It’s been two months, one week, and two days since I signed on with Dreamspinner Press. The initial email message from them explained all the steps leading up to a December or January release for Until Thanksgiving. The long list was intimidating and a little frightening.
The message from the editor said to be patient. My manuscript was in the queue, and I might not hear from them for a while. Since then, whether by accident or design, I’ve heard from someone with my publisher just often enough to keep from losing my mind.
That first message also included instructions for connecting with other Dreamspinnner writers via a dedicated message board. I can’t say enough about how warm, welcoming, and generous the other writers have been. Now we follow each other on Twitter and are friends on Facebook.
Except for my friend Adrienne Wilder, I haven’t met any of the other Dreamspinner writers in person, but feel very much a part of the family. Quite a few attended the Gay Romance Literature Retreat in Albuquerque last week. Judging from all the pictures on Facebook and blog posts, they had a heck of a good time. Next year’s retreat will be in Atlanta, practically my back yard, and I don’t intend to miss it.
Blog swaps kept me busy for most of that first month. Things started getting real when I received the questionnaires for the cover and the short synopsis (more commonly known as “the blurb”). Some of the questions were easy to answer. But a lot of them really made me have to think about my story and details about the characters.
The cover artist and I have exchanged quite a few emails. Seeing the initial drafts was a rush, and I had no trouble selecting a favorite. He’s nailed the Josh character (no pun intended), is polishing up Thad, and is still working on Adam. We’re very close to the final draft.
I haven’t heard from the blurb people yet, and still need to write a bio. The editors have my dedication and acknowledgments. All of that should come together in the next few weeks.
The big unknown has been how much I’d need to do to the manuscript to satisfy the editors. I prepared myself for the worst, keeping vacation time in reserve in case I needed to take time off from the day job to get the revisions done by the deadline. I imagined massive rewrites, enhancements to character development, and tweeks to tighten up the plot would take days, if not weeks.
Yesterday morning, I got an email message from the editors right before I left for work. Two files were attached: a one-pager with global comments and the marked up manuscript (using Track Changes in Word) with suggestions for revision. As soon as I got home from the day job, I buried myself in the marked up document to work on the revisions.
Four hours later, I was done. The vast majority of changes were specific to my publisher’s editorial guidelines. This would include the way words are hyphenated (or not) and things like T-shirt instead of t-shirt. They added a comma here, took one away there, and in a few places, even added semicolons. In spots they suggested a different word–like might rather than may. In other words, with only a few exceptions, the requested changes were very minor and I had no problem making them.
Two mistakes appeared throughout my writing–and I’d never heard of either one, so I learned something. I have problems with ISAs and ABMs. Sounds serious, doesn’t it?
ISAs are Impossible Spontaneous Actions. They come about when gerunds (-ing words) are used improperly. For example: He walked into the room, smiling at everyone present. Use of the gerund means the two actions (walked and smiling) take place at the same time. ISAs involve a verb and a gerund that can’t happen at the same time.
ABMs are Autonomous Body Movements. Again, not something I’d ever heard of. These occur when a writer tries to get around repeating a noun-verb phrase such as “he looked at her boobs” by saying something like “his eyes went to her boobs.” The eyes didn’t move–he moved his eyes.
After three rounds of edits, Dreamspinner will give me an exact release date. I was expecting the first round–the marked-up document I got yesterday–sometime after November 7th. The revisions were so minor I expect the next round to come in the next week or two. Unless something comes up, I might not even need a third edit.
The contract I signed back in August predicted a December or January release date. That I’m running ahead of schedule makes me think a December release date is highly likely–just in time for you to gift everyone you know with a copy.
A December release date would be a great gift. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. If I get my way, you know I’ll have one very Merry Christmas here in…
My Glass House