None of us non-published fans understand what authors go through to have their work published. A story is written but that’s only the first step. Finding someone to publish your story is the next step, and that step alone might never happen. But when it does, your story will never be the same. Some have positive experiences with editors but some do not and they choose to go their separate ways with their publishers. But when editor and author have a connection the product is always close to perfection.
Natalie Star decided to share with us her experience getting published. Starting with why she started writing, to finding the right editor, and to finally getting her first negative review. We leave you with,
Publishers, Editors, and Reviewers. Oh, My!
This past year has been filled with wonderful and scary firsts: I finished my first novel (wonderful), found a publisher (wonderful), submitted my story (scary), it was rejected (scary), resubmitted my novel (scary), it was accepted (wonderful), and I endured editors and reviewers (scary).
To some this would be a dream come true, and to others a nightmare. This is my take on it.
The writing part was fun. I never aspired to be a writer. This was new to me, and I was writing just to see if I could. Have you ever done that? Tried your hand at something just to see if you could? Well, that’s what got me here. I tried. I wrote for me and only me. I never intended for anyone to read my words. Long story short, I let someone read it, my friend’s son, Avery. Avery enjoyed it so much he said I should get it published. I took his advice to heart and searched for a publisher.
I can’t remember how or why I chose Decadent Publishing, but I did. I made a wise choice. They have been awesome throughout this whole process. I told them from the beginning I was new and never had anything published before. In fact, I was so new I didn’t know that query letters existed. I just sent a casual email to the publisher. Luckily, they took a chance on me. But hitting that send button once the email was ready, manuscript attached, that was frightening. I sat and stared at it for a long time wondering “Will anyone like this? These people have experience; will they laugh at what I’ve written? Will they be angry I’ve taken up their time with this?” Then thoughts of Avery’s words popped into my head, I took a deep breath and hit the send button (my book is dedicated to my family, and Avery).
Do your homework. Submitting your manuscript can be a scary thing; I suggest reading up on the publisher to find out what their submission requirements are, and following them through.
Yes, editors, plural. I had a content editor, line editor, and a senior editor, all go through my manuscript. I’ve never heard of having more than one editor before, but then again I’m new to this world. At first it was scary news to me, all these editors working on my manuscript. In the end I understand why, I accept it, and look forward to the process with my next novel.
That doesn’t mean I love the idea, or that it’s not scary anymore, because it is. When I got the first round of edits for something else I wrote, I saw nothing but red ink with comments all over the place. My stomach bottomed out. Then after the initial shock I got over it, and went to work.
I’ve worked with five different editors at this point. Each and everyone one of them has a unique personality, and they each have their own way of doing things. Some get right to the point, others joke along the way, and one offered encouragement and give a little advice. Your personality might not match your editors, and that’s okay. It wouldn’t be the first time something like that has happened. If things aren’t working out, and you don’t feel your editor has the same vision as you, request or find a new one. If you’ve hired your own editor make sure you know their policy.
I’ve learned it’s okay to have concerns, ask questions, and sometimes it’s hard, but not to take things personally. Editors are people, too. They are just doing their job polishing your story to help you make it shine.
Once you get used to your story being read by someone other than you; such as your beta readers and your editors, you will need to pass it off to reviewers.
Small press and indie publishers don’t have media exposure like publishing’s big six in New York. So they use who they can to get the word out. Usually this results in a lot of small time reviewers. My publisher has a list of reviewers they sent their author’s advanced copies to, but I also searched for some on my own. There doesn’t seem to be enough available YA reviewers around and their wait lists are long. I suggest getting those requests out there as soon as possible.
Once you send off your advance copy, you sit back and wait. This one can be toughest of all, making it the scariest. Once people review your work, they post it publicly – no take backs. Some of these reviewers can be crass and to the point, others love every minute of your story, and then there are those who like to pass on valuable criticism. To each his own, everyone has their likes and dislikes. You cannot please everyone, be prepared for that.
I knew it would happen; I received my first one star review. The lady was a very strict editor and picked apart my first three chapters without reading further. She took it from an editors stand point, not a reader, but for her that’s how she reads books. Initially the review struck me hard, my tummy sunk, and I felt the breath go out of me. It took me a couple of weeks to get back on track with my writing. But this was my first, like I said everyone is different and you can’t please them all.
Now that I’ve gotten a lot of firsts out of the way, I can relax a little, but not for long. My next manuscript is just about done, and I have to start the whole process over again. At least I know what to expect.
Three years ago if you told Natalie that one day she would love to read and write, you would have been told you were crazy-out-of-your-mind. Since then she can’t stop reading, and has written 2 complete novels with 3 more in the works.When not reading or writing, Natalie can be found with her husband supporting their two children on the soccer fields. Or maybe running around with her camera taking photos while camping and/or hiking. Or lastly, and most probable – she’s watching movies on Netflix while simultaneously perusing Facebook.Their family resides in the state of Virginia along with an old-unintelligent-diabetic cat named Lucky.