It has been 16 months since I signed a book contract with Schiffer Publishing for SOAR, and while I am so excited to see the end result and have people read Ramone’s story, I am blown away by how much I have learned about the publishing process. As I begin the submission process for the next project in the pipeline, the knowledge I have gained these past months has been invaluable.
After our initial contract signing in November 2018, Angie only had seven months to complete the remaining 30 full-page illustrations for the book. The book submission guidelines only required Angie to sketch a storyboard of the entire book with text placement and one full color image of the main character. So, while she worked all day at her regular job as an art teacher at Warwick High School in Lititz, PA, she spent her evenings and weekends sketching and painting Ramone and his world. It was quite an undertaking to say the least.
While Angie was diligently sketching and painting, I was busy figuring out what came next — after all, the book was already written. Little did I know, there is a lot to do behind the scenes. Luckily Schiffer provides a guide book to authors explaining the different steps in the publishing process detailing what parts I am responsible for as the author, and what the publisher takes care of. I have read this guide book more times than I can count, but it is an invaluable resource as I work through this process for the first time.
Two of the major items on my to-do list were completing the New Book Description Form and the Marketing spreadsheet. These two items were essential to our final submission in July. The New Book Description Form included long descriptions for catalogs (125-250 words), bullet points for catalogs, along with short descriptions for the book jacket (50-125 words). As you can imagine, these descriptions were rewritten numerous times in order to get to the appropriate word count and also to create the best description possible for the book.
The next item on the list was the Marketing spreadsheet. This spreadsheet helped me narrow my focus and really think about my target audience, selling points of my book, what type of events would help sell the book, and how I would promote the book via social media. I also identified businesses, schools, media outlets, book reviewers and others that I would like to promote my book to, either for an event, publicity, a review, or potential sales. This spreadsheet is still a work in progress today as we get closer to the release of the book in July. I am constantly updating the spreadsheet with new ideas of places/people that may have an interest in SOAR.
Along with the New Book Description Form, Marketing spreadsheet, and checking in with Angie on her progress, I also had to format the text per the author guidelines. That’s where that guide book came into play once again. In order to format the text, I needed to follow specific style guides set up by the publisher and insert them into the text before each formatting change. Once this process was done, I sent the information off to my editor and waited for the next step in the process, which was our final submission in July.
After our final submission, there was a lull on our end since Schiffer had to scan all of Angie’s illustrations, upload them, and digitally retouch them. In September of 2019 the process started back up again when I received the edited, formatted text to create the galley. The galley is all of the formatted text I submitted in July with designated image insertion points for Angie’s illustrations. As part of the final submission process, Angie and I numbered each image which I inserted into the appropriate place in the story to create the galley.
Once the galley was completed, we waited to see a PDF of the final book put together with text and illustrations. In January of this year, we received a PDF of the final cover, book jacket, and inside pages of the complete book. It was such an amazing sight to see all of the pieces come together that Angie and I had worked so hard on. A few weeks later, on February 5, SOAR became available for pre-sale on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, I went crazy with excitement that morning when I first saw it. That same morning, we heard from our editor that we were able to promote SOAR ourselves, which is where I am currently at in the process.
The next big milestone is seeing the physical book from the first run. It will be a day I have dreamed about for years!
As for the next project, the manuscript is already written and Angie is in the process of capturing the essence of the main character, just like she did the first time around. We are taking everything we learned the first time around with SOAR and creating an even stronger submission for this next story.