I told you recently about my new book contract with Astraea Press. Once the contract was signed, the next step was to do “pre-edits” and fill out forms from my “new author packet.” Wow, that sounds nice!
I’m really impressed how organized Astraea Press is and how they involve the author in the process. The forms included a promotion sheet, which I returned to the publicist. I answered such questions as what are some interesting things about my book, why will someone want to read it, and how I plan to promote the book. Yes, even though Astraea Press will help me with marketing, I will do some of my own marketing. These days, whether you’re with a large or small press, you’re expected to help out with promoting your book. There is so much you can do today, and I’ll discuss my plans in a later blog.
Another form asked me to provide tags, a tagline, a short blurb, and a back cover blurb. I already had the two blurbs, so the hardest one was the tagline. This is a one-sentence “catch phrase” for your book, the line you sometimes see on a book’s cover. I won’t go into detail here because there many blogs, etc., which talk about creating a tagline. Here’s one I found helpful. And this one talks about taglines versus loglines.
In the last form, I had to provide information about the cover. I love that Astraea Press asks this of their authors. I often hear authors mourn the fact that they don’t have any say in how their cover will look. I think this is very common with the major publishers. Astraea Press asked for relevant symbols or objects from my story, detailed descriptions of my hero and heroine, what I would like to see on the cover, and what I don’t want to see.
When you sign with a publisher, expect your book to go through an editing process. Consider this a good thing! No writer’s manuscript is perfect, and you’ll feel better that your editor caught errors instead of a reader.
Astraea Press asks the author to do “pre-edits” before sending the manuscript. They provide guidelines, which include removing excessive adverbs, varying sentence structure, formatting according to their standards (no bold chapter titles, how to set apart scene changes, etc.), and removing overused words such as that, very, really, smiled, looked, turned, and grinned.
You’ll probably be surprised if you search your manuscript for these words and find how many times you’ve used them. Often the word (such as “that”) is not even necessary. Removing words such as turned, smiled, looked, and grinned will force you to dig deeper into the story and characters. For instance, “smiled” can be replaced with dialogue, gestures, and actions that show the character smiling. It’s harder than just writing “she smiled,” but your story will be stronger. This Word Frequency Counter is an eye-opening program that shows just how much you’ve overused certain words.
Have you had an editing experience with a publisher? Please share it, or tell us how you edit your manuscripts.