Life After The Sale of My First Book, Soulless (Important for Writers)

Soulless is One Year Older Today!

I know, Gentle Reader, doesn’t it seem like a millennia ago? The little paranormal the could (my original name for Soulless) is growing up.

Say “goo” Soulless-i-kin.


I’ve been sitting on the following blog for a really long time. At first because I wasn’t certain I should talk about it, and then because I wasn’t certain I wanted to. But I got it out and dusted it off to turn into a handout for this class I’m teaching at WordPlay next month and decided that no, it really was something I wanted to share with you all. Then I realized that today is Soulless’s birthday so I thought, why not?

Now, it’s probably only of interest to the writers out there, so I have placed it under a cut for your convenience. Nevertheless, I do hope some of you enjoy the journey, and perhaps learn something from my experience.

So Miss Carriger, tell us about what it was like After the Sale?

So the call came, the bouncing occurred, the lightning struck, what does one expect next? Here’s what happened to me.

  • 2 months of trying to find an agent culminating in agent.
  • 6 months of contract negotiations. Many phone calls while driving to campus (I was working on my PhD at the time), much pulling off to side of road, a few late classes, students begin to give me odd looks.
  • Decide on publishing house!
  • 3 months of contract negotiations. Contract not yet signed but Locus makes the announcement.
  • Meanwhile, I get Book 1 fixes from editor. I had been led to believe I might cry, so it is a nice surprise to find I can cope with equanimity. Of course, most of the edits were ones I knew I should do, but didn’t want to because I’m lazy. Mark my words; a good editor ALWAYS catches you out.
  • Agent asks for author headshots. I suggest the pseudonymic self. We approach editor about “a persona.”
  • Take headshots.
  • Visit Denver WorldCon and meet with agent, editor, publisher, and publicist. Feel like a real author for the first time.
  • My opinion is asked (!) on cover art. House likes Gail once they meet her, we discuss publicity and I offer to help any way I can.
  • Contract arrives! I sign it, send it back. Orbit announces to press. Champagne is drunk.
  • 6 months after completion of Book1, Book 2 due. I self deadline down to four months so I can give it to my betas before my editor.
  • Realize we have to come up with a series title.
  • I’m asked which authors would I like to blurb Book 1?
  • Am asked to write in-house cover copy. Have to figure out what this means without looking like a greenie goober. (Turns out this is the info on the back of the book, only for use within the publishing house for marketing and cover art and the like.)
  • Write acknowledgements and do an author interview for extras at the end of the book.
  • Also, could I have the first 7 pages of the Book 2 completed and shiny, for inclusion? Panic! All I have for 2 is a rough draft. Scrabble with betas to make first 10 as good as possible.
  • Via Facebook, I learn about possible cover from the model who may, or may not, be on said cover. There are no secrets in the internet age.
  • Month after signing, contract returns, plus advance. Hooray!
  • My release date is moved up to October 2009.
  • The Gail Carriger author website goes live. (My thoughts on the necessity of author websites.)
  • Start to plan a book launch party.
  • Receive copy edits to proof for the Book 1. Due same day as Book 2. Have to turn it around in a week to get it mailed back by deadline.
  • Stop halfway through beta edits on Book 2 to do proof. Drive up to Beta’s house, spend 24 hours going cross-eyed over copy edits, learning proofreader marks along the way. Much hilarity over my abysmal spelling and much arguing about relative merits of em dashes versus ellipses, how not to use a colon, and whether the semi-colon should be banned from the English language.
  • FeEx Book 1 proof back to publisher.
  • A decision is made on the back cover copy they elect to use the one I wrote. I’m flattered and will end up writing all my copy for the rest of the books.
  • Finish and turn in Book 2.
  • Publicist comes up with nifty paper doll publicity idea.
  • Publishing house offers to fly me to New York for BEA in May. Very honored and super excited – tea party!
  • Receive the cover for Soulless. I express an opinion. I worry this is probably not something I, as the author, should do. But can’t help it.
  • I receive bouncy email from editor loving Book 2.
  • I receive notes on Book 2. Manage corrections in a week, because there really aren’t many, ask for some clarification, turn back in.
  • Editor turns it around and back to me over the weekend.
  • Takes another week to put some clarification into Book 2 and add in some pace fixes.
  • Mummers are made about offering for Book 3.
  • Agent and I go back to discussing authors who might blurb Book 1. I come up with a list and track down agents. Always best to go through an agent.
  • Cover art is completed! Yay!
  • Get first blurb from Angie Fox New York Times Bestselling author of The Accidental Demon Slayer. It’s glowing, I’m glowing – shiny!
  • I’m told to shorten my bio for the book jacket. Check!
  • Get to see pdf of full jacket cover with spine and back flap. Love it because there is a little pink octopus. Then panic because URL for my website is wrong.
  • Official release date is October 1!
  • Negotiations begin for Book 3, review contract terms.
  • Meet with tax guy to deal with whole new set of tax issues a book advance brings along.
  • Receive typeset proofs for Book 1 this time with a 3 week turn around. Yes! But, boy am I getting sick of reading first book, did I really write this?
  • Write treatment for Book 3 over the weekend, plus blurb for editor, and deal details for agent.
  • Receive advance (on acceptance) for Book 2.
  • Talk more promotion for Book 1. Ruminate over paper dolls and teabags, order tiny parasols.
  • Cover is officially announced to wide world. Small buzz results.
  • I have my first podcast interview.
  • Write a short story in the same universe for possible iPod app or whatever.
  • Orbit sells French license (for Book 1) to Audrey Petit of Calmann Levy, probably for spring of 2011 – fantastique! What’s Soulless in French?
  • Soulless appears on Amazon.com – another mile marker.
  • I have my first guest blog.
  • I attend my last convention as a fan. It is oddly bittersweet.
  • Receive ARCs (advance reader copies) in the mail. This is really happening!
  • First bookstore, Borderlands, contacts me for a signing, arrange it for the weekend after launch.
  • Fly to BEA: whirlwind of signings, parties, and even interviews, fly back.
  • Small spit of reviews, some nice words from various big name bloggers, and it begins . . .
  • I go to LA for a friend’s book launch and get to meet my model in person.
  • GliIB Trade Show invites me to be in their Author Feast (mm, tasty little authors), radio wants to interview Local Girl Made Good, and World Fantasy gets back to me about Book Launch party.
  • Changeless (Book 2) is given a launch date, April 2010, and I start to worry about getting my fixes in. Blameless (Book 3) not yet turned in but scheduled for release November of 2010.
  • Orbit tells me my print run for Soulless. I am given to understand it is rather good for a first time novel.
  • I finish Blameless first draft and send it to betas.
  • I have my radio interview.
  • I receive Changeless copy edits. As I edit, I find fixes for Blameless. It’s the way of a series, I’m realizing.
  • More reviews start to roll in, as do some very sweet fan letters, and queries for more ARCs to be sent out. People start to ask for guest blogs and interviews and I am kept very busy and entertained writing all about myself. Such opportunity for rapier wit.
  • The awesome Soulless paper doll app launches.
  • I receive my box of actual books. I am delighted to see that the cover is more matt than on the ARC.
  • Only a few days later, my twitter spies report in that they have seen the book in stores on sale even though it is not yet supposed to be on sale. I panic and email my editor. She says that this is OK, they don’t have an SAS (or something) in place. I think, “British special forces – I should hope not!” But it apparently has to do with bookstores being fined if they distribute early. Twitter spies being to mutter, those who can’t find it on sale are annoyed, those who can are annoyed because they ordered it from Amazon and now they will have two copies. I begin to wonder if there is some crafty plan afoot causing people to buy 2.
  • We launch the sample of chapter one of Soulless podcast.
  • On October 1 the book officially goes on sale.

The Beginning . . .

So, this whole process occurred in fits and starts. There were months of silence while people were away, on vacation, or otherwise occupied. Then suddenly everything would happen in a few days. Mostly things happened over email, but at the beginning there were lots of phone calls.

The weirdest part is, it never ended. Until the book was in my hand, I spent the whole time convinced they were going to pull it. That something was going to go wrong. That any change I made would result in the book being dumped. In the end it was a little like resubmitting the poor thing over and over again.

Your moment of parasol . . .

Gail’s Daily Dose
Your Infusion of Cute:
Steampunk fashion shoot
Your Tisane of Smart:
British Library puts Greek manuscripts online.
Your Writerly Tinctures:
Bookends talks how to manage social media as a writer. I have some beef with the advise point # 1. As a reviewer, not an author, I believe EVERY author should have a website or blog with some kind of contact information, whether you are comfortable with this or not.

Quote of the Day:

“Writing is 1 percent inspiration, and 99 percent elimination.”

~ Louise Brooks

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