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I got assigned my first deliverable this week. I have 14 days to hand everything over, but homey don’t play that. I’m not screwing around here, I finished in 2 days. They wanted:
- A filled out copy of their Author Checklist.
- The most recent version of my manuscript in .docx format.
- A professional headshot.
The Author Checklist. No problem. At first. The doc mentions attached documents but they’re actually links. Download the links. Answer the questions, like ‘how do you want your name spelled’ and ‘what are good phone numbers’ and ‘include links to your author website.’ No issues… except… there are references to an ‘About The Author’ section in my manuscript. My manuscript doesn’t have one of those. I check the Internet (thanks Al Gore!) and don’t find anything. I decide that I’ll roll with the punches and just create an About The Author section and include everything that the Checklist seems to think should already be there. I hope I don’t miss anything, I hate re-doing work because of my own oversight. So far I’m knocking the Author Checklist out of the park.
Then I come across the item that asks for 6 alternative titles. (cue dramatic overture) Everybody should know their limits, and I’m terrible at titles. The worst. The fact that this novel has even one title is a miracle. They want SIX MORE?!! Okay… fine. I’d been zooming along with this until ‘extra title time’ came along. An evening turned into two days. I worked at it sincerely, no half-assing anything, and I got six alternative titles. But I’m sure they suck. Suck-diddly-uck. Let’s see what the publisher thinks, but I need to assure them I’m not sandbagging, I really do suck at titles.
The most recent version of my manuscript. Got it, no problems, except for that whole ‘About The Author’ page business. The publisher takes care to point out that the author will not be able to make any changes to the manuscript until the editors are done with their edits. I guess they’ve had issues with people continuing to edit their work AFTER they’ve turned over a ‘final’ copy. I got no issues with that. Done is done, at some point you have to declare it finished and walk away.
A professional headshot. I think this may be the part that trips up most writers, and might be the reason the publisher gives two weeks to get this exercise done. They don’t want a snapshot, or a crappy crop out of a larger picture, they want a professional headshot suitable for inclusion on the back cover of a book. I can see where this might generate a bit of a panic in normally-introverted writers, who might not have sunlight kiss their skin for days at a time.
I used to be a working actor. I got headshots. I got headshots in casual wear, I got headshots in office attire, I got headshots in Hawaiian shirts, I got headshots in ‘tradesman’ attire. If you want a headshot, I got every casting possibility covered. Except sherrif, I never got a headshot in any costume.
I picked one in a nice tweed jacket because tweed just screams ‘serious author.’ Also, I’m not smiling like a serial killer. Which is nice.
First deliverable – AWAY!
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