Ladies and Gentlemen, it is with great pleasure and a fragile hold on reality that I inform you that, by the time you read this post, Book 2 in the Space Between series will be in the editing phase. A few minutes ago I finished typing “STILL NOT THE END” at the bottom of page 245 and sent the manuscript of The Realm Below: The Rise of Tanipestis off to Glen for printing. And now, just as it did before The Space Between was published, it’s dawning on me that the writing is the easy part.
Oh, sure, there’s no question that writing is hard. Over the past weeks of intense work and terrible sleep patterns, my mind has suffered a catastrophic failure and my brain would fit in a teaspoon (how’s this? I just typed “catastrotic” and it looked perfectly fine to me). But that’s nothing compared to the work that’s looming in the coming months. There’s still a long road ahead to get this book published. And judging by my emotional state last time, I expect I’ll have two or three nervous breakdowns along the way. (Some of you readers out there have also published books in the last year or two. I’d love to hear how the process affected you.) Here are the steps that come next (and I might have missed some):
1. Starting as soon as I finish this blog post, I read the printed manuscript for consistency, continuity, loose ends, etc.
2. I start again at the beginning with the document on my laptop, doing a line-by-line edit, correcting typos, simplifying sentence structure and fixing any problems I found in step 1. This of course means I’m rereading it.
3. I email the manuscript to The Daughter. Katie is my first outside editor, reading for all the same issues that I have supposedly addressed already in steps 1. and 2. She never fails to find things I’ve missed.
4. While Katie is busy doing that, I’ll reread The Space Between to be certain I haven’t introduced inconsistencies or contradictions in the sequel. And not for the first time, I will tear my hair out and ask myself why I thought it was a good idea to write a series.
5. Katie emails her suggestions to me, we argue over some of them and I make the necessary adjustments.
6. I email the manuscript to the insightful and indomitable Mindy Reed, the first of my editors at the wonderful The Authors’ Assistant, my editorial/promotional firm. She does the developmental edit.
7. At some point I send my cover artist, the very talented Heidi Dorey, a representative chapter so that she can begin working up some cover designs.
8. I get the manuscript back with Mindy’s suggestions, reread it and make the necessary adjustments.
9. I email the manuscript back to The Authors’ Assistant for the first of two rounds of copy editing.
10. By now I’ve suffered major hair loss and catastrotic failures of important organs due to sheer boredom with the material, but nevertheless I get the manuscript back, reread it and make the necessary adjustments.
11. I begin meeting often with my publicist, the indispensable Danielle Hartman Acee (also of The Authors’ Assistant), who has a winning smile and the courage and ferocity of a tiger. Which is good, because I’m a complete wimp. She formats the manuscript for e-book and maps out a battleplan to send the book [irony alert!] rocketing into the bestseller stratosphere. We choose and finalize the cover design, do something or other I can’t recall with the Library of Congress, settle on a publication date and get the printer to whip me up a proof copy to check for any last-second glitches. And I . . . will . . . reread . . . it. Even if it kills me.
12. And then, so help me, I start writing Book 3 in the series. Brain or no brain. Whew.
It’s coming. Eventually.