I am pleased to announce that I have accepted an offer from Lyrical Press on my book, currently titled Red and the Wolf. It’s a paranormal romance involving Little Red Riding Hood if she didn’t live happily ever after. The novel is about overcoming fear, the question of what makes one monstrous, and, of course, love blooming through trials of the heart, the body, and the supernatural.
When I first started researching publishing years ago, I found to my disappointment that there was little information about the experience once one accepted an offer for publication. As a writer newly committed to establishing a career in storytelling, I found this exceptionally frustrating. Then I determined that, when I signed my first book contract, I would do my part to alleviate that lack. So while Red and the Wolf goes through the process of becoming a published novel, I’ll share with you the experience.
First of all, Lyrical Press is a digital publisher, so the process will reflect that medium and should provide some interesting elements as a result.
I received the offer last Sunday, April 22rd. I’d waited quite a while for the news one way or another. Prior to submitting to Lyrical, I’d queried agents back in December and received rejections from all but one, who I still have not heard from, despite it being months past the deadline I should have received word. When I opened my email and saw an unopened message from Lyrical Press, I knew what it was. It came from a separate email than the one that would have sent a rejection. It was like a bolt hit me in the chest. But I could not just assume, so I opened it.
The email was fairly straight forward and congratulatory. When I first received an acceptance, I assumed I would grin until my face came off and feel like I floated with joy, but it wasn’t like that. I cried. All the effort and anxiety, all the bits of my heart and soul that I’d poured into my stories burst and came out in tears. I went into where my husband was getting ready for the day. He saw me crying and became concerned. He asked, “What’s wrong?” After a number of tries, I got my vocal cords working and simply said, “They offered.” No more words were needed, and once the tears passed, I was happy and even laughed some. But not long after that, the anxiety returned. What would publishing with Lyrical be like? Was I making the right decisions with my career and this book? What if the realities of publishing did not come anywhere near what I desired? What if everyone realized that I was a horrible writer and Lyrical realized they’d made a mistake and that my book was dreck after all? (These last are common among writers, even though they fly in the face of all logic.)
With the email came a contract. I spent the next day pouring over that contract. Without an agent and not enough money to hire an attorney who specialized in publishing contracts, I was on my own to understand it. Fortunately, my husband helped and it was pretty straightforward. However, I don’t like to make assumption if I can help it, so I drafted a list of questions to ensure I understood the terms of the contract correctly. I sent these off to Renee Rocco, the owner of Lyrical Press, and she returned her answers the next day, most of which confirmed my original understanding.
I waited until Saturday to sign the contract. Just because I got an offer didn’t mean I had to take it. Yes, it was a big deal since it was my first offer, but I didn’t want to rush into things. After a full week, my initial emotions had a chance to calm down and I was able to consider the contract and my prospects rationally.
On Monday, I received a whole slew of forms and information about how Lyrical handles their books. Some of it was fascinating, like their explanation of reflowable text and the challenges digital books face in order to adapt to all devices a book might be read on. Some of the forms were fun, like the one where I described ideas for a cover. The cover artist will naturally create an image that fits what sells no matter what I describe, but I really appreciated how Lyrical sought my opinions and preferences.
Now, I wait. I wait for the assignment of my editor and then for her assignments on my book. I suspect the next several months will include a lot of waiting interspersed with periods of frantic activity.
Do you have any questions about this process, digital publishing, or anything you’d particularly like to know about the experiences between accepting an offer and the book’s release? I may not know all the answers, but I will do my best.