Everyone goes through this process differently.
1) every contract is different, even if with the same publisher.
2) every book, every author, everything is different.
Therefore, I can only speak intelligently (or, at least, fake it) about my own process. But, I have it on good authority, that most processes are similar, for the most part. Sort of.
::Pulls out handy-dandy portable time-machine::
Back in 2007 I started writing what would become HENRY FRANKS. Five years ago. By 2008 it had been revised and edited a number of times. By 2009 it was still being revised. My News Years Resolution for Dec. 31, 2009 was that starting Jan. 1, 2010 I was going to get to work on a query letter and see what happened.
Over 2 years since I started writing the book. The first draft was finished in less than 2 months. So, about 24+ months of editing. Some writers (most?) edit/revise faster. Some slower. Could I have sent out queries after 12 months of editing? Yes.
Would it have been a good idea?
Um…no. The book wasn’t ready. Looking back at what’s happened since I sent out that very first query I can honestly say that the book wasn’t ready then either. But I didn’t know that at the time.
So, Jan. 2010. I sent out exactly ONE query letter. Or, really, what passed for a query letter at the time. I lucked into an opportunity to send a pseudo-query email to an agent. She was interested enough to request a partial and the rest is history. In other words, I never really wrote or sent a query letter on this book. This is NOT a normal part of the process. Most writers at this stage have a paragraph or two on rejected query letters (which I have on previous attempts to find an agent for other manuscripts).
At this point it was back to revisions until the book was ready to go out on submission. Then more revisions, more submissions, then SOLD. Then, more revisions.
::steps out of the time-machine::
There are less than 4 months to go until Henry Franks is published. Over the past 13 months since I signed the contract most of what I’ve done for/with the book is more revisions. There was brief flurry of activity a few months ago when the cover art was revealed. A little bit when the ARC arrived.
But now…now the fun really begins.
T-Minus Four Months.
The other day a rather heavy box arrived with 1000 postcards (literally the exact size of the book, so they’re sizable) with a beautiful glossy picture on one side of the cover and, on the back, a blurb and a tag line and a number of links to different web sites for the book.
I’m fielding interview requests and setting up things that aren’t going to happen for months. All book-related.
If I wasn’t moving next month I’d be off to the American Library Association annual convention to sign ARCs but, unfortunately, won’t be able to make it. Though there will be a good supply of the Henry Franks ARC for those who’d like one.
This has been, from day one, an achingly slow process. Lots of waiting. Lots of nothing-to-do intermittently broken up with deadlines and thrills: The first glimpse of the cover, the first time I held the ARC in my hands.
T-Minus Four Months.
I can honestly say that I’m not really sure what all is in store for me over the next four months where the book is concerned. But I’m loving every minute of it and will welcome all the company I can get if you’d like to follow along for the ride.
What happens next? No clue. I just finished the Proof Queries (the final set of questions and concerns about the manuscript) and sometime this month I should receive a PDF of the Final Version of the book prior to going to press that I’ll get to read over and see if there’s any last minute changes to make. After that? That’s the end of FIVE years of editing and revisions. No more changes. No more tweaks. Nothing but more waiting for September.
So, that’s next. After that? Again, no clue.
But I’ll let you know…