Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Amazon and galleys

Last night I Googled my novel and discovered that it's now up on Amazon.com. I suppose that by the time I've gone through the publishing process several times (I'm an optimist) I won't even be bothered to Google new releases, and I won't feel that spurt of excitement when I first spy the titles online in stores. Since this is my maiden voyage, you'll forgive my enthusing over every little thing, right? So I'm moving on to the other big first that has me grinning like an idiot right now...

Galleys! They arrived today, and when the courier guy put the box into my hands I almost dropped it. Heavy stuff, these galleys, I thought. When I opened the package I understood. In addition to the printed pages I discovered about 150 book covers. Huh? I'm assuming that these are for use in my own promotional forays - but I've e-mailed the production supervisor and asked, just to be sure.

I glanced at the last pages and found that my sexy closing scene has been knifed. What's left is... well, not much of it is left. And my scintillating final sentence? Gone. Vanished. Poof. **sob... wailllll!!!!!!!!** Who knows what other surgery has been performed in the innards of the book? Now I have to brace myself and repeat 100 times: The editor knows best. The editor is always right. The editor knows best. The edit...

9 comments:

Kaz Augustin said...

No, the excitement never goes away. Take the time to set up Google Alerts, containing your name and the title of the book. Of course, this may also bring up reviews, which some authors stay away from so they don't fall into depression. (Just remember: not everyone likes everything. It's only one person's opinion.)

The book covers you got are called "cover flats" and, yes, feel free to use as promo. Authors autograph them and use them as prizes sometimes.

What does bother me, though, is that changes were made to your ms by the editor without you knowing...? I'm curious about the editing process with an NYC publisher (not having one, you see!). Was there much consultation with the editor on what would be changed?

wordtryst said...

Kaz, I've got the Google Alert set up already; that's how I first found out about the book being online, and first saw the cover.

Glad to hear that the excitement doesn't get old. I've been smiling all day! Don't know how I'll handle reviews, though; what an ordeal!

Thanks for the info re cover flats. I learn something about this business every day and there's always so much more to learn. I can't imagine using cover flats as prizes, though! Maybe Stephen King and Nora Roberts can get away with that...

Ah, yes. Changes. The editing process was very thorough. We discussed all the changes that were marked on the MS, spent hours on the phone, negotiated some of the changes... The cutting at the very end never came up, though. When I've gone through the galleys I'll be better able to tell whether several changes were made post-process, or whether the one at the end is an isolated instance.

JJ said...

Will we forgive your enthusing over every little thing? Errrm, yes. It's why I'm here! Reading. I'd be very worried about you unless you were grinning maniacally. It's de rigueur.

Can't comment on the editing thing with zero experience, but it strikes me as a bit strange.

Hope you get it sorted.

JJx

KeVin K. said...

I'm used to adjustments to my turns of phrase -- I write in southern which has a nonstandard cadence and tendency to odd things to articles. Sometimes I fight for -- or, more accurately, explain -- my voice; most times I don't. Of course, some of my "voice" is just bad grammar. I'm an idiot with its/it's and I dislike the word "that" so much I leave it out when it's needed.

I once had an editor who felt I hadn't set up a scene in a novella well enough, he shoehorned in 400 words of exposition that sounded like a textbook's chapter summary. I got on the phone and told him that if he wanted more exposition tell me and I'd handle it. He said they were on short deadline. Within the hour I e-mailed him the revised scene with 60 words of exposition interleaved through the action. He told me to append the page to the galleys.

I've never had a similar problem with any other editor. If the editor feels there are changes to make, I get a "hit list" and make adjustments accordingly. (My Doctor Who project required about a dozen back-and-forths before all my Americanisms were expunged.) In one case I felt strongly about the change and communicated my feelings and reasons to the editor. Together we arrived at a compromise that I think works better than my original.

Ask your editor about that final scene and what their thinking was on cutting it. Let them know you're asking because a)you are working to perfect both your craft and the project, and b)you think the effect of the scene is important in bringing closure to the narrative. Be professional and very clear this is not an ego issue. (I know a still unpublished writer who completely squirreled the chance of a lifetime by getting into a fight with a major house over the layout of the cover. She was such a pain they cancelled the whole project -- which, since her contract did not include a kill fee, left her with nothing. Except a reputation that pretty well precludes her getting another chance.) Decide what to do about the editor's points after you've heard them.

In the end, though, editors with publishing houses are editors with publishing houses because they know how to put together books people buy. Final call is theirs.

akalol said...

Getting the book covers must be exciting! What does the back cover say? Does it have "About the Author?" Sorry about the deleted scene and it seems unfair to knife a sexy closing scene in a romance novel :) I hope the innards are in order. I will pre-order the book on Amazon just to be sure I get it by August the 24th :)

wordtryst said...

JJ, that maniacal grin is still firmly fixed in place...

Kevin, ...of course, some of my "voice" is just bad grammar... LOL! That editor did WHAT? Fool around with my story, demand changes, that's your job, but don't try to do my job! I too got a 'hit list', and we did in fact compromise on a few of her suggestions. Thanks for your advice re asking about the cutting at the end. The last thing I'd want to do is get into a fight with her. She's been quite wonderful, really. When I'm done checking the lot I'll approach her in the way you suggested. BTW, ego? What ego? :) As a newbie-supplicant I can't afford an ego! I'm more likely to be so humble and apologetic she'll want to slap me around a few times. And yes, I always keep in mind that the editor has the final say. It's just the way things are.

akalol, the back cover has the jacket copy that would normally be on the front inside flap of a hardback. You know, a little bit about the story. The inside back cover has trade info about the book, with just a sentence or two about the author. It mentions that my 'hometown' is Trinidad, and that this is my first book with Dorchester. I also hope the innards are in order! You're very sweet to pre-order a book you'd probably never buy if you saw it in the store! C'mon, it's romance! **blushes and thinks seriously about hiding behind something**

stephe said...

Oh, no! A whole cut without you knowing in advance? That's rather disturbing...

Let us know how the ARC turns out. *fingers crossed* We can feel your excitement. :)

KAREN said...

Oh dear, I didn't realise the editors sliced things out without you knowing!! The whole process sounds so exciting though - I can't wait to get to that stage :o)

wordtryst said...

Stephe, Karen, it is indeed exciting... I'll continue to post about the process; I thought I'd pretty much covered everything in my research so it's amazing to realize how much I still have to learn.