The Publishing Process

As all of you probably realize by now, this is a blog about my life and my thoughts and my ideas. And, obviously, a HUGE part of my life is writing, which is probably why I talk about it all the time! So while it never fails to amuse me to talk about James Dean, and vacations, and mortifying childhood memories, I always have to come back to writing and my life as a writer.

Today I thought I’d share with you all a sort of timeline of what the publishing process actually looks like. I remember before I was published being really curious as to what exactly happens in the real publishing world, and how long all of it really takes. So now that I’ve sort of figured it out (and I’m still learning, by the way), I thought I might share some of the details with all of you inspiring writers and avid readers!

As an example, I’m going to give you the timeline of my second book, Chasing Jupiter, from budding ideas to complete publication (which hasn’t even happened yet–so I’m going to have to guess a few things!)

April, 2011 – The beginning ideas of a new story entitled “Peaches for Sale” begin swimming around in my head and I start working on a word document (one month after my first book was published!)

May, 2011 – I call up my agent and let him know that I’m working on something new. We discuss the next book idea and both grow very, very excited. I promise to send him the first fifty pages soon.

July, 2011 – I finish the complete first draft of “Peaches for Sale”, which runs at approx. 46,000 words, and send it to my agent for review

August, 2011 – I have multiple hour-long conversations with my agent over the phone discussing my new book and brainstorming revisions to make it even better. He writes up his notes and sends the document back to me to edit.

November, 2011 – Zondervan starts asking my agent about my new book and when they can finally see it. We start realizing that we’ve got to get this thing finished and in their inboxes ASAP.

January, 2012 – After months of revisions and editing, I’m finally happy with “Peaches for Sale”, now at over 52,000 words, and give the okay for my agent to send it to my editor at Zondervan

February, 2012 – Zondervan accepts my submission and gives me an offer on my second book!

March, 2012 – I sign the contract for my new book and receive my first advance check from Zondervan

April, 2012 – Multiple creative geniuses at Zondervan meet and brainstorm title and cover ideas for the new book. They eventually email me with the suggested title “Chasing Jupiter”, which I absolutely love! It definitely fits the feel of the book and is much more versital than my previous title, which felt too summery.

I passed this sign on our way back from Florida. I guess I was “Chasing Jupiter” and I didn’t even know it!

May, 2012 – I finally get my hands on the cover to “Chasing Jupiter” and post it here, where I find out that all of you love it as much as I do! A release date for the book is set for December 2012.

May, 2012 – I set up a date to get new author photos taken for publicity purposes–when you’re a teenager, you can change a lot in just a short year and a half! I send a few of my favorites to my editor and publicist to use for promotional ads and the Zondervan website.

The main picture chosen by Zondervan to be my new author photo.

June, 2012 – I receive my first round of major edits from my editor at Zondervan. There’s a lot of work to be done to the book, but I know that all of it will work to make the story stronger and more cohesive for my readers. My deadline for revisions is July 20th.

September, 2012 – I begin making arragements for speaking engagments after the publication of my second book, including schools, libraries, homeschool conventions, and churches (By the way–if you are interested in having me speak at your school, church, or homeschool group, email me and we’ll see if we can work something out! REC804 at hotmail dot com)

At my first ever book signing in Philadelphia with my editor Jacque!

October, 2012 – I send in the dedication for Chasing Jupiter. I forgot about that for Interrupted and I really want something meaningful for this book!

I receive the second round of edits from my editor. This time it’s nothing major, just a few slight tweaks here and there. I give her the okay to make those changes and move on with the production of the book.

November, 2012 – My publicist and other Zondervan workers start putting out ads, arranging interviews, and preparing for the launch of Chasing Jupiter next month!

December, 2012 – I’m sent the mockup cover for the book and look over it to make sure there’s no mistakes, my name is spelled right, and my bio info is correct. Once I give the okay, the book goes to print!

Zondervan sends me the advance copies of my book several weeks before the publication date, as well as sending reading copies to hundreds of lucky bloggers all over the world! Soon, those bloggers will write reviews (good or bad) and start getting the buzz going about my new book. It’s a very scary thing!

My second novel, Chasing Jupiter, is released and should be available at your local bookstore!

Whew! Sometimes I forget about how much work goes into publishing a book! It certainly makes one want to take another vacation, haha! Like I said, this is all just leading up to the release date of the book. After the first of the year, I’ll start doing book signings and speaking engagements again, so like I said, email me if you’re interested in having me sign or speak somewhere near you!



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  1. * cait says:

    Wow! I loved seeing your *publishing timeline* set out like that. It’s definitely a process. And, I was just wondering, did you have trouble starting Chasing Jupiter after the publication of your first novel?

    I’m a new follower, love your blog, and congrats on having your first AND second book on the shelves. 🙂

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
    • * RachelC says:

      Hi, Cait! Thanks for commenting. 🙂 That is a great question! Truthfully, I think it was waiting for the idea for “Chasing Jupiter” to come along that was harder than writing the book. I had lots of ideas for stories, but none of them really felt *right*. I started freaking out and thinking “What if I never find something that I can use to make into a second book and I end up being a one-hit wonder???” 😉 But all that waiting around finally paid off because as soon as I got the idea for “Chasing Jupiter” it just fit. Everything fell into place and felt totally right and I always say that was one of the easiest first drafts I’ve ever written! 🙂

      | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
  2. * Jenna says:

    Awesome!! sounds exciting!!! 😀

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
  3. * Emily says:

    This is so interesting! Thanks for sharing, Rachel! 🙂 It sounds super exciting, too, as Jenna said! 😀

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
  4. * Sierra says:

    I can’t wait for Chasing Jupiter to be released. Thanks for the inside peek at what brought your newest book into orbit 😀 It was really interesting to read about it month by month, and to me as a writer, it sounds so exciting! Sierra
    Keep growing beautiful!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
  5. * Emii says:

    Is that Chasing Jupiter’s official cover? I like it! It’s cool. And love the sign about chasing Jupiter. 😀

    Aaaaah I’m actually that excited to read it! Haha I’d love to book you for a speaking arangement, maybe you could talk to Zondervan about a ticket to Australia?:P

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
  6. * Mandi Lynn says:

    Wow, the behind the scenes of publishing is really long! I’m actually surprised they don’t edit the book more though; I suppose it is professionals doing this so it wouldn’t take as many drafts.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 8 months ago
  7. * Allison Young says:

    Thanks for doing this — it was both informative and enjoyable. And amazing that you wrote Chasing Jupiter completely in three months! I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 7 months ago

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