Monday, November 06, 2006

There's No "I" in The Word Team!

As writers, we describe our process of writing the book as a solitary venture. We share the image with our readers and audience that we are sitting curled up in a lounge chair or at a desk painstakingly writing and thinking about word choice, sentence structure, character development. This process begins even before we put down one word on page one and doesn't stop after we write THE END.

Having a completed manuscript is only the tip of the iceberg. My latest book, Sweet Surrender, which came out in September had a small team of individuals participating in its development.

First, as a proposal of three chapters and an outline, my agent takes the manuscript and sends it to the editor. The editor then reviews it and determines whether it fits her appetite. It does and she calls my agent with an offer. My agent then calls me, we negotiate and the deal is finalized. Then I'm given a deadline for the completed manuscript.

I get to work. I have contract, soon an advance check, and a story to complete. Three months before the book is released, and maybe even earlier, I contact my publicist with the marketing material: short blurb, short bio, release date, title, etc.

The book is complete and I submit to the editor. A few months later, I received an editorial letter or notes for the story. I complete that and send it back. Most times, a week is given for the edits. Then the manuscript is sent with the edits incorporated, but a chance for the author to review. This is not the time for substantive edits. This is the time to ensure that what was marked earlier is now in or not in the work.

The publicist provides a line up of online interviews, online chats, in-store booksignings, and other publicity events to market the upcoming release. Books are mailed to various reviewers, booksellers, librarians, etc. to introduce them to the work and/or to the author.

Then the book finally hits the bookshelves. Readers can now respond with their opinions with emails to the authors, publishers, online store comment section, book clubs, etc.

Sweet Surrender made a few milestones for me. I wrote the story and am responsible for what is between the covers, but as you can see, the success of a book largely depends on a team effort.

Big thanks to all!



othepoet said...


I like your concept of team when working on a writing project. I hadn't considered that as a possibility, but your insight has a brought a new spin to the idea. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.


Octavia Lesley,
Detroit's Premier Romance Writer & Editor

M Monkou said...

Thanks Octavia. Sometimes we think we are doing everything on our own or we are the only ones responsible for our success. Not so, at all.



Dee said...

Hey Michelle,

I like that birds eye view of the process from a traditional standpoint. I'll be sure to link to this post for my readers.