Karen Brichoux

Current and Upcoming Books

Available Now
"Draws the reader into the story and never lets go." --RT Bookclub
"Brichoux reminds the reader how powerfully the landscape of 'home' can define a person." -- High Country News
Previously Released
"An exceptional novel." --Melissa Senate, author of The Solomon Sisters Wise Up
"A coup. Warm, smart, and original." --Kirkus Reviews


After the Book is Finished

August 2, 2004

August 2004 Newsletter from the desk of Karen Brichoux


*Article: ďAfter the Book is FinishedĒ
*What Iím Reading

*After much sorrow and agony, editor, publisher, agent, and author (me!) have finally agreed on a title for my next book! The Girl She Left Behind (previously Resting Place) is set to be released in July 2005.

*Iíve just added a first chapter excerpt for The Girl She Left Behind to my website.

Article: ďAfter the Book is FinishedĒ

[I am randomly choosing topics suggested by newsletter subscribers during a recent contest. If you have a topic on writing or the writing life which youíd like to see covered, feel free to email the topic to me at email@karenbrichoux.com.]

From Susan: An outline of what you go through when you submit a story to an editor and the process you go [through] for the entire book until it is published.

I had several topic suggestions like Susanís. In answer to Susanís question, Iíll talk about the process from the point of view of a published author. Next month, Iíll focus on Kimís question, which asks about the process prior to the first sale.

Each publishing house has its quirks, so this outline is fairly general and representative of my personal experience only. If you do a quick Google search on the topic, you can find out more.

The book starts as an idea in the authorís head. If the author is under contract for the book--that is, it will be the second book in a 2-book contract--she will usually run the idea past her editor. The next step is to do whatever research is necessary in order to write the book. Then the author creates a proposal. The proposal is part of the contract (it has a deadline) and is generally defined as the first fifty pages and an outline of varying complexity (depending upon the writing style of the author and the length of time the author and editor have been working together). Once the editor has approved the proposal, the author goes on to write the book.

Once the book is completed, the author sends the manuscript to her editor (Iím leaving the agent out of the process, but agents generally do the submitting of proposals and manuscripts after first reading them and offering suggestions for revision). The editor reads the manuscript, and if she likes it, she will pass it on to several other editors for their approval. If approved, the manuscript is read again by the authorís editor before she writes a revision letter. The author then revises the manuscript and sends it back to the editor. At this point, the editor may have a few more minor issues or she may pass it on to the copy editor. The copy editor notes grammar problems and double checks place names, organization names, product names, and makes sure all the characters have the same names throughout the book. The copy-edited manuscript goes back to the editor, who checks it over and then sends it to the author. The author goes over the suggested changes and either lets them stand or refuses them by marking ďstetĒ on the copy editorís changes.

The next step is the galley proof. This is the unbound manuscript typeset as it will appear in the bound book. The author goes over the galley with a fine-tooth comb to make sure there are as few errors as possible.

While all of this is going on, various other details are happening, too. The back cover copy is being written and the cover is being created. The author has varying degrees of input and control over these aspects depending upon her contract, her editor, and on the publishing companyís practices. The manuscript is also being sent out to other authors in the hope that they will be willing to write an endorsement for the book.

About six months prior to publication, the publisher creates bound galleys or Advance Reading Copies of the book. These are sent to reviewers, newspapers, trade journals, and anyone who might create ďbuzzĒ about the book prior to its release. The sales force for the publisher is actively selling the books to booksellers via the catalogue and word of mouth.

A month prior to the publication date, the books are bound and ready to ship to stores. Meanwhile, the author has already turned in the next manuscript and is in the process of revising it while also doing promotional activities for the book that has just been released. Which is why authors look so confused when asked about the details of the book they are promoting!

Next month, Iíll look at this process from the point of view of an unpublished author trying to make her first sale.

Happy reading!

What Iím Reading:

Close Range by Annie Proulx
The Awakening and Selected Stories by Kate Chopin
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
My Misspent Youth by Meghan Daum
An Unspoken Hunger by Terry Tempest Williams
Lieutenant Hornblower by C.S. Forester