Q06: Editorial Process

(This post is part of a larger subseries entitled Perpetual WIPs: Pre-Pub Authors. To see the rest of the questions posed, click here.)

Can you briefly describe the editorial process so far, as well as what you anticipate/have been told to expect? How long is your process expected to be from offer to publication?

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Gah! An interminable wait! I got the offer in late September, announced in early October (2012) and my pub date has already pushed from Summer ’14 to Fall ’14. My contracts arrived in January 2013 and according to it, my first book is due July 2013. I’ve yet to receive an edit letter.

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I haven’t gotten my first editorial letter yet, but from what I’ve been told, it’ll be an extensive letter (7-10 pages-ish) with line edits on the MS as well. Once I’m done with that, there will be another round of edits! It sounds like, from sale to publication, it’ll take between a year and a year and a half. One thing I was surprised to hear was that usually (at my publisher, at least), all major edits need to be done a whole year before the pub date, so it sounds like I’ll have a more specific pub date once I’m further into revisions.

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I received my letter and marked up manuscript about four months after my deal was announced. The marked up MS looks a lot like line edits might look, but your first MS is so far off from the finished version of your book that I don’t even call those line edits. The mark up is really just an exemplified version of your letter. So far my expectations have been true, except that the process is much more intensive than I expected. People who read my book prior to selling read a different book than what will be on shelves. All in all the process from selling to pub should take a few months shy of two years.

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I should be receiving my edit letter very soon, and I’m excited for that! Line edits and copy-edits will follow, though I’m not sure what the exact time frame will be yet. I know my publisher hopes to publish my book in Spring 2014, which would be about a year and a half after my offer back in November 2012.

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I had a tricky situation because I had an editor switch in the process. So my first pass edits were delayed (by almost 6 months) and then when i did them, they were fast and furious (2 week turnaround). I have heard people usually have more time, but my book is short and was very clean because I had done several edit passes with my agent and a pre-edit pass with my first editor. My 2nd pass edit was even shorter. I think I got changes back to her in 4 days. Again, I have been told that i am very unusual in this. I got my copyedits a few weeks later, and my arcs a month after that, and now I’m waiting for “final pages” to do a thorough read-through. So it took 11 months from offer to first pass edits (with a pre-edit letter coming about 6 months after offer) and the entire process from offer to publication will actually be 2 years (almost to the day). I think this is on the longer side but several factors came into this including holidays and a decision about when a good season for my release actually was. Lots of things to consider.

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Apart from some wonderfully productive phone conversations, I’m too early in the process to speak to this – still awaiting my first edit letter and trying not to bite my fingernails down to nubs.

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Immediately after the deal was made, I did a rewrite to remove/change several subplots. Though initially the revisions were only supposed to encompass four of the first eight chapters, it turned into a pretty massive project. The new version is up for the first round of true edits this month and I believe I’ll still have plenty more changes to make. It’s important to remember that you’re editors are there to help you and, in this kind of a relationship, the cliche “pick your battles” holds very true. Don’t fight them on every little change or you’ll end up making everyone miserable. Overall, my process from offer to publication will be just about 21 months. 

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So far I’ve had wonderful phone calls with my editor as she goes through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb. Since my book comes out in the farther future, we’re going slowlyyyy, which is fine with me!

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I am just finishing up my edits now, having got them just before Christmas to hand in by the end of Jan. It’s been quite an easy process – luckily I agree with almost everything my editor suggested, and for the bits that I didn’t (which were minor), I just explained why I didn’t want to change them and she understood. After this edit, I think the copy editor will have a look over to check consistency and find any typos, and then the book is ready to be made into a proof/ARC! My book will be published about a year after the deal was made.

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The editorial process so far has been both incredible and awful. My editor is phenomenal and her ideas and criticisms are always spot on. The process started with a “launch” call, where everyone involved with the book (my editors, other reps from my publisher, my agent and myself) talked through the expected timeline for my novel (and for its sequels). Then my editor contacted me with a three page single spaced developmental edit. To say it was intimidating is a total understatement, but after reading through it and discussing it with her at length, I dove into my first revision. And that’s the awful part. Revision-real revision-is really hard, harder than anything I’ve ever done before. I’m awaiting my second round of edits any day now and I’m both terrified and excited to see my editor’s notes. After this revision, it’s likely we’ll do a line-edit and then another read through followed by copy edits! From offer of publication to actual publication, it will be about ten months, which is a relatively short time span compared to most book deals.

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I’ve gotten my revision letter at this point, and we’ll have another go ’round before copyediting. As for offer-to-pub timeline: almost 2 years! I don’t plan to age during that time, though 😉

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