The story behind the story, part five: After the editor's call

The Call! Final edits. And a crisis

My book on training a young Icelandic horse has found a publisher!

February 2023: A call from an editor

11 AM on a Friday morning, my day off.

The phone rings, a number I’ve never seen before. Suspecting a robo call, I almost don’t pick up, but change my mind in the last second.


And I get a shock: It’s the editor from the publisher I sent the book to, barely two weeks ago! And she likes it!

I am speechless.


That is so noticeable that the editor laughs and says something about me not expecting a call from her. Well, she can say that again! Not that I object in the slightest. Good thing I didn’t click the call away!


We talk business for almost an hour, and I spend the rest of the day walking on clouds.


The book is going to be published. Woooo hoooo!

March 2023: Contract negotiations

The editor being a busy woman, we’ve had some delays before she could send the publishing contract. That was a rather nerve-wrecking time for me: What if the editor has changed her mind?


But she hasn’t, and the contract arrives as promised.

Now I need to negotiate that contract. Luckily, most of the terms in the contract ring a bell, from back when I sold short story to Americal science fiction and fantasy magazines. But still.


Life of copyright?

Exclusive publishing rights?


Out-of-print notifications?


Oh dear, I’m a writer, not an intellectual property lawyer. What if I do this wrong?

I settle down to study that contract. I want to understand it down to the last detail.

Copyright, publishing rights, sublicences... A publishing contract uses a language all of its own

Can an ordinary leisure rider really write a good book on training a young horse?

April 2023: Second thoughts

The contract negotiations went well, and though the contract isn’t signed yet, I’m starting to really believe that the book will actually be published.


At which point the brain weasels set in. I’m a mediocre rider at best: Who am I to write a book about training young horses?


Yes, my trainer provided the know-how, and read the book several times. She caught me in quite a few mistakes, but what if there are still some big errors in there? Everyone will know I’m a fraud!

Oh well, what will be, will be.

Now to sit down and get the last edits in so the book will be ready to be turned in on time.

June 2023: A major change in plans

I’ve done a thorough editing pass, checked ever single reference, and made sure all the photos are where they’re supposed to be. All that’s missing is one final pass, and the book is ready to go to the publisher.

And then a problem comes up that would require a major rewrite to fix. No way I can do this in the two weeks remaining before the book is due. I wrack my brain, trying to come up with a solution, but in vain. There’s nothing for it. I have to call the editor and confess that I cannot fulfill the contract I signed. I dread that phone call, but sooner begun, the sooner done. I call the editor and tell her of the problem, offer to rescind the contract.

At which point the conversation takes an unexpected turn.
“You cannot mean to give up now,” the editor says, and proceeds to convince me to tackle that rewrite. The book will turn out somewhat different than the one I promised her, but she’s fine with that. She’s also fine with rescheduling the planned publishing date so I have time to make the changes that need to be done.

The editor believes in my book, even when I don't

Authors seem prone to panic, but my editor keeps cool

I marvel at how well she’s taking all this, and she tells me that this is a pretty standard situation for her. Authors run into problems and panic on her all the time, it seems.

I’m a little embarrassed to be caught acting like a panic-stricken idiot, and extremely grateful for my editor’s calm good sense.

Now to get that rewrite done!

December 2023: Finally done

The rewrite has been done, the final edit is through, the references have been checked and re-checked, and the book is as ready as I can make it.

Off it goes to the editor!


Now to keeping my fingers crossed while I wait to hear how she likes it.

If you'd like to read more about the process of writing and publishing a book, stay tuned!


The next installment will tell you about the rather exciting process of getting the book ready for printing: The cover page, the internal layout, editing and more editing, the back cover... Lots of work, and all of it fun!

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