Getting a Book to Press

I’ve been wading through edits and revisions for the past few months to prepare my next novel, Caller ID to go to press.

It’s heading out next week so my publisher will be ready to get it on bookstore shelves March 13, 2012. Hooray!

There are so many steps involved and because they vary a bit from publisher to publisher, and from book to book, I thought it might be interesting to highlight my process. I will give you the condensed version, not the “I revised this book so many times that I see the words in my sleep!” version.

I wrote this book in 2010, revised it like crazy until April 2011 and then submitted it to my publisher, Cedar Fort, Inc.

In June 2011, they accepted it to be published under their national imprint, Sweetwater Books.

In July, I submitted my marketing plan and began making plans with the editorial department for the schedule on my final edits and proofs.

In August 2011, I found out that Caller ID was slated for a March 2012 release. I also put together my author bio, acknowledgements page, author picture, and book club questions for the book.

Near the end of September I was sent the first version of my cover. The graphic design department is amazing and they ended up tweaking the cover three times to get just the right image to capture the storyline. The final cover was presented the first week of December. I think they did an amazing job. What do you think?

In October, I was able to hire an amazing editor, Tristi Pinkston, to go over my book line by line to prepare it for the last editing phases at my publisher.

In November, I went over all of Tristi’s editing notes and did another thorough revision of my book.

The first of December, the ARCs or Advance Reader Copies were printed and sent out to reviewers and book buyers.

The week before Christmas, my editor finished up with preliminary edits and sent me the manuscript so that I could go over it and make corrections/changes. Yes, it was crazy, but with publishing everything is on a tight schedule.

The week after Christmas, my editor sent me the final proof in PDF format and I read the entire thing out loud (again) and made notes in a Word document citing page number, paragraph number, and line number where a change or error needed to be corrected.

Now in January 2012 we are only days from Caller ID going to press. I will get to look at the galley or final proof, one last time before it is sent out. The printing will take about six weeks, so my books will be shipping into stores for the release date of March 13, 2012.

So nearly two years after writing the book, Caller ID will be released from my neurotic editing/revising into the world of books! I’m excited for this next phase of the journey.

What phase of the journey are you on? Writing? Editing? Reading? Waiting for a much anticipated sequel?

About Rachelle Christensen

I’m a mom of four cute kids—two girls and two boys. I have an amazing husband, three cats, and five chickens. My first novel was awarded Outstanding Book of the Year from the League of Utah Writers and was also a 2010 Whitney Finalist. My second suspense novel, CALLER ID, was released March 2012. I was born and raised in the rural farmlands of southern Idaho and I like to work over my tiny piece of field AKA garden each year. I love reading, running, singing and playing the piano. After graduating from Utah State University, my husband and I moved our family to Utah County. Visit my blog at to learn more about upcoming books.
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14 Responses to Getting a Book to Press

  1. Jonathan Langford says:

    Interesting. I find it unfortunate that an author would need to be the one to come up with a marketing plan, and — worse yet — would need to hire an editor. It used to be that these services were part of what the publisher did. Nowadays, that doesn’t seem to be so much the case.

    In this respect, small LDS publishers like Cedar Fort may be ahead of the trend, but it’s my sense that this type of thing is becoming more common among large national publishers as well. I remember that after my wife and I read over the first book in Dave Farland’s Runelords series, he told us that we had spent more time and attention on it (and provided more useful suggestions) than his editor at Tor. That was more than 10 years ago. It’s my sense that the trend toward editors at national publishers being able to spend less time with individual books has only gotten stronger in that time…

    As I recall, my wife and I wound up spending something like 40 hours on Dave’s book. We didn’t charge for it, because he was a friend. I don’t think I’d do something like that again for free, though.

  2. You’re right, Jonathan. Any author who wants to be successful today whether they are at the biggest publishing house or the smallest needs to have their own marketing plan. As for the editor, I chose to hire an editor because I used to freelance edit quite a bit and I’m a little crazy about getting my books as clean as possible. I figure every little bit helps because as you mentioned, there seems to be less and less time available to spend on each book. I’m fortunate that my publisher has a PR team that works with authors on their marketing efforts and so I do try to work hard in that area as well.
    40 hours! Man, that is a lot of work, but I can totally see how easy it would be to spend that much time on a book. I’m certain that my in-house editor has spent that much time on my book. That’s one of the reasons I feel so good when the book goes to press, because it is finally DONE…for now. :)

  3. Wm Morris says:

    I think it’s less unfortunate that authors have to write their own marketing plans and more unfortunate that publishers are allocating very few dollars to make those plans happen. While it’s true that social media is important (and free), a good marketing plan generally should involve both paid and free media.

    I’d be happy to write my own marketing plan should I ever write and sell a novel. :-)

  4. Lee Allred says:

    Congrats on the upcoming novel publication, Rachelle!

    I was unaware that Cedar Fort had their Sweetwater imprint. I’m more than a little curious as to how it differs from regular Cedar Fort books. At the risk of sounding a little dense here, what is meant by “national imprint” in this case?

  5. Wm Morris–Great attitude! Yes, I actually enjoy participating in the marketing, but I have some background in that.

    Lee– The National Imprint for CFI differs from the books they publish as Cedar Fort Books because CFI is a LDS publisher. National imprint here means books that are meant for the national market. They do this because otherwise people wouldn’t know how to differentiate the books. My books meet LDS standards, but they are not strictly LDS.

  6. Andrew Hall says:

    Congratulations, Rachelle.
    Authors tell me that CFI has a shorter wait period between acceptance and publication than some other LDS publishers. This may be because they do fine-line editing, but not as much content editing as Deseret Book.
    Sweetwater appears to be CFI’s version of Shadow Mountain.

  7. Lee Allred says:

    Thanks for the information on Sweetwater, Rachelle and Andrew — that was part of what I was wondering, but only part. I guess I didn’t word my question very well (not a good thing for a writer!).

    I write for national market. When I see the words “national imprint” it lights up a little flashing light in my brain labelled “potential submission market”. I’m asking this as a potential CFI — I mean Sweetwater — author: what is a CFI “national imprint?”

    I understand DB vs. Shadow Mountian. I’ve seen Shadow Mountain books in Barnes and Noble bookstores across the country, stocked in regular (non-LDS) book category sections. In submitting a book to Shadow Mountain, I have a resonable expectation that that book would be distributed nationally and shelved in regular category sections. That’s how I would define “national imprint.”

    Is that what CFI’s Sweetwater “national imprint” offers its (potential) authors?

  8. Yes, Lee. That is correct. :)

  9. Hey, we are literally in the same boat. Cedar Fort accepted my manuscript in September. Press date is beginning/middle of February, and my release date is April 2012. I admit I’m kind of nervous.

    You say you hired Tristi to do a re-edit–did Cedar Fort ask you to do this? I’ve been told I’ll be given a word doc and then a pdf to look over, but they haven’t sent it quite yet. Is that standard procedure (to send it out for further editing) or is that just something you did to make sure it was done well, etc? (I admit the idea is tempting, but I’m not sure I have the money to send mine out to a professional editor.)

    Anyway, I’ve also been given a cover and am feeling quite overwhelmed and amazed at all of this. Glad I have someone else I can watch go through it first! You sound so confident… tell me you’re secret. I’m trembling in my boots at the prospect of being published (in my case, for the very first time.)

  10. *your secret* sorry, it’s late.

  11. Sarah,
    Congrats! What an exciting time for you.
    CFI did not ask me to hire an editor, but I wanted an extra edit done (on top of all the critiques I’d already received from my critique group and beta-readers). I asked CFI if I could have it edited before they printed the ARCs and that’s when I hired Tristi. After her editing work, CFI went through it and my editor did a fabulous job. I also was able to look at a Word doc and track changes, then was given a final PDF to look over.
    You can check with your editor and see if you could go over your manuscript again before she starts the final edits. I’m of the opinion that you can always edit/revise a book more, you just have to know where that magical point is to stop. For me, it’s when the book goes to press. :)

    • Jonathan Langford says:

      For me, the point to stop revising is when I’m not sure my changes are improving it anymore. That, and/or the point where if I look at it anymore, I’m likely to just irrationally conclude that it’s garbage and throw it in the trash…

  12. Emily says:

    So exciting! Thanks for sharing this. I began working on a novel a couple months ago that I think has a wonderfully promising story if I can only do it justice in writing it. I have to remember my grad school and English teaching mantra that “Good writing is revision” because it seems like whenever I think about something I wrote, it’s terrible. Thanks for the reminder that revision is oh-so necessary.

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