This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
By Anna Bell
When I got my traditional publishing deal I thought that my writing nerves would lessen – after all someone actually wanted to publish my books. The months prior to accepting the deal had been fraught with negotiations and waiting for emails from my agent about feedback from editors. But I thought once I signed on the dotted line all would be calm. It seems I forgot that the publishers had only read one of my books: cue second book nerves.
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When my books were pitched to the publishers it was for a series of books. Don’t Tell the Groom was to be book one, followed by two sequels featuring the same characters. I’d already written most of the second book as I’d originally planned to self publish it.
I ended up giving my editor a copy of book two about a month after I accepted the deal. My editor knew that it was rough around the edges, but she was going to give me her feedback and notes on it. Sending it across was nerve racking. What if my editor read it and wondered who on earth she’d signed? What if they changed their mind and told me that the series was a terrible idea and I had to come up with something new?
I was relieved when I got the feedback from my editor that she enjoyed the book. Her structural notes were spot on. She’d given me a firm steering on my plot holes so I could start diligently working on the redraft. I wanted to finish it way ahead of my delivery date deadline, mainly because it was super close to my baby due date. I got to the point in August where I’d usually call it finished – or at least finished to the point where, if I was self-publishing, I’d send it to get line edited. And that’s when the second band of nerves hit me.
I’m always nervous when I send off a manuscript to a freelance editor, when I’m self-publishing. I know they might pick it to pieces, but at the end of the day it’s me who says whether it should be published. Sending it to an editor at a publishing house is completely different. They could turn round and tell me that it’s still no good and that they’re not publishing it.
I kept reading my editors’ notes over and over again. Had I interpreted them correctly? Had I gone far enough to polish it? It was ridiculous. I was more nervous the second time sending it off than I when I sent it first time round. I was worried that having read the first one that she’d have a benchmark of what it was like before. She’d know how much or how little I’d changed.
I procrastinated wondering whether I could give it to every man and his dog first to get their approval before sending it away. In the end I decided that it didn’t matter what anyone else thought as it was my editors opinion that counted. I pressed send and crossed my fingers and waited. It wasn’t long before I heard back from my editors’ assistant that the book had the thumbs up and it had gone for copy-editing.
And so I can relax again, for a bit at least until the copy edit comes through, until the book’s launch date, or until I start working on book three.
What do you think is the most nerve-wracking part of the book publishing process?