Sunday, July 26, 2009

Checking in from the 11th floor

A moment of silence, please: Vacation is officially over.

I dropped the rest of the gang off at the airport for a flight back to Virginia and I checked into a downtown hotel. I do enjoy the quiet and it's certainly conducive to working long hours on a manuscript, but I sure miss the havoc in my mother-law's basement and listening to my loving, kind and patient children "interact".

One daughter opened a handmade greeting card store at the table and forcefully recruited her brother as an employee. The other daughter took special orders for Zoob creations while the baby bounced for hours on an exercise trampoline signing Hannah Montana.

Yes, I miss them all terribly. Maybe I'll order room service? That will make me feel better!

So what's next? I will spend the next several days editing The Cross Gardener. Here's what the process looks like:

1. Submit a first draft to both my agent and editor at Penguin. (DONE)

2. Wait anxiously for feedback. (DONE)

3. Toss and turn. (DONE)

4. Make sure my email and cell phone are working properly when I haven't heard anything right away. (DONE)

5. Toss and turn some more. (DONE)

6. Get first response from agent. (This is typical, her feedback isn't nearly as detailed as an editor's.) (DONE)

7. Receive my editorial letter! It's a little old-school, but it's how many editors still prefer to work. A week after submitting my draft, and with no communication during the meantime, I received an 8-page letter opening with her general "big picture" reaction. Then it goes to what she loved, what she didn't, and chapter-by-chapter feedback. Most of the suggestions are up to me whether or not to implement. Some will take minutes to change, others will take hours. The overall feeling is great. They loved it and want to make it even better. What a coincidence, so do I! (DONE)

8. Editing begins. I have 2-3 weeks to make my changes and submit a new draft. In reality, the finished product will look very similar to what they've already read. Fortunately no major, structural changes were requested. Because I've been on vacation with little or no time to edit, I'm down to less than a week to make my edits. Worry? Who, me?

9. By August 3 I'll submit a new draft which will be read by a wider universe at Penguin. Thus far only my editor and her boss have read it. The next draft will be distributed to quite a few readers, including the head-honcho-publisher.

10. All comments will be filtered by my editor and reported back to me within a few days. Hopefully the second round of changes, if any, are very minor. I'll submit my final draft asap.

And there you have it! The book will go to press for Advance Reading Copies sometime in mid-August and by September 1 their sales team will be pitching the book to the media, book buyers, wholesalers, etc. They'll have six months to get the book properly buzzed and ready for hardcover release, and they'll use every minute of it!

Then what? I'll begin the second manuscript of my two-book deal and submit it by Thanksgiving. Whew! I need a vacation :)


  1. That post made me so tired, and I don't even have to do any of it. Good luck. You can do it! You're the only person I know who can turn it around that fast and that well.

  2. Ally, like a billion times before, you made my day. Thanks Sistah! Much love.