One of my favorite sessions at the SCBWI-Iowa conference last weekend was Wendy Delsol‘s “Rookie Season: What to Expect Throughout the Editorial Process and the First Year” (the conference was baseball-themed, helloooo Cracker Jack!). Wendy’s debut novel STORK was published last October by Candlewick Press and the sequel, FROST, is out this coming October. And if that wasn’t enough, her adult novel THE MCCLOUD HOME FOR WAYWARD GIRLS will be available from Berkley Books on August 2. With all that writing and editing and editing and writing, who better to share insights into the publishing process as a debut author?!

Wendy took us through the basic process of getting an agent, revision, submission to editors, revision, copy edits, did I mention revision, and finally publication and promotion. Some new-to-me pieces of advice:

  • Know the hierarchy of publishers you’re targeting (managing editor, associate editor, etc.) and how many bosses to whom your editor is reporting.
  • Make your own style sheet for reference. Each publishing house has their own for standard grammar, but it will help during your personal revisions if you keep track of character names and spellings, comma use, spelling of phrases and contractions, etc.
  • When you get your first pass pages or galley sheets, proofread them with your copy-edited draft close by to make sure those changes got made. Also, once the book reaches this point, most publishers won’t be happy about any stylistic language changes. Eventually you have to let the text go and just be done!
  • Blurbs for your book’s cover really are genuine. Wendy was only acquainted with one of the people who blurbed STORK; it wasn’t based on publisher affiliations or uber-personal connections, they just truly enjoyed the book.
  • When planning a book launch or author event, be realistic. Do things on a scale where you know you can fill the seats. Why set yourself up for failure? This is the time to bring in family and friends from all parts of your life. (read more about Wendy’s launch event here)
  • When people ask what they can do to help publicize your book, tell them to leave reviews on Amazon.

To learn more about Wendy and keep up to date on all her exciting news, visit her website, Twitter feed, or read her Writing Cave interview.

Anyone else have debut tips to add? Anything in your experience or on this list that surprised you?

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