When I tell people I’ve just finished writing the first draft of a novel, they assume the book I’m referring to is the one scheduled for publication this December. But in fact, I finished the first draft of that novel, THE RIVER WIDOW, about this time last year. What many people, even avid readers, don’t know is that the process of producing a book is a long one, usually taking well over a year.
After I finished THE RIVER WIDOW last year and sent it to my agent, it went through her, my editor at Lake Union, a developmental editor, a copyeditor, and a proofreader. Promotional text was written and a cover designed. Every aspect of the interior of the book was decided, too. All of this takes time and was accomplished beginning last fall, spread over the winter, and finally came to completion at the end of spring. I hope to receive author copies of the hardcover any day now.
So yes, when people ask me how my next book is going, I’m confused too. Do they mean the one that will be published in a matter of months, or the one I’m working on now, which is under contract for 2019? Unless someone really wants the details, usually it’s best to just nod and say, “It’s going well.” Sometimes even I have trouble keeping up, because as I finish the draft for a 2019 book, I’m working in my head on the novel for 2020.