This is the second half of a post I started on New Year's Eve about this past year, my first as an agented and soon to be published author. I left off at August when I had received my first advance check. Without further ado here comes the rest:
September: I wait for edit notes and keep pounding away at the second book in my deal. I throw out a lot of words. By the end of this month I am only a third of the way through the second book even though I've been working on it since the deal. I am battling a serious case of nerves. I push through, but it is HARD. Sometime this month my editor emails me the initial concepts for my cover. I like them, but I don't get too excited. It's just the start of the process and my editor warns me that a lot can change. Still, I look at them often. It makes the process feel just a little more real.
October: I start to finally, finally make real progress on the sequel to my book. I tell my editor that I can hand it in at the end of the month, but as the month goes along I start to see that it will be much rougher than the first one at hand in time. This worries me. I feel like the bones are all there, but it's just not polished enough for my own standards. I worry all over again about disappointing my agent, editor and myself. At the end of the month I get my first set of edits and a sneak peak at my book jacket copy. The edits are fairly light and I agree with almost all of them. It feels so good to know that my editor and I see eye to eye on how this book is meant to go. I basically hole up in my house for an entire week and complete the edits. It feels strange to read my book again after so long. I like it more than I did when I sent it out. This feels amazing and gives me hope for book two. Maybe I've just been staring at it too long? I turn in my edits at Halloween time and am relieved when the book moves on to copy edits. Around this time I also find out that we might need to change the title to better market the book. I spend a few hours brainstorming titles and emailing back and forth with my agent. We settle on three and send them to Random. One of the three is chosen as the new title. I like it, but have trouble not calling my book by it's old name. I'd given it that name at the outset, so almost a year later, it feels so strange to call it anything else. I feel good about the direction that Random House and my editor are taking it in though. I'm excited to see how the title change affects the cover design and book jacket copy.
November: Right around Thanksgiving I get a call from my agent. Turns out my editor will be leaving Random House after the holiday. I now have a new editor named Chelsea Eberly. I don't know what to think at first and am nervous about the change. Will she like the book as much as Suzy did? I worry a little, but once Chelsea calls me on the phone to introduce herself I stop worrying. She chose to take on my book in Suzy's place and was a fan since the aquisition process. I like her immediately over the phone and realize that I've been lucky enough to nab another fabulous editor. Still, I'm sad to see Suzy go. She gave me my break and I will always, always be grateful to her and slightly awed that she chose my book. This month I also find out my book's on Amazon. Another "this is really happening moment". I now have an official release date. August 27th. Wow!
December: Things begin to pick up now. I get my copy edits and some extra notes from Chelsea. None of the edits feel overwhelming. I get lucky this way for the second time. I complete the edits in a weekend. Just as I turn them in I get my actual cover. It is breath-stealingly awesome and I literally stare at it for hours. I turn in my acknowledgments and email Chelsea my author photo. My cover gets scheduled to be revealed just before Christmas. I sit on it for just under two weeks which is SO HARD because I want to show everyone I see. Cover reveal day is heady and thrilling. I check the host's blog all day long. It is the best Christmas present ever, seeing my book cover and jacket copy online and watching people react to it. What a way to end a truly spectacular year.
And that's it! Now I am anxiously awaiting arcs and first page passes and...gulp, initial reviews. I am excited and scared and thrilled. This is the year my book will be on actual book shelves in a book store. I wish somehow that I could go back in time and give my aspiring writer self a glimpse of what was coming this year. But even if I could somehow manage it, I doubt I would've believed myself. This whole process has been so much more than I imagined it to be. It's so, so much better...and harder in some ways...but oh so worth it.