UPTD Manuscript Submission and Revision

When I signed the contract for Up Pops the Devil in June, I was given a September 1 deadline.  I hate to confess this but I missed my deadline.  The good news is that I knew I was going to miss it so I was able to inform my agent who informed by editor who gracefully gave me a three-week extension. 

I made the September due date and submitted my manuscript via e-mail at 7:30 am on Monday, September 24.  I’ve figured out that I do better with Monday due dates, as they give me the weekend to focus totally on the manuscript.  Since I have a full-time job, this is very important. I can’t take full days during the week to work on my writing so weekends are precious.

For those of you wondering, I submit my manuscript as a single Word document with one-inch margins, using Times New Roman with a font size of 12.  As I’m writing the manuscript, I have a separate file for each chapter (Using Word’s master document feature to view/print them as a single document), but once I send it in, I consolidate the chapter files into a single file and that’s the way I work on the manuscript from that time forward.

So I turned my book in on September 24 and settled back thinking it would be around Thanksgiving before I got back a revision letter.  Now Thanksgiving is a perfect time for me because I’m out on Thanksgiving break.  Well, guess what happened?  You’ve got it. 

On October 2, less than TWO WEEKS later, I receive an e-mail from my editor saying that she’d read the manuscript, “thoroughly enjoyed it” and thought the revisions would be minor.  I experienced two very strong reactions to this news.  The first was a joy-filled sense of relief.  I always feel a bit of anxiety when I turn a manuscript in.  I want editorial feedback because I want to publish the strongest story possible, but I also want the editor to be happy with what I’d submitted and also happy that she’d bought the book in the first place.  So for a few moments I basked in the joy of having turned in a book that not only worked for me, but worked for my editor.  Hallelujah!

After those first few moments passed, my emotions turned frantic.  I couldn’t believe my editor and her assistant (the fabulous Wendy Lee) had read my manuscript in less then TWO WEEKS and that they would have an editorial letter on the way soon.  My plans to work over Thanksgiving were going down the drain and I was panicking about how I was going to find time to complete the revisions.  I decided not to panic, maybe they wouldn’t get the manuscript back to me so quickly.

Wrong again.  Wendy sent me an e-mail on Tuesday, October 9, saying she was overnighting the line-edited manuscript along with her letter of revision and that she wanted the manuscript back by November 12.  My worst fears realized! Of course, I said nothing and told myself I could do it. 

The manuscript ended up being delayed a day so I didn’t get it until two days later.   The first thing I did was read the four-page revision letter.  As usual, the letter started with a paragraph praising my “wonderfully compellling story.”  Then it moved on to the good stuff.

A little more than a page was spent detailing broad points for me to consider as I went through the manuscript.  For example, the letter mentioned redundancy with a particular character and suggested I watch out for it.  The final two pages were specific items, each labelled with a page number, that I needed to address.  For example,

p. 142: “We can’t take care of it for you because we’d take a bit chunk of your profit for ourselves…” Not sure what Dante means here.  Circle Autos is a car dealership but doesn’t handle used cars, right?

The letter concluded with a reminder of the due date.  The accompanying manuscript had marks on it  corresponding to the items mentioned in the letter.  For example, there was a mark on p. 142.  There were other editor’s marks on the manuscript as well.  I tend to get a lot of “word repetiton” stuff like, “he keeps clapping people on the back.  Can’t he do something else?”

After reviewing the letter, reading through the manuscript and making sure I understood what the editors wanted from me, I scheduled a phone call with Wendy to go over my revision plans and to get some items clarified.  This conversation happened around lunchtime on Friday, October 19. My goal during this conversation was to make sure I understood what the editors saw as problems and to give them a general idea of how I planned to address their concerns.  That way, the editors wouldn’t be surprised when they got the manuscript back.

On Monday, October 23, I sent Wendy an e-mail telling her the Nov. 12th due date wouldn’t be a problem.  Well, reality set in at some point shortly after that e-mail and I was able to get an extension until November 27, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. As before, I emailed the revised manuscript back to her.  Believe it or not, Wendy got back to me the same day with some comments on a particular change that I wanted her to specifically review.  I’m telling you, she’s fast.

On Thursday, November 29, I received a “Congratulations” e-mail accepting my revisions.  Acceptance meant that the publisher would release the remainder of my advance and that the next time time I’d see the manuscript would be after it had been copyedited.

My agent received the “acceptance” check on December 7.  On December 10, she sent me an e-mail saying my check (less her commission) was being sent priority mail with delivery confirmation.  On December 13, my check arrived.  Up Pops the Devil, Book 1 of the contract, was officially done.  For now.  I’ll pick up with the rest of the process in my next post.

This post turned out to be longer than I expected.  Thanks for sticking with me.

Note: This is the second post in my series on Up Pops the Devil from contract to published book.  If you missed the first one, you can read it HERE.

10 thoughts on “UPTD Manuscript Submission and Revision

  1. Thank Angela for sharing the writing process with an editor! I’m only working on my second WIP, but I’ve been determined to learn how to work with a deadline.

    Now when you turn in your manuscript, how many drafts have you written? You’re not just turning in a rough draft I imagine. It’s taking me three months just to finish a rough draft which is much better than my 2 years on the first one. LOL!

  2. Ty, drafts vary from book to book. I tend to edit after the completion of every chapter, then after the completing every three chapters, then after the completion of every 100 pages. I do this all the way through the book. So typically when I finish the book is pretty clean.

    What the book doesn’t have though is the benefit of a fresh eye from me. The best way to accomplish this is to put the book aside for a couple of weeks and then come back to it. Unfortunately, I tend to write so close to deadline that I rarely have two weeks to spare.

    What I’ve done to compensate is hire an outside editor who serves as my “fresh eye.” Some writers have readers who read all their books for them. Whichever way floats your boat. You have to find what works for you.

    But you have to get a fresh eye on the manuscript otherwise all you see is what you wanted it to say, not what it says.

  3. Wow – this process is turning into a great “story” itself. My eyes were glued to the screen as I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next!

  4. Angela,

    Thanks for sharing. Wow your editor is fast. I turn in my manuscript by September 1, since it’s done and I’m just glaring at it, I’ll probably do it by the 15th and get “cool girl” points for being early. Don’t know when I’ll get my edits, but I’m sure to think of you as I try to figure out how to get them done with a full-time job and a toddler under foot. Oh me. God is a provider of everything, including time.

  5. Rhonda, if I turned a book in early, my editors just might have a stroke. 🙂 I want to be like you when I grow up.

    Rosiland, what a nice comment. I worried the post would be too long.

  6. Angela,

    It’s interesting to learn that multi-published authors also have anxiety about turning in their work. I get anxious about turning in work to my writing group, and I’d better get to work because my deadline is coming up!

    Thanks for sharing this part of the writing/publishing process.



  7. Wow Angela, this is GREAT information! I love learning about your process but I still have this fantasy in my head about ‘locking myself in a room and coming out three days later with a prize-winning book.’

    Then I would send it to a publisher – just a blurry figure – get a 10,000 dollar advance, and the book would be out next month and sell 1.5 million copies in its first month.

    I know that’s unrealistic. Maybe that’s why I’m stuck with these ‘books in me’, instead of ‘on paper.’

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