The Journey from Book Contract to Pre-Sale

The Journey from Book Contract to Pre-Sale

Back in January 2021, Not a Pipe Publishing offered to publish Unrelenting. This is my co-author’s (Jessi Honard) and my debut novel, so we’ve been learning a LOT along the way.

It’s been a fun and interesting process, going from then to now, 13 months later.

🎵 It’s been a long road, getting from there to here… 🎵

Apologies for the earworm. If you know, you know.

Here’s what we’ve been working on.

We took stock of our options.

At the time of the offer, we had a few conversations going on. This is largely thanks to the buzz and support we got from Book Pipeline after being named a finalist (top 3 in sci-fi/fantasy) in the 2020 Unpublished Manuscript competition.

An agent was speaking with us about the book and had offered a R&R (revise and resubmit) with specific feedback. A medium-size press had offered to publish it, but on a protracted timeline.

We also got on a Zoom call with Benjamin Gorman and Viveca Shearin, the co-owners of Not a Pipe to get to know them, their process, their contract, and their values.

We fell in love with the press from the first interaction, and we’ve stayed in love ever since. They were more than supportive of us having an LGBT+ main character, loved the book, and couldn’t wait for the sequel.

They had a great track record with their authors, which was corroborated by private conversations I had with several writers who had published them. It was nothing but glowing testimonials of feeling respected, heard, and seen.

I ordered a few books they’d published and was impressed with the quality of the stories, writing, and physical books, themselves. They really go the extra mile to make the books special and unique, in terms of the appearance.

And, later, this article came out, which made me believe in them all the more.

We were ready to sign with them, except for one thing…

I See We Have a Long Way to Go

We negotiated the contract.

Since we didn’t have an agent, we needed a third party expert to make sure that the contract was all in the proper order. We worked with an excellent literary attorney, who said the contract looked great. She had a few small recommendations, so we went back and forth a handful of times. All parties were smiling when we signed the contract in March of 2021, feeling great about working together.

That was it… our book was officially going to be published with a house we believed in, and who believed in us! It was such a great feeling, and still is.

We started working with a cover artist.

One of the wonderful things about small presses like Not a Pipe is being able to work directly with your cover artist. We were able to pick the artist from a list and give detailed feedback along the way.

She’s done a great job of bringing our vision to life, and we can’t wait to reveal the cover soon! (That’s right, it’s complete!!) We’ll brag all about the artist, too, once we do the reveal.

We dove into edits.

Viveca Shearin, our editor at Not a Pipe (who co-owns the press) worked closely with Jessi and me as we went through several more thorough revisions and edits of the manuscript.

It takes a village to catch all those consistency errors and typos, even at this late stage of a manuscript. We’re grateful our village was headed up by the talented Viveca!

We talked timetables and marketing.

Benjamin Gorman, the other co-owner of Not a Pipe, talked with Viveca and us about marketing strategies for the book, as well as the release timeline. We decided that the release would happen in the spring of 2022 (just in time for everyone’s summer reads!). As we got closer and closer, specific dates began to firm up.

While Not a Pipe does book marketing of their own, authors are never free of contributing their own marketing efforts. So we received strategic instructions on developing a rapport with local bookstores and seeking to shelve our book at them and potentially host readings/signings — although that last one is a bit difficult with an ongoing pandemic.

Plus, we’re using a lot of the marketing skills and relationships Jessi and I have gained over the years as co-owners of a content marketing firm. We are READY!

We started working on Unrelenting‘s sequel.

I’ve always heard that the best way to sell a book is to have two books. So Jessi and I have been working on the sequel to Unrelenting. We don’t have a schedule for publication yet, since we’re still drafting it, but rest assured it’s in the works!

We lived our lives.

2021 was a tough year on the personal front. About a month after Jessi and I signed our book contract, my husband and I separated, then divorced. That led to me moving into an apartment (which ended up being not great), then buying a house.

During that time, I didn’t have the creative or emotional energy to write much, so I generally guilted myself a lot and watched a bunch of Netflix. I also road tripped to see some family and friends, went solo camping with my dogs, and worked a bunch.

Not a Pipe remained super understanding and compassionate through the process… once again confirming my love for them.

In September, I had the great fortune to attend the Writing Excuses Retreat, where I finally got my creative mojo restored and felt excited about writing again.

Jessi and I made progress on plotting Unrelenting‘s sequel, and I’ve also been making good headway on Flightless, my fantasy heist.

What’s next?

We’re very close to the Unrelenting cover reveal and announcing the dates for the pre-order and book release.

We’re in the process of requesting blurbs and sending out advance reader copies (ARCs). If you have a platform or audience and are interested in receiving an ARC, please reach out to me via the Contact page.

Also, if you’re interested in helping Jessi and me promote the book to your family and friends, let me know. We’re about to create a book launch squad, and we’ll give you all the info you need.

Please also sign up for my mailing list, if you haven’t already. That’s where I’ll be sharing more information soon.

Thanks so much for your interest, and I’m thrilled to share this novel with you. The time is nearly here!

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