Why did it take a full year to get Sixty Acres and a Bride on the shelves? To see the first steps you can read Part 1.
Eye Candy – 9 Months from Release Date
After the substantial edits were made and the title chosen, marketing really starts spinning. Have you ever picked up a book and after a few pages you flip to the front cover for a double take? Huh? That’s not how she’s supposed to look. And by the end you’re wondering when did he ride a stallion with his white shirt unbuttoned? I don’t remember that scene.
That’s why it’s important to give marketing time to read the book. It’s not enough to put a pretty lady and a beautiful gown on the cover (and if it’s Christian romance the lady will actually be wearing the gown). Marketing needs to read the book so they can correctly catch the tone of the story. How can they know which pivotal scene to portray without having read it?
Once Sixty Acres was titled it was time to work on the cover. My publishing house is in Minneapolis, but they decided to go with a designer and modeling agency out of Colorado. My editor looked through portfolios to find “Rosa” and a photographer and designer in Denver collaborated to make the cover. Several choices were sent to the publisher and one was chosen and sent to me for my input (for a more detailed version of the in-house work on another book, check out the link below). Naturally I loved the design. My only concern was that the background was inconsistent with the location, which was especially important since I’d chosen to use real towns in the story. The suggestions were sent in and they made the adjustments.
During this time, I began working with my line editor. Line edits are a closer reading of the story. Instead of big plot movements we look at transitions between scenes, consistency of characters, voice and accuracy of descriptions. This still isn’t a “proof-reading” concerned with spelling and grammar. It’s still a big picture edit.
And in between the edits, I continued to write book 2.
Meanwhile, the cover is made public. Seems early, doesn’t it? But once the cover is approved the sales staff can present it and get feedback on the design. There’s still time to make changes if it doesn’t impress. Then seven months before the release, the book is available for pre-order. That means the descriptions, blurbs and cover art are ready for the market.
Even as I’m trying to describe the process, there are still dark secrets that haven’t been revealed to me. For instance, the online description of Sixty Acres claimed that it was 368 pages. I thought this humorous because I wasn’t finished writing it, yet. We still had edits to work through, big changes. They didn’t know how many pages of acknowledgments I’d have at the end, if any. How could they predict the page count? Turns out, they were exactly right. This is strange magic that I don’t understand. Maybe they misnumbered somewhere in the middle of the book to make it come out even. If you learn the secret, please let me know.
Next week we’ll continue the steps that lead up to a successful release. If you’d like to see more on book cover design, please check out these fascinating links:
What department would you feel most at home in – editorial or marketing – and why?