Guest Post: “The Publishing Process: My Longest Project” by Tami Veldura
People occasionally ask: What is the process like when you publish a book? The question is simple but if you ask twenty authors, you’ll get thirty different answers. Until Serenity my answer was boring: I submit, they edit, and publish. It wasn’t very complicated or drawn out. My drafts tend to be rather clean and I love editing, so I embrace the opportunity to change my work for the better. It takes about six months to go from submission to published, I would tell people.
That changed with a little 5k flash fiction I gave the working title Sugar On The Asphalt.
Stealing Serenity started life as a very short piece of hot bondage fic with no plot and hardly any character. Bottom Drawer Publications was seeking a collection of very short fiction to piece together in an anthology. I didn’t have time to write one, I was supposed to be editing another book. So I wrote it in one afternoon despite my packed schedule and I sent it off without much fanfair.
I hoped they would accept it (of course I did) but my head was full of another story and I didn’t give the submission much thought.
Almost two months later I received the strangest acceptance letter I’ve seen to date. Yes, we love your story (woo!) but we don’t have enough submissions for an anthology and would you mind terribly expanding this to at least 15k words?
I’d never tried to inflate a story before, and this was a big request. From 5k to 15? That meant I needed to find a plot. And real characters. And maybe some belivable conflict. I said yes and after several conversations with the lovely ladies at Bottom Drawer, we hatched a plan.
It took me a few months to go from 5 to 15k, but in the end I produced what is likely to be remembered as the worst draft of a story I’ve ever written. All the characters changed, only two of the original scenes made it into the new version, all of a sudden I had a thief main character and I’d done no research to prepare for that.
My developmental edit was brutal. There were notes on every paragraph. Almost every line! There was more red-ink than salvageable work. And lets not even get started on the pacing. But I got two important things out of it: a plot and a pair of strong main characters I was quickly growing to love.
The next stage involved research. I had to learn everything about shibari (japanese rope bindng) and professional thieving. I needed to know how auction houses worked, what kind of laws surrounded charity busniesses, and backstory! I had no backstory leading up to my plot at all.
So I did what I should have done from the very start, I opened a new file and I outlined my story. I started months before chapter one and managed to work things out through the climax. My ending got a bit fuzzy though. I didn’t like what I’d drafted but nothing better was springing to mind. I decided to leave it blank and see what I came up with when I got there.
The re-draft took even longer this time. Chunks of dialogue and exposition were useable this time, but the scenes swapped order, some of them didn’t make the transition well, and a few were scrapped entirely. The story expanded further, from 15k to 25k!
I received a second developmental edit, something I’d never had to go through before. Serenity needed it though. She was a frankenstein of two different drafts with thousands of new words and after months of working on it I was too close to the story to remember what version was true. The second round of edits was merciful, mostly a series of continuity checks that I gladly changed.
Turnaround for line-edits happened in under a week, a good thing since marketing for a July 5th release date was already underway at that point.
In the end, from first draft to publication, Serenity took a year and a half. Ninteen months of work.
My little flash fiction is all grown up and you can get it today from Bottom Drawer Publications.
All about Stealing Serenity
Quiz and Giveaway (http://www.tamiveldura.com/2014/07/stealing-serenity-quiz-and-giveaway.html)
All about Tami
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Twitter: @tamiveldura (https://twitter.com/tamiveldura)
Goodreads: Tami (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5205605.Tami_Veldura)