Aphrodisia Authors

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Life Cycle of a Book

Something I’ve learned as a writer is that each book has its own distinctive life cycle.

My first published book, Champagne Rules, was years in the making. I had the idea, mucked around with it, revised it, revised it some more, went back and started from scratch. But once I’d sold it (on a proposal that consisted of about 100 finished pages plus a teeny synopsis), the project raced ahead. I sold in May 2005 and told my publisher I could finish the book by the end of July. Taking me at my word, Kensington slotted the book in for February 2006 – the second month of the launch of Aphrodisia. And yes, that’s incredibly quick. Almost never does a book go from submission to print in 6 months!

It was an amazing period, learning about copy-edits and page proofs, cover images and blurbs. Working on a website, bookmarks, ads, all of that fun stuff. Oh, and in there, I was also writing the second book in the series (Hot in Here), spending 5 weeks traveling in Australia and Hawaii, and writing a novella titled “Hot Down Under” for The Firefighter.

Very exciting! I could barely catch my breath.

My current release, She’s on Top, has had a very different life cycle. It’s the last book in the 4-book Awesome Foursome series that started with Champagne Rules. When I sold the first book, I hoped Kensington would buy all four – and hurray, they did, in two 2-book contracts. Rina, the heroine of She’s on Top, appeared in Champagne Rules, so from the beginning I had a sense of her personality and issues (I also knew who her hero would be). As I wrote book 2 (Hot in Here) and book 3 (Touch Me), I learned more and more about Rina. So when it came time to write her book, it flowed quickly and easily. I turned in the manuscript at the end of the summer in 2006. And now, in April 2008, it’s on the shelves. No, I’m not even going to count the months in between!

What I’ve learned is, each book is as unique in its growth process as a child because so many factors (at the author’s end and at the publisher’s) go into creating the finished product. Sometimes we authors have to scramble to keep up and sometimes we have to be patient. I’ve almost never heard an author say she’s content about her timing: she’s either in a mad panic trying to meet a deadline or frustrated because it’s taking so long for the book to get out. (I don’t even want to think about the editors’ frustrations: authors who don’t meet deadlines, authors who are high maintenance, authors who want to rewrite the book at the galleys stage…!)

I’m curious to hear other authors’ experiences. What’s the fastest time between idea and finished product – and was that fun or scary?



Posted by Susan Lyons :: 10:51 PM :: 8 comments

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