So, just in case you are wondering what happens after you sign that contract, let me tell you where I am at... two months after signing the contract.
Well, I have done a round of edits on the book and pushed to get them in as early as possible. I made a real conscious effort when I decided to pursue being published that I would do two things... 1) I would try to be a reliable and easy author to work with (i.e. getting in before deadlines, listening to advice with an open mind, and trying not to bug the editors badly) and 2) that I would push myself beyond my boundaries. What has this got to do with publishing? Everything! First, as a new author you must push yourself beyond your traditional comfort zone to take on the task of learning to write romantic fiction (or whatever genre you want). Once you have been doing this for awhile you begin to push yourself by entering contests for feedback or even sending in queries to editors and agents. Not an easy thing when you feel as if your stomach has somehow landed around your feet. But then, this doesn't end when you sign the contract. Once I did this I was elated and terrified all at the same time. I had asked plenty of questions over the years from published authors. I had read the articles, books, taken the classes and even observed things at conferences. But nothing really tells you what it is going to feel like. Suddenly, this is no longer something that has a failsafe switch. There are expectations to be met and contracts to uphold and all of it is exhilarating and knee-knocking material.
Okay, so I have elaborated to the point where I have gotten clear off the point. Here it is... I have finished my edits early, I have the ancillary information sent back to my editor (this is the blurbs for the cover, information to go to the cover artists, etc.) and I have written the acknowledgments and dedications which are right up there for new authors with winning the Academy awards and having to give an acceptance speech. I am now left to work on getting quotes for the book which for others probably wouldn't be hard, but for me this is excruciating because I can not ask favors of other people. I am usually more than willing to help anyone else, but not able to ask for it myself. Yes, this is a stupid trait and at one point or another everyone needs to ask for help, but it just wasn't hardwired into my DNA. So, I clenched my teeth, held onto my stomach and asked.... And because I have such wonderful friends and acquaintances who understand just what a roller coaster ride this is... they have agreed to take a look at the book for me.
Now, I just need to hold onto my chair until I get their responses. Stay tuned for that.
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