A Debut Author’s Countdown to Publication, Part 1

With less than three weeks before the release date of my debut YA novel (A Work of Art, Merit Press), I thought I’d start blogging about what the journey from contract signing to release date has been like so far. This first installment will be a recap from the time I signed the contract up until three months before publication.

Zero to five months after signing the contract: I signed the contract in February 2014 with a release date of “Spring 2015.” I spent most of this time trying to guess what “spring” meant (is June considered spring?) and deflecting questions about what my journey has been like so far (because I didn’t have anything to tell). Not until I found out my exact release date (March 18) did I feel like a real author.

I tried to be productive during this time of waiting. I joined two marketing/support groups for authors: Uncommon YA (for writers of gritty YA) and Fearless Fifteeners (for 2015 debut authors of MG and YA).

Oh, and I worked on my next book.

Seven months before pub date: I got the editorial letter I’d been dreading and looking forward to at the same time. Dreading because I’d heard stories about writers getting back thirty single-spaced pages of editorial changes. Anticipating because I wanted to take my book to the next level. I pictured myself spending weeks furiously revising to meet my editor’s deadline with the end result being something undeniably great. As it turned out, I finished my editorial changes in less than two hours.

Which gave me lots of time to work on my next book.

Five months before pub date: I got cover art! Two choices. I picked my favorite (my contract specifies that I get a say) and asked the artist to do some tweaks. Here’s my lovely cover:

A Work of Art cover, smallfile

I also got ARCs!—those wonderful advanced reader copies that get sent out to reviewers. My publisher sent me 20, most of which I still have. It was neat seeing my book in print, but the ARC is a paperback and it’s unproofed (there’s a typo on the first page, so I was kind of bummed), but it’s tangible proof that my book is a book.

Now that I had ARCs, I could start asking other authors to read the book and possibly provide a cover blurb. I was lucky enough to get blurbs from four YA authors I admire: Yvonne Ventresca, Crissa-Jean Chappell, Lyn Miller-Lachmann, and Laurie Gray.

This was a busy month. With cover art and blurbs, I could get bookmarks made, which I did. I also put up a Website (designed by my husband), wrote blog posts, worked with my publicist to make a press kit, and spent way too much time worrying if I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing.

Oh, and I did find time to work on my next book.

Four months before pub date: My book is starting to go out to reviewers, so I spend much of this month nervously waiting. I had a book trailer done. I blogged. I tweeted, and I worked on my next book.

Three months before pub date: I got my first review! A starred review from Kirkus Reviews! Happy dance commences. I worked on interview questions for several websites that will be featuring me in the coming months. I added to my website and started having sketchy thoughts about a book launch party.

And, yeah, I worked on my next book.

Read more on my countdown to publication in Part 2.

Melody Maysonet

Melody has been an English teacher, editor, and ghostwriter. Now she devotes most of her time to writing fiction for young adults. She lives in Coconut Creek, Florida, with her husband and son. Her debut novel, A Work of Art (Merit Press) is out in stores now.


  1. Pingback: Melody Maysonet – A Debut Author’s Countdown to Publication, Part 2

  2. Pingback: Melody Maysonet – A Writer’s Lucky Day (Part 4 of a Countdown to Publication)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.