What To Expect When You’re Expecting A Book: Post 1 – After The Contract

What To Expect When You’re Expecting A Book – After the contract is signed

I’m starting a new blog series, taking you on the inside journey of a first time author. Stealing the popular title read by expectant mothers the world over and giving it a new twist.

As aspiring writers, we dream of that day when someone finally says “YES” they want to publish your book. My journey toward that elusive “YES” took 16 years. Now my debut novel, MARRY ME, will finally be read by someone other than me. I finally get to introduce myself as Kristin Wallace…Author. There is A LOT of information about how to get published. There are workshops and classes and books on plotting, character developing, GMC, synopsis writing, query letters, pitching to editors/agents, self-editing, book marketing. It’s endless.

Knowing what to expect when you finally to sell? Seems harder to find. So here’s my crack at explaining this next step in my journey.

Pre-Edits…Or I used “really” how many times?

Pre-Edits. Part of my “Welcome” packet from Astraea Press was a document on pre-edits…meaning things I needed to fix before it went to my actual editor. This meant changes. Some were technical changes to the formatting. When you’re talking about ebooks the text has to be formatted so it looks uniform and normal in an ereader. One thing I learned is that the standard two spaces between sentences many of us learned is not the thing for ebook formatting. It’s one space. So now I have to retrain myself not to hit the space button twice. Not supposed to have a space after the end of a paragraph of line, either. I didn’t realize how often I put a space at the end of a line…until I turned on the tool that lets you see non-printing characters such as paragraph indents, returns and such. I guess it’s a habit to hit the space bar at the end of a line. Another habit I need to curb.

My pre-edit sheet contained a list of words to look for…and remove. One word on the list? “Really”. I learned I use the word “really” a lot. Really a lot. The “search and find” tool in Word is great…but scary because it also tells you how many times it finds a word. When I did a search for “really”, shock and shame ensued as I saw the number. I’d used really a whopping 128 times. Really.

Writers have many crutch words. Words like “very “that” “was” “just” “it”. We all use them and they become such a habit that we don’t even realize it (you see, I just used “it”). Most writers have one or two they absolutely love. One of my favorite crutch words has always been “just”. A critique partner pointed out my overuse of “just” years ago so I’ve worked hard to curb its use (except in the earlier sentence when I just used “just”). Now, I must add “really” to my list of banned words. “That” became another troublesome word, too. Took me days to find every “that” and eradicate them. They lurk in the shadows of your sentences like tiny “that” bombs waiting to make your writing lazy and uninspired.

So for all you writers struggling with your “it” and “was” and “very” and “really” and “just”…my sympathies…and get rid of them now before you’re forced to.

Stay tuned for my next installment…Author Branding!

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4 Comments

Filed under Writing/Publishing

4 responses to “What To Expect When You’re Expecting A Book: Post 1 – After The Contract

  1. Kristin, you are incredible as a person and an author and I am so happy for you! Funny thing though, the work has “just” begun! I wish you few edits, my least favorite thing ever. But, tons of sales!!!

  2. Congrats again, Kristin! You deserve this. Having said that, lol, pre-edits are a big part of my job and I constantly run in formatting issues as well as those pesky crutch words. And punctuation – wow, don’t get me started! Right away, I’ll go into a submission with a less than positive attitude. But in the scheme of things, those are minor matters. Pacing, story logic and opening hooks (or lack thereof concerning all three), are what make me tear my hair out. It’s so obvious when a writer is writing in a void as opposed to someone who belongs to writing organizations, takes workshops, belongs to a critique group, etc. It takes a village to produce a good book! Most importantly, learn from the editorial process and don’t keep repeating the same mistakes time after time! Ok, this editor will stop ranting now. :-)

  3. Thanks Mary. Lisa, I feel your pain. Not sure if I would contribute to your hair pulling. BTW, I just got my real edits so pray for me. Scared. Have not looked at them yet.

  4. Congrats on crossing the Published line. A lot of what you learn comes from those editorial comments, so view them as constructive and meant to make your writing stronger. As you get used to your publisher’s formatting guidelines, those become easier to decipher, too.

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