Stories that Matter

10 Stages of Book Birth – An Exposé

Today we are one week away from the release of my new book, Where Hope Begins. And there are a million things I should be doing right now. So I’m blogging. As you do. Also, since I connected my blog to my new website, I’m really not sure anyone is seeing it. So if you are reading this, could you do me a huge favor and leave a comment? Just so I know it’s not hanging out in cyberspace somewhere all on it’s lonesome?

Okay. So you want to know all the ins and outs of how a book gets born. Right? Excellent. I can’t wait to tell you.

First of all, I want to say that while an author has plenty of time, plenty, ((usually about nine months or so from the time we turn in a manuscript (that at this point author believes is amazing) to pub date in the traditional publishing world)), to prepare for release day, we’re never quite prepared. Kind of like having a baby. Without the physical pain. Well, not much. As much. So I thought it might be fun to explore just what went on behind the scenes over the last several months to now.

Stage One – Wonderful editor loves amazing manuscript and publishing house makes an offer. Contract arrives shortly thereafter. By the way, shortly can mean weeks. And at some point during that waiting period, author may become 100% convinced that publisher has changed their mind. But lo, the blessed day arrives and you slap some makeup on, find your best pen and pose for photographs. Euphoric signing and drinking of champagne ensues. This is the fun part. 🙂

(Imagine a picture of me signing a contact for this last book. Because I couldn’t find it).

Stage Two – Editorial Letter arrives. Editor has read the amazing manuscript and deems it ‘amazing but’ . . . there is work to be done. Author collapses into a pitiful heap on the floor. Wailing and gnashing of teeth ensues. Okay, this is totally made up. I actually love my editorial letters. I’ve never gotten one yet that has made me cry. Of course, there’s a first time for everything.

Stage Three – ALL. THE. WORK. Author may not sleep or eat much during this point in the process. Family may be forced to fend for themselves and remind author to feed the dog. Plants may die. In all fairness, I do have to say that I have the most amazing husband ever, and when I’m in this freak out mode, he cooks when he can or takes me out to dinner, and rewards my hard days of work with a delicious margarita. Unless I have to do more work that evening. Um. Yeah. Who am I kidding? I will never turn down a margarita, thank you.

Stage Four – It is finished. Or so author believes. You turn that baby back in and call it a day. And sleep. This is actually the point where you believe you can breathe a sigh of relief. But oh, no. Lies.

Stage Five – More editing. Usually nothing major to change at this stage, but lots of reading. And you start to hate this book and wonder why you ever wrote it. This is especially true for Where Hope Begins. Because. All. The. Tears.  But your lovely editors hold your hand, cry with you because, well, you’ll see . . . and continue to reinforce that the manuscript is still amazing and it. will. all. be. okay. Agent tells you to put your big girl panties on and get over it. Husband buys more Tequila.

Stage Six – While final reading and messing around with amazing manuscript is still going on, we try to find a suitable title for amazing manuscript. This may have come earlier, I can’t remember. Can I confess that this is my least favorite thing in the world? But eventually author and publishing team arrive at the most perfect title in the world and the sun shines across the land, and the birds begin to sing again.

Stage Seven – Line edits. More reading. But amazing manuscript looks amazing again and author begins to sleep better. Also at some point over this time, I can’t remember exactly when because it is all a blur, a COVER will arrive. Happy dancing ensues. Because. This. Is. Perfection.

Where Hope Begins

Stage Eight – Galleys arrive. More reading. And second guessing. But it’s too late to change your mind about the fate of certain beloved character so  you just ask for another margarita. Send galleys back with author approval. And NOW – IT IS FINISHED. Except for all the nightmares that begin as you wonder what you and the ten or more other people who’ve read amazing manuscript by this point have missed.

Stage Nine – You start to breathe again. Then agent wants to know how the next book is coming. More tequila is ordered, along with another pair of big girl panties, because, life. At this stage, you realize the world will go on with or without you and your amazing manuscript that is now a book ready to get shipped out to all the readers and reviewers and you might just want to crawl into a hole and not come out until ten years from now, but you can’t. And agent tells you so in her ever so gentle whack over the head that is well-deserved. And God gets in on the whacking too. Author is duly chastised humbled and waits it out with only slightly panicky eyes.

Stage Ten – Life actually does goes on. And then you wake up one day and realize you are a mere seven SEVEN DAYS days from the release of amazing manuscript now known as an actual book. And you hope all the great reviews it’s getting so far aren’t written by nut-cases. But even if they are, who cares, because they’re saying nice things. So you decide to show your face in public again, interact online and generally become a PITA while you promote this sucker like a crazy person. Fun things happen, like this Chat Party on release day that is apparently going to be LIVE. You know you want to come see that. Ahem.

Just click on the graphic and it’ll take you to the event page. I’ll chat live and then if anyone hasn’t been scared away we can hang out some on the event page and I’ll try to answer questions etc.. And I’ll bribe you with prizes – PRIZES PEOPLE. Don’t let me do this alone, please. It’ll be FUN! And even if it’s not, the prizes.

And there you have it, the 10 Stages of Book Birth. And once release day is over and the champagne is finished, the confetti picked up and a long nap taken? You start all over again. (Once you find the energy).

The End.





  1. Brenda Murphree on May 15, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Haha! I laughed a few times but honestly you have nothing to worry about! This book was that good! I hope I can be watching on the day you are chatting live!

  2. Winnie Thomas on May 16, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    I’m so sorry you have all this Author Angst, Cathy. Where Hope Begins is phenomenal, so you can quit worrying! 😀 I still have to find the words to write my review.

    I’m looking forward to your FB chat party! It sounds fun!

  3. Susan Dyer on May 21, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    Where Hope Begins is such a beautiful book! I loved every minute of reading it and I hope everyone reads it!????

    • Cathy West on August 16, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Thank you so much Susan!

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