What happens after a publisher accepts your work?

There’s millions, if not zillions, of articles for unpublished writers, but what about for those people publishing their first novel, who don’t know what to expect? There are a lot less people whose work has been accepted by a publisher, so I guess less people can write about that with any degree of authority, not to mention the fact that less people want to know about it. I thought I’d start with talking about what happens after a publisher accepts your work for publication, giving people an insight into the publication process.

If you start by sending in a proposal, they will read over the proposal and they should either accept your proposal or decline it. If they’ve accepted it, they may suggest changes to make it more marketable. Mandatory changes should be made clear. After you have your proposal back, you can get on with writing (unless you’re really naughty like me, and start writing the bits you know will be fine while you’re waiting to hear back from them).

If you didn’t send in a proposal, you’ll either send in a sample first, or just a complete manuscript. If you did send in a proposal, the next thing you send them is the full manuscript. Make sure you’ve done as much editing as you can to the manuscript before you send it to them; I found this very, very difficult with my first book because I had no idea what needed doing to it. After they’ve got everything, it gets sent to a line editor. The line editor’s job is to go through your work and write notes on any improvements you need to make to your work; some improvements are optional, but some are mandatory. If you’re unsure about whether a change is mandatory or not, ask your editor and they will tell you one way or the other.

Once they’ve written those notes, they will send you back the annotated manuscript, or they’ll send you back the notes separately, and your job as the writer is to make the changes and improvements to your work. Some places give you deadlines for this, others don’t mind. After you’ve made your improvements, they will send your work to a copy editor.

The copy editor is the last person from the publishing house who will see your work; they go through it and format it to in-house style guidelines, and they generally use the Merriam Webster dictionary and the Chicago Manual of Style as a reference for anything that’s questionable. They will also flag up typos and spelling and grammatical errors, inconsistencies (one minute she wears a red hat, the next minute she wears a blue bonnet), and factual errors. After they’ve done that, you should get your work back, at which point you either have to make the copy-editor’s changes or you have to have a damn good reason (“I don’t like that change” isn’t one) to reject their changes – the Big Five Publishers, and some of the smaller ones, will usually expect you to give references to support your reasons for not approving every change made by the copy editor, but check this before sending back reams of information, because some places don’t want that (my current publisher doesn’t). When the copy editor gets it wrong, you need to raise that with someone at your publisher (or get your agent to do this, if you have one).

Once you’ve approved or rejected (with references) the copy edits, you send the work back to the publishers and they start work on the cover. After you’ve seen the cover, it’s natural to get very excited about your forthcoming book. If you like the cover, let them know, and they will get the blurb written and the proofs made up, or if they’re an ebook publisher, this is when it will be prepared to be made available online.

At some point before the book is made available online, you should receive a contract (if you haven’t received one, let them know). The contract is the only thing that protects you from getting royally screwed over by your publisher, so read it carefully and get a lawyer (one who has seen other book contracts, not any old lawyer) to read it over if you’re unsure about anything. Sometimes publishers try it on with their contracts but you have to stand your ground, otherwise you’ll regret it when the book’s a bestseller and you’re not making any money. I got taken for a ride by one publisher, a few years ago, who published my unedited work, lied literally every step of the way, and never paid me the advance. Later, when I tried to get that sorted out, I discovered that I would have to go to somewhere on the East Coast of America to take them to arbitration to get my money back, and that I had to do this within a certain time period, which I’d missed, because they’d spent so long delaying in answering and I’d been too patient. If I’d understood this beforehand, I would have acted sooner to get it resolved, but it was my first book and I didn’t know what to expect from the publication process (hence this article).

If you’ve signed the contract AND RECEIVED THE ADVANCE (if you are in the habit of accepting advances – I am not) then you’re good to get excited about the release date. Many contracts have a clause stating the author must do their best to publicize the novel – there are a bunch of ways you can do this and I’ll talk about them in a future article.

Has your experience of the publication process been different? Let me know in the comments!

My New Book: Warrior… Princess… Submissive…

(NSFW) So after yesterday’s terrible day, today just got worse and worse. Apparently these early pregnancy mood-swings feel like being in a mixed episode. For those of you who don’t know what that is like, you should hope you never have to find out. That’s not what today’s post is about, it’s about my latest book; and my first that I’ve published through Amazon Direct Publishing for Kindle. The process was very straightforward.

My newest book is out now on Amazon Kindle (you can download “Kindle For PC” or the mobile phone app if you don’t own a Kindle – I don’t own one either!) it’s titled Warrior…Princess…Submissive… and it’s pretty self explanatory but here’s the blurb (because I spent time writing it):

“When Macedonian fighting female Karis challenges the enigmatic warlord Damien to a swordfight, she’s confident that she’ll win, so she agrees to let him spank her if she loses. When he defeats her, however, she runs out on the promised spanking, overcome with new emotions that she can’t reconcile with her strong personality. Before she can make things right, she’s tricked into surrendering her army to the evil Hector the Invincible, who puts her in his personal harem, threatening to crush her country with his army if she escapes his clutches. Can the hardened warrior woman accept help from a man, and more importantly, can she learn how to willingly exchange the awesome power she wields?
“Set in Ancient Greece, this genre-busting story will explode on your Kindle, breaking all the rules and pushing the boundaries of “spanking romance” – Jasmine Honey Adams has finally done what no-one has dared to do before – take on the challenge of writing a book about a firecracker female character, a real warrior princess, who just so happens to be submissive. There’s also a plot. This book will take a sword and carve its own niche in erotic spanking romance fiction.

“This story is intended for adults and contains adult themes such as BDSM, spanking and swords. If such things offend you, then click the big red “X” in the top right of your browser window!”

If this sort of thing is your cup of tea, then you can buy it here.

If people wrote reviews (even anonymous ones) on Amazon, that would be very very much appreciated!

Basically I was fed up of “strong female” submissive characters being erotic-romance-speak for “argumentative whiny bitches who capitulate at the first sign of pressure.”

The title is based on the Xena: Warrior Princess episode “Warrior…Princess…Tramp…” although in my case the title adjectives are all describing facets of the same character. And, yes, the main character is very loosely based on Xena in spirit although I wouldn’t go so far as to say my story was either a) derivative or b) fanfiction. If it was b) there would DEFINITELY be some lesbian action in there because, let’s face it, Xena is blatantly bi so if you’re looking for fanfic you’ll be disappointed.

I’ve got a sequel that I’m editing, which will be out soon, which focuses on two different characters, and will be more BDSM-heavy than Warrior…Princess…Submissive.