I Sold My Book! Now What???? by Harlequin Author Olivia Miles

Olivia Miles photo

Olivia Miles

The happiest time for a new author? Getting The Call! But then what happens? New Special Edition author Olivia Miles gives us some insight to her experiences…

I SOLD MY BOOK! NOW WHAT…?

It was around this time two years ago that I sold my first book, ‘TWAS THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS, to Special Edition after the first chapter was selected by the entire Special Edition team as the winner of the Happy Holidays Contest. I will never forget the thrill of answering that phone. Finally, finally, The Call!  My long, bumpy journey toward publication had come to an end. Or had it?

I’d always assumed the editor would edit the book, the proofreader would proof it, and the next time I saw it would be on a shelf in my local bookstore. I quickly learned there is still much to be done between  getting The Call and seeing the book in final form. Here are a few things to expect after you sell your book:

 You will not just read your book, but scrutinize it. Sometimes you reach a point where you feel you literally cannot read your own book even one more time. However, you can plan on reading this book at least another four times before it goes to print: at the revision, line edit, copy edit, and author approval stages.

Even though an editor has to truly love your book to buy it, there is always room for improvement. The great part about the revision process is that it not only strengthens your book, but it also gives you tools for your next. I was still writing my second Special Edition, RECIPE FOR ROMANCE, when I went through revisions for ‘TWAS THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS, and many of the notes I received on the first book helped me in plotting my second.

 Expect the unexpected. As with any work environment, there is always a possibility of change and a chance to work with new people. Although my first editor, Sarah, made The Call (and patiently listened to me freak out for nearly half an hour), shortly thereafter she took a new career path and I began working with my current editor, Susan Litman. That experience taught me that everyone on your editorial team is invested in your work and growing you as an author.

 Editing is not just for the editors. While your editor and copyeditor separately go through the manuscript for a developmental/content edit and copy edit, respectively, there are also many comments and questions that the author needs to address. During the line edit, there may be the need for last minute revisions, as was the case in my second book, when my lovely editor, Susan, and I agreed that the ending needed to change.

The author has a voice. Ultimately, this is your book, and as the author, the editor wants your input when it comes to alternative title ideas, cover inspiration, and even approving changes in the line and copy edit process. This is the opportunity to not only ensure that every component lives up to the promise of your story and style, but also the series promise. My beautiful covers, for example, not only absolutely capture the heart of my books, but also the essence of Special Edition.

Writing a book can be such a lonely endeavor at times, but after the sale, it becomes a team effort. Suddenly you have an editor, copy editor, proofreader, and cover artist, all working with you to make your book the best it can possibly be. I’ve now had the experience of working with Susan on a few projects over the past two years, and I’ve come to see the post-sale polishing of a book as a truly collaborative experience, and I’m a better writer for it.

Of course, there are new challenges to face. Whereas before you were simply trying to find time to write in the midst of other life responsibilities, now you have production deadlines to meet in addition to everything you were already doing, like writing another book, maybe working a day job, raising a family, or possibly squeezing in a little time for yourself. After I sold my first book, I was so eager to finish the second, but in time I learned that my work with the first was not finished, and that the writing of the book is just the first stage of many in the ultimate path to publication.

In our next post, my editor and I will be discussing my April release, RECIPE FOR ROMANCE, and its post-sale evolution. There can never be too many cooks in a kitchen when it comes to a great production team, and Susan and I whipped up several new ideas that brought the characters, and the story, to its ultimate happy ending… Stay tuned to find out how we got there!

Thank you, Olivia, for this insight into what happened after your Call. Though there are similarities, every author/editor match can be different. And your interaction might even change with each book!

Check out Olivia at her website and follow her on Twitter, where she’s @MsOliviaMiles or on Facebook

You can also follow @Susan_Litman, #HarlequinSpecEdition and check out the Writing Guidelines for more info!

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Comments

  1. Very interesting to see your perspective, Olivia! Love the covers of your books. I have your first in my TBR pile and can’t wait to dive into it!

    How did you begin to balance all the edits and necessary things for one book while writing the next book? What’s your method for tackling these things simultaneously?

    • Olivia Miles

      Hi Erica,

      Thank you so much for having ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas in your TBR pile! That one is really special to me.

      You pose an interesting question, and one I actually just wrote about today on the Special Edition Authors blog : http://specialeditionauthors.com/life-post-call/

      Without repeating my daily routine as discussed on the Special Edition blog, I will say that I learned pretty quickly that I needed to schedule my time. I don’t just schedule the given, like deadlines for a manuscript or certain edits, but I also schedule in other things, like plotting a new book, so that I am constantly moving my career forward. I tend to know when things are due, and I schedule that immediately so that I can meet monthly goals and stay on track. For me, it also helps to visualize my goals, responsibilities, and projects for 12-18 months out, since the lapse of time between writing a book and seeing it on the shelves can be this long. From the beginning, I asked myself, where do I want to be in two years? I still ask myself this, and I have therefore included things in my monthly schedule to help me reach that goal. I also have priority projects and secondary projects listed per month. I don’t always get to the secondary projects, but if I do, I’m one step closer to making the most of my time.

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  2. Gina Hagedorn

    Great article, Olivia! I really enjoyed this interesting and informative glimpse into what happened after you won the Happy Holidays contest and got ‘The Call’. I loved ‘Twas The Week Before Christmas and I’m looking forward to reading Recipe For Romance. I’m so happy for you! 🙂

    • Olivia Miles

      Hi Gina,

      Thank you so much for the kind words on my books. I’m so glad you enjoyed ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas. I know you were the honorable mention in the Happy Holidays, and I’m hoping that very good things are in your writing future… 🙂

      All best!

  3. MarcieR

    Thanks for the insight Olivia. Having read “Twas the Week Before Christmas” I am definitely looking forward to “Recipe For Romance” and Susan’s blog post about the book.

  4. Very inspiring, Olivia. I followed the link from the Special Edition Authors Blog. Will be ordering ‘Twas The Week Before Christmas. Great title :), and looking forward to Recipe For Romance. The cover is beautiful!