The Publishing Process, From My Perspective

January 15, 2010

On Monday, November 23rd, I mailed my “Spooky North Dakota” manuscript (on a CD; no paper except the original signed photo releases) plus all the extra files (marketing contacts, biography, about the book, picture file, caption file, and on and on) to my publisher by overnight mail. Since I’m in the middle of nowhere, North Dakota, and they’re in the middle of nowhere, Pennsylvania, “overnight” translated to “second day” delivery, but that still beat the December 1 deadline for submission.

I’m not sure what I was expecting at that point. I knew that my “writing process” editor would be replaced with a book editor (which I’m not sure I’m happy about; I feel like I have a really good relationship with that first editor and working with her would have been so much easier! but we’ll see). I also knew that the first editor would go through my submission and make sure everything they needed was there before passing it on. On the following Monday (Nov. 30th) I sent two more photos and a revised caption list by email, since I HAD the two more photos by then (foolish oversight on my part the first time, but not a problem). And was told that my book would go to one of five editors who’d be handling the 25+ manuscripts that were due on the 1st.

Now it’s January 15th. I still haven’t heard from a new editor, and I am so ready to make whatever revisions I need to do (and I know of one typo that somehow both my first reader and I missed, despite the many times we went through each chapter; I also need to make a change in one story and give the real people false names because they’ve decided they don’t want the world to know it’s their house that’s haunted — which I understand because I did the same thing!).

I guess I didn’t expect much in December; there were holidays coming up, and probably “the editors” were just getting the books and deciding what order to do them in. Apparently they do one at a time, which seems strange to me, especially since the “Writers Guidelines” stressed the importance of speed in getting the “ready to print” manuscripts actually ready to print, and said that any time that the editor had to spend “fixing” things (like grammar and spelling) would come out of the author’s miniscule royalties.

But I thought that by mid-January (today, in other words) that I would at least have gotten an email saying “I’m your editor and we’ll start working on (fill in the date). I’m looking forward to working with you!” or words to that effect. But no, nothing yet. Is this typical? I have no way of knowing!

I did hear from the “process” editor, who will be my process editor through Spooky South Dakota (or, help me, Spooky CREEPY South Dakota…), that “Pete” had stopped by her office after looking over the Spooky ND manuscript, and told her that it was too late to switch ND to color photos (which I’d been assuming all along that it would be; some of the photos have exquisite colors, especially the ones in the Badlands) but that he thought South Dakota should be in color. “Pete” is the owner/CEO/President of the publishing company (woo hoo!!! seriously!)

I do realize that it costs a lot more to print in color than in B&W, so I’m wondering what I should think about this (other than that I need a WHOLE lot more photos, as they want one on each page if they’re going to print in color — not a problem). First I thought it was because he thought my North Dakota manuscript was so good. Then I thought it was because he thought South Dakota would sell better (let’s face it: South Dakota has a LOT more tourism than North Dakota, and in all those gift shops at National and State Parks, it should do well). Either way, I think it shows a faith in my ability to write it well and finish it on time. Can anybody with experience respond to that? Is it me, or is it the Black Hills and Mount Rushmore?

Either way, I’d hoped to be working at revisions by now, so that it would be over with well before I’m nose-deep in research for South Dakota. It’ll be late April or May before I can actually go to South Dakota and start getting photos (and on-the-ground research), because of Dakota winters, which are worse in the Black Hills. (Something to do with altitude, maybe?) Honestly, I think at least half the book will be in Black Hills locations. One could write an entire book about haunted Deadwood, I think.

But either way, I’m starting computer and book research for South Dakota, while writing articles for Associated Content (dot-com) where (don’t laugh) I’m now a featured beauty contributor. (Actually you can laugh; what I don’t know about make-up and skincare could fill many volumes; I rarely wear it, and my skin care regimen is pretty basic. Clean and moisturise with Cetaphil, and wear at least a 15 SPF sunscreen when going outside. Different sunscreen –gentler–for face. And if I’ll be outside for more than 5 or 10 minutes at a time, it goes up to 30 SPF, reapplied every 2 hours. That’s it. Pretty simple. No serums, no revitalizing, none of that. Make-up if I feel I must!) But I digress.

I really want to hear from my book editor. REALLY. I’m not going to bug them, since I don’t know who to bug, but I’m really looking forward to finishing that book and having it in my hot little hands!

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3 Responses to “The Publishing Process, From My Perspective”

  1. Nice Posting and Good to see this

  2. Yeah, it’s probably the Black Hills and its assorted sights, but if your talent didn’t shine through as well, you wouldn’t be having these thoughts. Of course anyone looking to have their product known, will try to influence as many people as possible and South Dakota does have an extra drawing card in that folks are more familiar with that state because of the Black Hills and its assorted sights. Still, if readers enjoy your South Dakota book, they’ll be interested in your North Dakota one, too.
    Just keep working. Who knows what ghosts and readers you’ll please in the process. Eunie

  3. leescott58 said

    Thanks, Eunie! That’s encouraging. I hope that both books will sell well, and maybe have a second edition in a few years with more ghost stories! (And I’d rather please the ghosts than anger them!)

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