Sunday, June 24, 2012

New Book and Wedding Details

I’m always kind of hesitant to post stuff about the book, because I don’t want people to think I want a bunch of attention about this. But part of being successful is spreading the news that this is really happening! And I know that my faithful blog readers (I know I have a few because you’ve told me!) are really interested in this process. I get questions all the time, questions that I think I’ve answered in previous blogs but then it hits me that you guys don’t live in the same world as me! I get emails pretty much every week giving me some kind of update on what’s happening with the book, and I just can’t share every detail. If I did…I think people really would start thinking I was sharing just for attention. But I did get a really nice email this past week from my publisher giving me a great update and a timeline for what’s to come. So, hopefully this will answer any recent questions you might have. The publishing process seems scary and complicated but it’s really not.

I’ve been in contact with quite a few people already since I sent my book in. Originally I was assigned an acquisitions editor, which is pretty much a fancy name for the person who answered my early questions. When I requested information from Tate’s website (Tate Publishing House is my publishing house…just in case you forgot!) my acquisitions editor was the one who called me and told me the next step, which was to send in the three chapters and synopsis. She was also the one to send me my contract and dealt with all the questions and concerns we had dealing with that. I have found that these people really, really want to help their authors succeed. They are truly wonderful people that have been there every step of the way so far…and I know they will stick with me during that first year that the book is published to help me be successful. God has provided big time by leading me to Tate Publishing. I am humbled and beyond thankful for that.

Once I sent my contract in I made all the formatting changes and then my contact switched a few times. One administrative assistant handled the refundable retainer I sent in, which as a reminder covers the fee for a publicist. Another assistant helped me choose a domain name for my website, which isn’t up and running yet and I’m not sure when it will be. Right now all I have is the name. But it’s a start! My most recent contact is the Director of Operations, and helping her are the Director of Production, the Executive Editor, and the Director of Marketing. They will be the ones who work the magic on my book! I received an email last week with a basic timeline, and let me tell you people, this is not a speedy process. Production timelines are usually 180 days, but some books can take longer. Getting a title set up for production takes at least three months after the book is finalized to be printed. God is definitely working on my patience with this whole deal!

The file I submitted a few weeks ago is what will be given to the editing department. This means that I will not be able to make any more changes to the manuscript. Too often authors begin to second guess themselves and try to rework their manuscript, and this makes it worst most of the time. I won’t be able to submit a new file…but I will have plenty of opportunities to mold and shape the manuscript during the editing process. I was advised though, that it’s best to wait until I have a senior editor assigned to collaborate with before making any changes. Right now I don’t have much I want to change, but I will take their advice on any changes that they suggest. The great thing about the editing process is that all the changes have to go through me. If they think a character needs to be developed more or a certain chapter needs to be more powerful, I will listen. I’m not the expert, and they know how to make books successful. I will not be stubborn or too prideful to look at my work and realize that some parts can be even better. Because after all, they already accepted my work! They think it has potential to be successful. I know already that it is a good piece of work (man that sounds really prideful…sorry!) and I will gladly take their advice. I’ve heard too many stories of people who could have been successful if only they’d let someone look at their work and suggest changes.

Production for Another Ending is scheduled to begin in September. Over the course of production, a senior editor and design project manager will be assigned to my book, and I will work hand in hand with them. During that first month, my manuscript will be reviewed by the copyediting staff, and any technical/grammatical issues will be addressed. They use this time to get the manuscript in the best shape possible before it begins the developmental editing process. Developmental editing will begin in October.

In October I get to send in my biography and a short teaser. That’s the stuff that will be on the back pages and cover! I will also have to get rolling on marketing my book. And there is a TON I have to do! If you guys thought just writing the book sounded hard, I’m telling you you’re wrong! Writing was easy…but marketing is tough. I will be assigned a personal Tate Marketing Representative though, which will be amazing. They are my industry expert and partner in marketing. This person won’t be my agent or personal assistant, but they will have specialized training and the experience to what works and doesn’t work in selling books. I would appreciate your prayers on this aspect of getting published. I really like doing things my own way, and naturally I always think my way is the best. But I want to listen to this person and know that they, not I, know what’s best. They have my best interests at heart, so I want to be able to swallow my pride and let them help me.

The first thing I will have to do for marketing is to find my niche audience. Basically, I need to target the audience for my book outside the bookstores and build my platform as a professional author. (that sounds sooo fancy!!) I need to pinpoint exactly whom my book is written for, and where those people are in my area. To build momentum I am advised to have pre-release parties with friends, family, and any interested potential readers. This will be my first opportunity to sell books and to spread the word. People who attend the parties can then tell all their friends that they bought a book that will hit the shelves soon, and that they too should buy it when it comes out! Seriously, this is the main way you can help me be successful. When it comes out, buy it! I need to sell     copies to earn back the money I invested. This is a bit scary for me, but I’m choosing to leave it in God’s hands.

Since I am interested in getting my book into local bookstores, I must work my niche market very hard between the time the book goes into print and the release date. The more momentum I can build the better. So, in order to engage my core audience, I’ve been hitting up social media websites. Obviously I use Facebook to spread the word, but I’m on Twitter now too! Follow me at sara_watt for more updates through Twitter. And be looking for announcements about pre-release parties!

When my book hits the release date, Tate will begin making contacts for bookstores in the area to schedule book signings for me. They will also send out press releases to notify the area media of my new book and attempt to get media coverage for me. So that’s kind of exciting. They also have Promotional Items I can buy and distribute to help spread the word too: business cards, posters, bookmarks, release party invitations, thank you cards, and t-shirts. Not sure what I will buy yet if I do decide to. I also get a website, a Facebook page, and a 15 second trailer that will air on some major TV channels, which I listed in the last blog. Now you can see what a good job these people do at helping their authors succeed! Its nuts. And I love it.

All I can say is that it is going to be a crazy busy year for me and Ben. In the midst of all this book stuff we will be finalizing our wedding planning. Which reminds me…I haven’t updated you guys on wedding stuff in a while! I know it’s still really early to be planning, but like I said, I plan on getting super busy in the next few months with school, work, and book marketing. That’s why we are very much ahead of the game. We already purchased and brought home the dress, which fits great and only needs a little bit of shortening. We’ve booked Calvary Baptist Church for the ceremony (obviously…it’s where Ben and I met!) and the Riverfront Event Center for the reception, which is beautiful and we’re beyond excited for! We already have a nice list of songs we want to have at our dance. We really want this wedding to be fun…I will be 20 and Ben will be 21! We’re young…we want it to be fun and memorable. I’m taking advantage of Pinterest with this one. That place is FULL of wonderful ideas! I’m up to 100 pins on my wedding page. Yes, I am slightly addicted. I don’t know what I’m going to do when the wedding is over and I can’t browse for hours looking for fun reception ideas! We have most of the big stuff taken care of, and we plan on getting our engagement pictures taken in the fall as well. Then my mom, Ben and I…and whoever else we recruit to help…will start working on the little details on the weekends we come home for wedding counseling, which starts in August. So pumped for that. In the midst of planning all these little details, it will be great for us to be reminded what we’re actually planning for: a lifetime loving and supporting each other. The wedding will be over in a day, but we’re going to be married for a loooong time, God willing.

Little details include invitations, which we’re thinking about hand making. But the picture I found on the one and only Pinterest is super cute! It will not be tacky…and it will save money. Those invitations are kind of a rip-off. We’ll also start working on the centerpieces and decorations for the ceremony. Again, that darn Pinterest has given me so many cute decorating ideas, but we have to make all of them! Good thing Ben and I love projects! Then comes the fun stuff, like registering for gifts, showers, and parties. Yay! I keep thinking that this year is gonna drag by, but then I think about all this stuff we have to do and I know it will just fly by. Good deal. Ben and I have been waiting much too long to get married.

And that’s about it! Whew. Maybe it’s a little bit more complicated than I told you.J Hopefully this answered your questions. If not, please ask! I will be happy to answer any specific questions you have. Right now please continue to pray for my readers. But also pray for my patience and that when I start working with editors more closely that I will be able to take their advice in stride and use it to better this work. It’s tough when people look at something and think it could use a little more tweaking. But…I know it’s necessary.

And for you lovebirds…here are some links to my wedding stuff. Enjoy!   I will be updating this in the months to come! I’ll also save it under my information on Facebook for easy access! I think you might have to have a Pinterest account to see this one. Not sure. I’ll post anyway. If you can see this…it is clear that I have an addiction. Yikes.  

I’m done now. For real. 

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