Wednesday, July 3, 2019

The Process of a Book by Karen Whiddon #RomanceGems

Over the years, friends and relatives have often expressed surprise when they learned I was working on edits or revisions.  This post, I thought I'd discuss the path one of my books takes from inside my brain to publication.  Bear in mind, I'm traditionally published for new work with Harlequin, though once I get the rights back to some of my older books, I sell them as e-books too.  This post will touch mostly on my Harlequin books.

First, I think of a story.  For me, I'm contracted for books I haven't even thought of yet, so I spend a couple weeks working on a synopsis that describes my hero, heroine, secondary characters, and story.  (See my other post on writing a synopsis.)

Once the synopsis is done, I email it to my editor with a cc to my agent.

My editor will send back an email (usually after a week or two) approving the synopsis.  At this point, she might suggest a few tweaks.  By now, I've started writing the book as I have pretty tight deadlines.

Over the course of three months, writing 5 days a weeks (sometimes 6 if it's not going well,) I will write the book.  For Harlequin Romantic Suspense, this comes out to 70,000 words or for me, around 315 pages.  

I turn in the book.  They ask for a dedication and a dear reader letter, which I write and provide.

And work on another synopsis, at which point the process starts all over again.

Eventually I will get back edits from my editor.  At Harlequin, frequently two or three people will have already worked on the book.  They are very thorough.  I'm given a time frame (generally two weeks) to work on this.  I do and email it back.

Finally, I get what are called AA's (Author Alterations.)  This is the final stage of the book, where it appears exactly as it will in print.  At this point, I look it over and when I read it through, I send it back with any corrections I might find.

At some point, the publisher sends me the cover art.  Usually, it's beautiful and I'm thrilled.  Every once in a while, it might not be exactly what I pictured, but I can't do anything about that, so I just cross my fingers and hope for the best as far as sales.  I truly believe great cover art can help sell a book.  

And then I wait for the publication date.

My previously published works where rights revert back to me are different.  Once I have the rights back, I convert the file.  I have to remove all the metadata from Harlequin.  I purchase my own cover (in my case, since I'm on a budget, it's a pre-made cover.)  And I put it up for sale at Amazon.

Right now, I have just put up one of my favorite books that I've ever written.  It's called Profile for Seduction.  It can be read for free in Kindle Unlimited, or purchased here: Amazon

Another Great July Celebration
Last, but definitely not least is our fabulous July Giveaway.

Our RafflecopterBEACHES and BOOK BOYFRIENDS, starts July 5 at midnight and runs through July 25.  Contest link

Check out the giveaway'svideo in Movie Theater or onYouTube. (Please click LIKE and share it on your social media pages.)

Visit the Monthly Giveaway page to see all the prizes. Enter often and tell your friends. There are some great prizes up for grabs. Visit me tomorrow on Romance Gems for a Pop-Up Giveaway.


  1. It's funny how many differences there are even in-house, but interesting, too. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. That dreaded synopsis! I can't imagine trying to write that BEFORE I finish the book. My books change so much as I write them.

  3. I always hated synopsis! Like Kari, I can't imagine writing one first or even last now that I am self-published.

  4. It's interesting to read about another author's process. I almost always like the covers I'm sent. I've been lucky in that regard.

  5. So 4 books a year? That would be very tight for me. Congrats on maintaining the pace!

  6. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing and you have a mind made for writing.

  7. You are very lucky to have an editorial team you work well with. And what a treat to breathe new life into previously published books and reach a whole different reading audience. The best of both worlds!

  8. Excellent post, Karen, explaining "from a thought to the printed page." There's so much that goes into a book. Most people really don't know how much time, energy, and emotion we spend in writing.

  9. I don't know if I could even explain the process so clearly, Karen! Interesting.

  10. Very good share, nice experience through such a process. Interesting.


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