What Happens After A Publisher Says ‘Yes?’

By on August 6, 2017
What Happens After A Publisher Says ‘Yes?’ - Writer's Life.org

There are lots of pieces of advice out there for writers on how to handle rejection, on what your options are if your book gets refused by a publisher, or how to get your book in perfect shape to give it the best chance of success when you send it off.

There are, however, a lot less on what actually happens if you get a ‘yes.’

We are so focused on the improbability of actually being accepted by a publisher that many authors don’t even contemplate what would happen if they got the call, the email, the letter that says a publisher is interested.

So what does happen if a publisher accepts your work for publication? Here is some insight into the publication process and what authors should expect.

If a publisher is interested in your work, if you sent in sample chapters, a synopsis and a proposal, they will come back to you, and ask for the full manuscript.

You can expect a publisher to ask you to adjust certain parts of your story. They may do this right away, explaining that in order for the story to work for them, some elements must be amended to make the book more appealing to a wide audience or to make it more marketable to a particular type of reader.

When you send in your full manuscript it’s important that you have made sure it has been professionally edited and is in the absolute best shape it can be. If they have only read the first few chapters and you know for a fact that they are the best bits of your book, you need to wow them with the rest so really give it your all. Remember there are still no guarantees at this stage - if they fear that they will have to do too much work to the rest of your manuscript to get it right, they might well decide it’s not worth their investment.

Changes publishers suggest should be taken seriously. However, not all of them will be mandatory, and if you strongly disagree with a suggested change, it’s OK to discuss this with your publisher, but make sure you have good reasons why - and respect the fact that they have much more experience when it comes to knowing what sells. If they say something is a deal breaker, you have to decide whether you feel it will compromise your integrity to make the change, or whether you can live with it.

When they have read the full manuscript they will come back to you again with notes and comments where they feel the book needs to be changed. It is then your responsibility as the author to make the requested changes and improvements they have asked for. Bear in mind they may give you a deadline for this and if so you should ensure that you stick to it.

Your work will then go to the in-house copy editor who will format it to ensure it is compliant with the in house style and formatting guidelines and will have more edits - looking particularly for typos and inconsistencies. The manuscript will then be returned to you to make the requested changes - again you can argue if you disagree (but having a good reason is imperative). If they start to think you are being difficult and obstructive this could damage your relationship, and remember until the contracts are signed, they could still back out!

This usually marks the end of the editing process. The publisher will then get to work on your cover. Some publishers allow you to give your thoughts on this, and all will let you see and approve the cover before it is finalised. However, if you are working with a big publisher it’s worth remembering they have teams of experienced professionals who will know, much better than you do, what kind of cover will attract the right readers to your work.

The contract is usually sent out during these processes. It is important that you read every word, and advisable to have a lawyer take a look too, and advise you on anything that you should make note of. Your contract will bind you to certain terms and conditions, responsibilities and, of course, how much you will earn. Remember, your contract is negotiable. It is a business deal after all. Publishers will naturally try to get the best deal for them, but it is OK to stand your ground and usually, a compromise can be reached - however making unreasonable demands should also be avoided!

The release date of your novel will be agreed, and your publisher should advise you on what you can do to help promote and market your book. Then it’s time to pop open the champagne and get really excited about seeing your book hit the shelves!

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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