slaved over their book for months or years, only to feel like it’s being torn apart. This is normal, even for multi-published authors. Allow yourself some time to feel the pain. Then get to work.)
* Once you’ve completed your revision, there should be a bit more time for a line edit. This time, your editor will be working in your manuscript itself. They’ll make changes in your document, offering suggestions and comments about wording, sentences, grammar, inconsistencies, POV, believability… you name it, they’ll comment on it. You’ll receive your manuscript back electronically with the notes and changes embedded (most editors use Track Changes in Word). You’ll go through and make revisions accordingly. There may be a back-and-forth process between you and your editor until the manuscript is polished and complete.
* You’ll want to make sure you make all the changes you want during this time; it’s most likely your last chance, except for typos.
* Congratulations, the hard part is finished!
Next up: Pre-Production