Where, oh where does it go?
GREAT! Someone has shown interest in what you wrote, and you’ve finally gotten something other then a rejection letter. (Note – I say “something other then a rejection letter” NOT an acceptance letter. There is still a lot of work left to be done before you get an “acceptance” letter.)
First you and your editor will probably send a flurry of emails back and forth; you’ll re-write and re-write your article or book piece by piece. Finally, you’ll get the actual acceptance letter – your editor will say ‘this is it’ and you will be done.
But what happens next? You sit back and you wait … and you wait … and it may seem like it’s taking forever, but you’re piece of writing is going through a long process.
After a piece is excepted, it will go through several levels of editing. You will likely be involved in the general content editing – anything from moving around paragraphs to cutting out chapters (or adding them). Then your manuscript will go to copy-editing where someone will look at every comma or period. Next, it goes to a proof reader, who makes sure that all the copy edits have been input correctly and checks it over one last time.
While these things are going on the design department is busy. They are coming up with a ‘look’ for your piece. For books, this means a cover; for magazine articles this means a page layout. If the piece is a book, the marketing department is also considering the best way to get your project ‘out there;’ they are working on a marketing strategy. The sales team is reading a copy and getting briefed so they can start selling the book to stores.
Once design is done and everything is edited, you will likely receive a final ‘proof’ this is your chance to check it over. Big changes at this point will mean big delays, so try and keep alterations to a minimum. In a magazine environment, the page will pass through a many many hands and everyone will initial. The idea in publishing is that the more eyes that look at something, the smaller the chance of a mistake going into print.
Finally, after what may seem like forever, you piece appears in print. You, my friend, can now say you are a published author. (Please realize this is a general overview; I didn’t get into the nitty-gritty. If you would like more details on what happens to your manuscript check out Book Production Procedures by Fred Dahl.)