Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Post-call Tip #1

I know many of you have already been through the publishing process and know the ropes, and others are where I was just a few weeks ago, waiting on submission responses and dreaming of the call, but I thought it would be helpful either way, to share specific tips as I experience the post-call journey to that first book release. As for non-writing readers out there, you may enjoy the glimpses of what goes on behind the scenes with authors.

My first tip revolves around Art Fact Sheets (AFS), the infamous, detailed questionnaire completed by authors and used by publishers to plan everything from cover art to book blurbs. I had to fill mine out shortly after The Call. I won't get into every aspect of the AFS, but there is one tip that, had I known, would have saved me tons of time. Pictures.

Now, I had read plenty of blog posts about writers using picture collages in their office as inspiration for their books. Some even used Pinterest or other online photo share sites to collect pictures of models or actors that 'looked' like their hero or heroine, photos reminiscent of their setting etc... What I picked up from what I read (and of course I may have missed something) was that the purpose of these collections was inspiration. Well, I'm very visual, and I do search the internet during my research phase for pictures that jog my muse, but I've never saved them. I kept them in my head. My mind's eye is so vivid, I saw no need for cork boards or the internet equivalent. Unfortunately, when it came to completing my first AFS in less than 24 hours and on 3 hrs of sleep, I couldn't download my brain to my computer.

I ended up spending several hours scouring the internet for those images in my head, or similar ones, so that I could copy the links to my AFS. I desperately wanted to be sure the art department could 'see' what was in my head when they came to designing my book cover. The entire time I scanned the internet, I wished that I had kept a file, dedicated to the book, that had photos or photo links organized by hero, heroine, setting etc...so that I could have simply uploaded it to the AFS form.

So my tip of the day...those picture collections are not just for inspiration. You're going to need them, and not simply tacked on a cork board in your office. Keep a file, on your computer or on a share type site, label it for a specific book, and keep it updated as you write. I'll be doing that from now on. It'll save you a lot of time and stress when AFS time comes around.


  1. I use Scrivener so my sources of inspiration are there. :D

  2. Hi Stina! You know, I had downloaded the Scrivener trial before starting this book. I went through the tutorial and I love what it's all about, but for some reason, I had this mental block when I tried writing...and ended up in a simple word doc. I should give it a go again. Maybe I was too distracted by it's coolness ;)...or maybe it comes down to my Luddite, egg-walking ways. It sure would make life easier!

  3. I've tried Scrivener, but it seemed too clunky to me. When characters come to me, I usually see them first, so I know what they look like - in my head. I have gone looking for them on the internet, though, and I usually find someone fairly close. But it takes a while.

    Great tips.

  4. Hi, Rula,
    Great tip. I did a project bible for Distraction only because the book follows three characters. It was very helpful. Apart from knowing what I looked like, I had pictures of the husbands/boyfriends, where the women lived the cars they owned, stuff like that. It meant I didn't have to scratch my head or get in a panic or have to scroll through the ms to find details while I was writing.

  5. Carol - That's how I am. I've got them in my head...which is why it did indeed take awhile to find similar images to pass on :/

    J.L. - Very smart, especially with a complex book. I do keep track of names, eye color, age etc...but I do it on paper or on a dry erase board. I like old fashioned writing tools LOL. What can I say? But now with AFS sheets to deal with, I'm getting down on the computer.