It occurs to me I should stop pontificating on writing like I have any idea what I'm talking about, and instead update the status of my first novel, Rise Again.
I sent in the official second draft at the end of January. The second draft is the first draft with the editor's comments reflected. Here and there I wrote new material or deleted earlier passages. Some things had to be changed for continuity purposes, or just for clarity. There were bits and pieces of spelling and punctuation to be repaired.
A few days ago, I received a massive stack of paper from the publisher in New York, representing the first 500 pages of the revision with hand-written notes by my able editor. I'm incorporating these notes, with the next 300 pages due to arrive sometime next week. Once these revisions are done, that's draft three. That will probably be the end of textual changes.
That's not the end of the process, of course. Much to do. Here are some of the big steps:
There's a final polish, which is not quite a draft* -- the copy editors take over at that point, looking for any punctuation, grammar, or formatting that needs fixing. They'll make sure there are no anglicisms or archaic spellings. Any legal issues will be addressed at this point, such as those involving the use of trade names, living people, or real events.
After that, the thing is typeset, or rather the digital equivalent to typesetting is done. The layout of the book, the overall page design, is handled at this point. I'm talking over the jacket design with my editor now; this effort will move to the publisher's art department along with the manuscript.
Then -- dig this, cats -- they're printing bound galleys. This doesn't always happen with novels in the blood-stained genre ghetto. I'm tremendously honored that they're doing so for my book. Bound galleys are for publicity purposes, to hand out before the publication of the novel to generate interest. The folks that get a copy are likely reviewers, tastemakers, maybe some key booksellers, and of course good old Hollywood production companies. Those last remaining mistakes that eluded all editing can be spotted by alert readers, too.
I'll be getting a stack of the galleys, which I will distribute among the peeps that still talk to me in the movie business, as well as a variety of Los Angeles-based people that are active in the horror creation and fan worlds. And best of all, I can send fanboy copies to people like George Romero, Tom Savini, Rick Baker, and the rest of the guys that got me interested in horror in the first place.
Meanwhile, Simon & Schuster's publicity department will send galleys around for cover blurbs, pull quotes, and endorsements generally. Additional publicity is developed -- whether this is ad campaigns, posters, or the poetically named 'book dumps,' those origami cardboard things with books in them that you see standing around in bookstores. They'll set up any interviews or press junkets at this time, as well. I should be so lucky! I'll take whatever they have the budget for, of course.
After that, the whole thing is locked. It goes to press, is bound and distributed, and the public buys thousands of copies per week, rocketing the book into the bestseller lists, where it hangs for a year.
That's it in a nutshell.
*In screenwriting, a "polish" is generally a completely new draft for which the writer is paid far less, with multiple polishes tucked into the contractual polish; Warner Bros. once had me polish a script until I was making about a nickel on the dollar.
3 weeks ago