Timeline of a Book

A few weeks ago I finished my final edits for THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER and promised a blog post about the revision process. The fact that it’s taken me weeks to recover and get around to writing this probably gives you a good idea of how exhausting it was. For those of you who aren’t sure how this crazy publishing thing works, and keep wondering why my book still isn’t out yet even though I’ve been talking about it for months, here’s a basic timeline for you: 

July 2011
Receive offer for three-book series. Yay! Drink too much champagne.

September 2011
Get eight-page revision letter from my editor on “big picture” changes that need to be made. Things like changing a character’s backstory, ramping up the romance, adding a few missing scenes, tightening other scenes that drag. I have six weeks to do this rewrite, and I take every single day but make the deadline.

November 2011
Get my editor’s second revision letter all too soon, after only a week break. How does she work so fast?? This is for smaller changes, like fixing dialogue, tweaking pacing, and verifying historical details. I had two weeks for this revision, which is a heck of a lot easier than the total rewrite of round #1.

December 2011
My editor and I go back and forth a little as we fix the final small tweaks, such as last minute pacing and characterization changes. I submit the final draft in early January.

January 2012
My editor submits the final draft to a copy editor, who will fix all the grammar, historical facts, and consistency problems. I’ll need to review this soon to make sure I agree with all the changes. During this time, HarperCollins is also working on the cover design, cover copy (the description on the back of the book that makes you want to buy it), and starting to gather information for the marketing plan like which famous authors will blurb my book. MEANWHILE, I start drafting Book #2 in the series and work on some marketing stuff like getting my author headshots taken.

February 2012
While waiting for my copyedits to come back from THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER, I keep drafting Book #2. As of today I’m about halfway through writing the first draft, which I’m expecting to be around 90,000 words (350 pages).

March-May 2012
I should have a first glimpse of the cover design at this point and maybe even see “First Pages,” which is the book’s layout and typesetting. Meanwhile, I’ll keep working on drafting and revising Book #2.

June 2012
Sometime over the summer HarperCollins will bind THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER into ARCs (advanced readers copies), which go to select bookstores, media outlets, and reviewers to stir up interest and publicity ahead of the release date. Because magazines set their schedules about six months out, they need ARCs to review at least six months before the book is published. MEANWHILE, hopefully the first draft of Book #2 will be finished and in the hands of critiquers and beta readers, who will give me feedback on what needs to be fixed.

September-December 2012
In September I’ll submit Book #2 to my editor and start the official revision process. During this time I’ll also be working on tons of marketing for THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER and generally getting so excited for the release I regularly hyperventilate. Yay!

January-March 2013
THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER is released! We won’t know the exact date for a few more weeks, but it’ll be early 2013. Big release party at parents’ bookstore in Brevard, NC. (My whole life they’ve wanted me to take over the bookstore, so this is a small consolation prize). And then I’ll start drafting Book #3, and the process repeats…

I hope that helps those of you who aren’t familiar with publishing understand what I do all day and why it takes 1-2 years to get a book published. It’s a fun process with lots of great news and surprises, but it can be crazy stressful too. Every day, I am so thankful that I have the best job ever.