3 Steps to Publish: ASSESS; EDIT; PITCH.
The road to getting published is not only daunting, it's often also complex, nebulous, bewildering, and intimidating.
If this little truth bomb hasn't turned you off like a lightbulb, good stuff. You're gonna need that resolve. And while you're ready to travel this sometimes lonely highway, it ain't so bad as all that.
Cos we got your back.
Helping authors navigate their unique and multilayered paths from manuscript draft to a pitch-able book that gets picked up by a publisher or literary agent *is what we do.*
And we fudging love doing it.
But before you take a look at that savings account, we're laying out the structure of our process for you nice and clear and simple, so you know exactly what we do, how we do it, and how it can work for you.
As you will know if you've signed up for our magnificent and eminently useful Publishing Guidebook, or indeed taken a cursory look around our website, we break our process into three major stages: ASSESS; EDIT; PITCH.
This three-tier process ensures that your manuscript is given the time, space, and attention required to make it worth a literary agent's or acquisition editor's first glance. They're busy people, you know.
Note that the amount of work involved in stage 2, EDIT, can vary from project to project since it depends on the quality of the manuscript we start with as well as the final goals; however the general outline of our approach looks like this:
First connection: Quick chat to discuss project, goals, and compatibility. So long as we're on the same page we go to the . . .
Concept Meeting: Who are you as an author? What is your message? What is your mission? How can we make sure this book expresses all your intentions and attains those goals? Once we've clarified your mission we move on to the . . .
Manuscript Assessment: This report is your first step to understanding exactly what lies ahead and the various ways we can proceed in order to achieve those lofty publishing goals. The Assessment gives you an overview of your manuscript's main strengths and challenges—along with resolutions—to concerns such as: resolving plot holes, developing characters, naturalizing dialogue, heightening drama (for fiction), strengthening your argument, improving organization, influencing pace (nonfiction)—basically all the juicy stuff that goes into creating a riveting read. It identifies the book’s USPs (unique selling points) and ways to develop and amplify them—after all, we want to sell this thing—and calls out poor writing habits that recur throughout your writing and explains how to remedy them, because we are all about helping writers hone their craft. Lastly, it will walk you through the best next steps toward editing and publication.
Typically editing occurs in at least two stages, though, as mentioned, your manuscript’s specific needs will be laid out to you in the Manuscript Assessment. The two fundamental stages we strongly encourage our authors to undertake are . . .
Developmental edit: This edit is all about the big picture. There's no room for correcting grammatical errors because we're all about the story—why polish the ornaments when you haven't yet sanded the floor? We'll work on identifying and resolving plot holes, developing characters, naturalizing dialogue, and heightening drama in fiction; strengthening arguments, improving organization, and influencing the pace in nonfiction, to name a few—all the juicy stuff that goes into creating a riveting read! We'll also provide insights and advice on your target market and goals re: literary acclaim. After you have made the relevant revisions this edit is followed by . . .
Copyedit: This edit tends to the manuscript's mechanical requirements—that is, spelling, grammar, punctuation, consistency, style, and usage, to ensure that the manuscript is clean, clear, and consistent. [See our Publishing Roadmap for variations/additions to this process depending on your publishing goals.]
We know that authors need as much support with getting their books into the right hands as they do with crafting the thing in the first place, and we’re all about helping our clients attain those goals.
If an author wants to indie publish thereby retaining greater independence, creative license, and marketing power, then they might choose to employ marketing support from their indie publisher at this point.
When the goal is to traditionally publish, however, the process extends to . . .
Book blurbs: Market-savvy copy for your elevator pitch, author website, back cover, and more . . .
Author bios: Honing in on your author persona in preparation for pitching, press releases, websites, covers, and more. And . . .
Query letters: Each tailored to the literary agent(s) and publisher(s) of your choice, your query letter is to your book what a cover letter is to one's job application—everything. We take everything we know about you, your book, and your author persona and turn it into a page-turner of a pitch.