Friday, February 12, 2010

The Published Juggler

Friday, February 12, 2010

One of the things I never realized before I was published was how many projects a writer has to juggle after they're published. It's not simply a matter of writing a story, turning it into your editor and then off to production it goes. There are a few editorial steps. How many and the exact process depends on the publishing house. Mine go like this...

1) I submit a proposal (synopsis and first three chapters--sometimes just the synopsis. Depends.) and wait to hear whether the pub approves of that story. If I get a thumbs up I...

2) Write the story. This takes me anywhere from 6-9 months. (In today's market, I'm considered a moderately slow writer.) I submit the manuscript to my editor and wait for revisions. Meaning my editor reads the story and sends me a letter (or calls) with her suggested changes. I've waited for revisions anywhere from 2 months to four. Meanwhile I...

3) Initiate and create promo for the book that's ahead of this one and close to hitting the shelves and/or work on the synopsis for the next book I'm contracted to write.

4) Never fails that I get the revision letter about the same time I'm knee-deep in the next project. So I set that proposal aside to revise the current manuscript. Sometimes revisions have involved a massive rewrite (whereas I hyperventilate then suck it up and attack) and sometimes I'm asked to make very minimal changes (whereas I happy dance) OR, like the phone call I got yesterday, basically no changes BUT I need to strengthen things here and there, and in the case of this particular story beef up the word count. Meaning the story's too short and additional scenes and chapters are required. Work, yes, but nothing like a massive rewrite. (Still worthy of a happy dance)

5) Typically I have anywhere from 3-4 weeks to do the revisions and while I'm doing those there's also still the 'new' book to promote.

6) Once I turn in the revised manuscript, I return to the new proposal or WIP waiting for line edits on the 'finished' manuscript (editor makes/suggests very specific changes, additions, or clarification line-by-line). When I get those I set aside the WIP to attack the line edits. Once I do those I send back and wait for the gallies. (Meanwhile working on the WIP) This is after the manuscript has gone on to the copy editors who check to make sure details (grammar, research, etc) are correct. This is where I read the manuscript with an intense eagle eye to double check for typos or other weird/glitchy stuff that sometimes happens in the typesetting process. I usually dig in and do this in 2 days.

7) That's the last time I see that maunscript until it's in 'book' form, but now I'm working hard on the WIP (next story). Oh, but then it's also time to promote the next 'release'.

Is your head spinning? Are your eyes crossing? Imagine what it's like for a prolific writer who turns in a story every 3-4 months (and there are a lot of writers who can do that). Imagine how many balls/books they're juggling. All those steps/phases of the editing and production process overlapping! So, yeah, sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed, but it could be worse!

My current status is actually somewhat relaxed because I wrote the last book of my contract and don't have a deadline for 'the next book' looming. Although, of course I hope that changes soon. Presently, I'm....

*Promoting Out of Eden, my 4/10 release.
*Revising (embellishing) Into the Wild, my 9/10 release (revisions due 3/1)
*Waiting to hear if my publisher is interested in contracting me for two more books based on a synopsis my agent just submitted for me. (The synopsis I wrote last week. Working Title: Her Majesty's Man)

One of the most challenging things for me is getting my head out of one story and into another very quickly and then bouncing back to the former a few weeks later. What about you? Are you able to switch gears quickly? Are you good at multi-tasking? Any stories/advice to share?

I'm listening!

SIS Beth


Kelly Moran said...

wow. i mean i know it's nuts, but for those who just don't get it, this is clear. best of luck to you always.

Beth Ciotta said...

Kelly, before I was published I remember being disappointed to learn that a fave author wouldn't have a new release until the next year. I'd think, "Why don't they write faster?!" Not knowing all the other aspects that writer was juggling.

Now I understand. :) Also, I must say I am in awe of authors who are able to write three-four books a year, sometimes more. Amazing.

Thanks for chiming in. All best with YOUR projects!

SIS Beth

SIS BJ said...

Hi Beth, You sound very busy. I don't know how you do it. Best of luck to you!

Beth Ciotta said...

BJ, trust me, things fall through the cracks. Lots of things. Unfortunately.

SIS Beth

Tori Lennox said...

Sometimes I wonder why on earth I want to put myself through this.... I have serious doubts I could cope with it all.

Linda Wisdom said...

LOL Beth!

It only increases, trust me on this.

Last Oct. I had guest blogs, radio interviews, on line interviews, something going on every day of the month and I had to take my netbook with me to a conference to keep up with it.

Along with writing a book, working up new synopses, trying to keep up with household stuff, you name it.

Guess what slid?

Elle J Rossi said...

Hi Beth,

I'm nowhere near published and feel like I'm juggling a bazillion balls. Wouldn't it be nice if our only jobs were writing/marketing from 8-4 every day but that doesn't happen for most.

We juggle family, full time jobs, household chores and so much more yet, when people pile more on our backs, we somehow manage to carry the load.

Waving to Kelly! Thanks so much for stopping by.

SIS Barb aka Elle J Rossi

Beth Ciotta said...

Tori, you could cope. You'd find away. Every one finds their own way of making it all happen (or mostly happen). Rock on!

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Oo-ee, Linda. I hear ya! But it the love of writing, our passion for storytelling that keeps us going, right?

So... lemme guess. You let the housework slide. Speaking as a fellow domestic slacker.

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Barb/Elle, you are a monster juggler! Though your head will be spinning, I know you'll take on the additional balls (Mmm. That doesn't sound right) with grace and style!

SIS Beth

Sisters-in-Sync said...

Hi Beth,

You are indeed an awesome juggler. It all sounds very daunting, but like you said, it's your passion for story telling that keeps you going. Best of luck in all...even the household chores.

SIS Bren

Olga said...

Beth, you are a great juggler indeed, and you do have passion for what you do. I hope it's okay to wish you best of luck on your proposal so you can add more books to juggle! As for multi-tasking, I'd rather to concentrate at one thing at a time and try to turn off anything else besides the task at hand.

Beth Ciotta said...

Bren, I don't know that I juggle any more than you... just different balls. And... miracle of miracles... I did manage to get some housework done (in between revisions) over the last two days!

SIS Beth

Beth Ciotta said...

Olga, I'll take all the luck I can get. Thank you! I'll post an update when I know anything more about the new proposal.

As for conecentrating on one thing at a time... What's that old saying about 'Pick one thing and do it well...' Or something like that. I'm thinking your process is better overall than mine. I've gotta work on that 'tuning out other stuff' part!

SIS Beth

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