I'm kicking off a new segment on The Hot Pink Typewriter today, and it's all about life After "The Call." For so many years, you are busy writing, reading, submitting, waiting, and then suddenly, that phase ends and new one begins. What happens next?
It's a false assumption that the work is over when you sell your book. This is something I hear across the board from other writers. It comes as a bit of a shock, really, that all the sweat and tears was just the beginning, and that there is still more and more work to do before the final product is in your hands. There may have been revisions before you sold the book, but there are usually more revisions after you sell the book, too. As for the excruciating experience of sending your manuscript out for judgement, and the long days and nights that follow, the waiting game doesn't end when you sell your book. It will still be many more days and nights before the book is released, and while the experience is slightly more anticipatory than anxiety-filled, it is never easy. I received "The Call" from Harlequin Special Edition in February of 2012 for the book with the not-quite official title of 'Twas the Week Before Christmas. This book will release in December of 2013. As a person who has admittedly struggled with patience basically all my life, the 22-month wait between selling my book and seeing it on the shelves has been considerably longer and more excruciating than the wait time between submitting and selling.
As your release date nears, there are more stages your book will go through before it is finally in your hands, and this week I had the pleasure of filling out my art fact sheet for the book cover. I have been looking forward to this experience for a long time, and though I so clearly envisioned the characters and setting while I was writing the book, the actual process of jotting down my suggestions for the cover was a little more overwhelming than expected. All at once, this felt real. I was afraid to mess up and put so much as an incorrect shirt color, for fear I would have to live with it for all eternity. Will they even go with the shirt color I chose? Who knows, but just in case, anxiety set in. Describing my characters was the easy part -- after all, hair and eye color and a few other characteristics pretty much sum it up. The setting, however, took a bit more thought, and the reason is probably because the setting of my book (a New England inn at Christmas) is the hallmark of my story. I had described the inn in great detail in my book, I could see it in my head, but how could I convey it in a way that it could be visually recreated?
Next I was asked to draw on scenes from the book for inspiration. As a writer, you create scenes that are central to the story, that flow with the plot of the book. Suddenly I was being asked to look at scenes from a different perspective -- which scenes would not only be visually appealing, but which ones would also convey the heart of the story? In the end, I chose two of my favorite scenes from the story, as well as a third that was more inspired by my story, but which I think would be my personal favorite. Which will they go with? One of my ideas or one of their own? Once again, the wait begins!
Soon (I hope) I will see the vision I created so vividly in my head on paper -- not in words, but in a picture, which is a strange concept for a writer. The next phase of this long journey will begin shortly, and I will be sure to share that in my next After "The Call" segment!