Contracts, Edits, And Errata OR The Least Creative Title Ever

As promised, today’s post will be the last in my three-part series  introducing my novel, The Seneca Scourge. From contract to errata. How sexy is that?

Hey, big fella, wanna see my errata?

The Contract

I am not a contract expert. My knowledge of the law stems from The Good Wife and Suits. But after visiting various author forums, I learned that my publisher’s contract was fairly standard. For me, five conditions were pivotal.

  • Understanding when rights would revert back to the author. In my case, after three years, unless the publisher and I mutually agree to extend the contract.
  • Royalties paid are comparable to accepted standards. See How Much Should an Author’s Ebook Royalty Be? for a discussion of fair author royalties.
  • Aside from typographical and grammatical errors, no editorial changes would be made without author input.
  • A contract buyout existed if the author chose to terminate the contract early.
  • In the event the publisher went out of business or declared bankruptcy, rights would return to the author.

The Waiting

Shortly after signing the contract September 2011, I received a welcome letter and author handbook. I also received a projected release date of September 2012 and was told my assigned editor would contact me three months before that time.

So I waited. June came; the editor’s email did not. What if they forgot about me? What if they came to their senses? What if another book about an influenza pandemic surfaced? What if I got influenza and died?

It only takes a droplet…

The Editing

1)  Main Edit

Finally, July 7th, I heard from my editor.

Talk about hesitation to open an email. Ever had your gut clench, suggesting a potty’s in need?

What if he changes everything? What if he recommends chopping a pivotal scene? What if he suggests a character cut? What if he says, “Well, this here is crap, so I used it to wipe my arse?”

Luckily, none of the above occurred (well, I’m not sure about that last one). In fact, most of his suggestions were minor—simple rephrasing of sentences, clarification of passages. The biggest change involved a one-page rewrite.

Phew!

2) Line Edits

Satisfied with my changes, on July 26th the editor requested my line edits (or check edits). Line edits consist of reading through the manuscript line by line and copying and pasting any typographical, grammatical, or punctuation errors onto a separate document—not in the manuscript itself—and rewriting the correct sentence below. For example:

The brown dof jumped over the fence.
The brown dog jumped over the fence.

The author only includes a few words—no page numbers or chapter listings—just enough text so the editor can locate the error in the actual manuscript.

3) Errata

No rest for the weary. On August 10th, the senior editor requested my errata for the book galley, which is the manuscript in its copyedited and typeset form. Similar to line edits, one looks for typos and improper punctuation—no other changes allowed. Knowing it was my final go-through instilled anxiety. Luckily, the senior editor made only one grammatical change, and the fact that I noticed illustrates just how many times I’ve been through the freaking manuscript.

After finding a few other tiny mistakes (a forgotten period, a misplaced apostrophe), as well as a chunk of text mistakenly converted to italics during the editor’s formatting, I submitted my short errata. And hoped between the three of us, we weeded out the debris.

Would you like a little trash with your reading?

What now?

Now I wait for the release date. Oh, and try to learn about marketing, which, for an introvert, is pretty much akin to torture.

Please remember I signed with a small e-book and POD publisher, so my experience may be very different from those who sign with a more traditional publisher.

Have any of you gone through this process? What about your beta reads? Any major cuts you had to make? Was it painful? Did you sneeze on your beta reader?

All images from Microsoft Clip Art

113 Responses to “Contracts, Edits, And Errata OR The Least Creative Title Ever”

  1. Love & Lunchmeat

    A friend of mine is under contract for several book releases in 2013. (I believe three of these are with Harlequin.) I’m curious what she’ll say about the process when it’s all over. She doesn’t blog, but she has agreed to guest blog eventually. I’m sure we’ll try to coincide it with her book coming out. (Plus, hopefully, my own blog will grow in the interim.)

    I actually find errata interesting. When you think about it, nothing makes a better story than life errata.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Congratulations to her. That’s wonderful to have a contract for several books. And I like your expanded view of the word ‘errata.’ It certainly is our mistakes we often learn most from.

      Like

  2. sweetmother

    i think this awesome. i can not wait to read your book and i love that you’re chronicling it here. that’s so cool. hmmm, as for me it’s been proposal and re-edit and proposal and re-edit. and now, a last edit from my agent with some different stats that she wants and then i finally think she’s running with it. and then, of course, i’ll have to write the actual book because the proposal is only a couple of chapters… i think i’ve said this before, but i’m so impressed that you’re doing fiction, as i find that extremely difficult. much love, sm

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you! And congrats to you on getting a book proposal accepted with an agent. Exciting stuff. But yeah, I suppose you do have to write it then…
      :)

      Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Yes, both print and e-book. The e-book will be released first, I suspect. Not sure how much later the paper book follows. Unfortunately, the paper books of small presses can be a bit pricey, but I can purchase copies with my author discount and then sell them locally, which is probably where they’ll be most effective. Thanks for your interest.
      :)

      Like

  3. jmmcdowell

    Okay, a silly thought just went through my mind. Remember the YouTube link you had about the poor author sitting alone at his signing table? You could avoid that by combining your book signing with a flu shot event. I said it was silly! But I thought you might get a laugh out of the image. :)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      It’s funny you say that, because two days ago I went to CVS with my son and noticed they were already giving flu vaccines out. Jokingly, I said, “Hey, maybe I should see if they’ll let me sell my book here.” But then I thought about it–maybe not such a bad idea. They could have a stack of my books where people wait to receive their shot. While they wait, they can read my book–about a horrible outbreak. Then they will feel even better about getting their flu shot and maybe even buy my book to finish it.
      :)

      Hey, they say to think outside the box. It appears you and I are. So maybe not so silly after all…

      I appreciate you stopping back and posting that comment, because now I will think about it even more seriously. It can’t hurt to ask, anyway.

      Like

      • jmmcdowell

        I keep seeing advice that we need to be creative in our marketing (oh, I dread that day), and a medical tie-in with your book makes sense to me! Totally irrelevant, but last year I got my first flu shot. My doctor said they’re recommended for most everyone now. Of course, I got sick more often and worse than I had in years. Logically, I know it’s coincidence, not causation. But my not-so logical side isn’t convinced.

        I hope you hear about your release date, soon—maybe the fact that it’s now 8/29 means it will be 9/15. Or, as you said below, you might see it on Amazon first. :)

        Like

        • Carrie Rubin

          I figure I’ll just keep checking Amazon and one day will find it listed. Or someone will tweet me that my book is out.
          ;)

          As for the flu shot, I suspect your bouts of illnesses were purely coincidental. The flu shot contains inactivated virus. At least it doesn’t leave a scar like that godawful smallpox vaccine did. I believe I was one of the last years to receive it. My smallpox “tattoo.”
          :)

          Like

  4. Kourtney Heintz

    Carrie thanks for taking me through your journey. CONGRATS again! This is so exciting! I’m definitely bookmarking this post for future reference. Right now, I’m going through my manuscript with an agent and making revisions for a resubmit. It was more of a renovation than I expected, but the book is getting way better. :)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Good to hear. I have no doubt that you will land an agent. You’re so disciplined and committed. Just the fact that you’re making revisions based on an agent’s suggestion shows they’re interested in you. And when that Kourtney Heintz book comes out, I’ll be first in line. Along with Grandma H.
      :)

      Like

  5. Curmudgeon-at-Large

    I just completed reading your three part saga and compliment you on your multi-year dedication. I’ll be very curious to see how you, the introverted non-marketer, will respond if you are asked to do something extroverted like speak about your book on a book tour.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and comment!

      Yes, the face-to-face marketing will prove interesting. But even though I’m a Grade A introvert, I’ll muddle through it. I’ll just put on my social mask and get going.
      ;)

      Like

      • Curmudgeon-at-Large

        As encouragement, a good friend, also a Grade A introvert, has completed his first book and has found himself promoting it on tour and doing quite well with speaking engagements.

        Like

        • Carrie Rubin

          Good to hear. Once I get word on when the paper version will be released, I’ll start working on some local venues–at the very least, some book signings. But who knows? Maybe someone will want me to talk about influenza.
          :)

          Thanks again!

          Like

  6. Audrey Kalman

    What you have described of the publishing process rings true for me, having spent the first few years of my working life (back in the Pleistoscene Age) at a textbook publishing company. Galleys, author proofs, errata… it’s all coming back to me now!

    I’m very excited for the launch and can’t wait to read the book!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Thank you! You have had your fingers in lots of pies, haven’t you?

      I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t know what an errata was until I went through this process. Still sounds a little dirty to me…

      Like

  7. Diane Henders

    I love my beta readers! They say flat-out, “This doesn’t work.” It hurts for the first few seconds, but then my innate anal-retentive pickiness kicks in and I’m compelled to not only change what they criticized, but also find the big-picture mistake that caused the problem in the first place.

    In my latest book, my betas took issue with one line of dialog. They all agreed that the character wouldn’t say that, and they were right. Not only were they right about that one line, but I also re-edited the entire book and found a couple more instances where I’d put the wrong words in that character’s mouth because I wasn’t paying enough attention to his fundamental personality traits. One little criticism made the whole book better.

    I don’t know what I’d do without my beta readers. :-)

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Sounds like you have good readers. It’s only natural to jump on the defensive at first–or at least that’s what I do–but then, once you sit back and think about it, you realize that their input has merit and will likely make the story better (just as you pointed out). The same can be said for agents that give negative feedback–and sometimes in a brusque way. But once my feathers smoothed, I realized how lucky I was that they actually took time to give me a pointer rather than just a form letter dismissal. I incorporated every piece of advice agents gave me, even if it came with a manuscript rejection.
      :)

      Like

  8. 4amWriter

    This is very interesting info to read. Love the word ‘errata’. Sounds like the process was relatively painless (I’ve heard horror stories). How interesting that they have you copy/paste original incorrect sentence with the corrected version below instead of correcting original doc. Seems like extra steps, although I’m sure there’s a good reason for it.

    Can’t wait for your big day!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Maybe it’s so they know you haven’t made any other changes to the manuscript that they don’t know about? Plus, once they format it, I guess it’s easy to mess up if someone other than the editor starts making changes.

      And yes, “errata” is a pretty cool word, although technically, erratum is the singular form, but most people use the plural (something I looked up, though why I don’t know, considering it’s not like I have a lot of time on my hands…)
      :)

      Like

  9. What Happens after the Editor Says Yes? « Fay Moore: I Want To Be a Writer

    […] http://carrierubin.com/2012/08/27/contracts-edits-and-errata-or-the-least-creative-title-ever/#comme… Tell others about this:RedditPrintTwitterFacebookEmailLinkedInDiggStumbleUponTumblrPinterestLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Posted by Fay Moore. Categories: E-Publishing, Story Telling, Market Your Book, Pleasing the Reader, Selling. Tags: book, writer, e-publishing, marketing, e-publish, e-book, e-marketing, writing, author, writing skills, edit, self-publishing, selling, indie author, indie publisher, indie book, self-promotion, editing, How-to, Carrie Rubin, print on demand, e-selling, write, editor, manuscript, publication, errata, contract. Leave a comment […]

    Like

  10. jmmcdowell

    I’m glad to see the press corrected your name in the forthcoming titles. :)

    Now get that author page up and running!

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      They did give Connie the boot. That was nice to see. I have everything I need ready to put on my author pages (Amazon, Goodreads) but am waiting on the release, so I can include the appropriate links. And I think the publisher gets my Amazon author page going and I tweak it from there. I’ll do a Facebook page as well. As for my blog, I’m going to put up a static page. I emailed a few other bloggers who’ve published and have both a website and a blog. Two of the three told me the separate website wasn’t worth it, and a third said it was probably only worth it if I was a whiz at HTML, which I’m not. So at least, that’s one less thing to do. It was really great to be able to seek their advice.

      Like

  11. whiteladyinthehood

    You wrote a book and all you had to do was go back and make some minor grammar changes!!! Holy Smokes – that sounds like you nailed it! I hope all your hard work pays off and the book does spectacular! I can’t wait to read it – September is right around the corner.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Well, remember, I had a manuscript critique done early on. Believe me, after that, there were plenty of changes to be made. Big ones. Plot holes and structural weaknesses. Not sure if I fixed them all, but at least they passed the muster with these editors. And remember, it’s a small press, so their manuscript-acceptance criteria may be a little more lenient than a big boy press.
      :)

      Like

  12. acflory

    Don’t stop writing these posts now! Learning the pros and cons of marketing will be just as interesting.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      For sure I’ll post on my marketing experiences as well. After all, the mission of this blog is to discuss my “transition” into writing (in a humorous way, of course) as others are surely doing the same.
      :)

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. Is always appreciated.

      Like

  13. Subtlekate

    I had no idea about all of this stuff. It’s fascinating to read.
    FB page is pretty easy. Join and make a page for your book and we’ll all like it, I promise.

    Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      Oh, good. Thank you.
      :)

      From what I understand, you can now just set up a Facebook page instead of having to do the whole FB “thing.” It’s on my to-do list. Like so many other things…

      Thanks for coming round.
      :)

      Like

      • acflory

        From what I’ve read, Author pages on Amazon, FB and Goodreads are more or less mandatory. :/ If you go to the Indies Unlimited site and look down the sidebar you’ll find a link to Tutorials. There are stacks of them and a great many are about these kinds of marketing issues. Doesn’t matter that you’re not an indie because the marketing remains the same.

        Like

        • Carrie Rubin

          Thanks so much for the info. I’ll check out that site.

          It stipulates in my contract that I must have an author website, of which my blog serves the purpose. I will also set up an author page on Goodreads and Amazon once my book is out (though I think my publisher actually starts my Amazon author page, then I can tweak it.) I have a Facebook page on my to-do list as well. So many things I need to attend to this week. I have the info ready; I just need to set up the sites.

          Thanks again. I appreciate any help I can get.
          :)

          Like

    • Carrie Rubin

      I am indeed, but remember, introverts can function quite nicely on the Internet. It’s when it comes time to tote those books to local merchants that it becomes a bit frightening.
      :)

      Like

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