We receive a lot of requests regarding Anne’s career or advice for future writers.
Here are some tips and tricks to know.
Before writing or publishing a work, anyone should know the rights and responsibilities of an author. Click HERE to consult the texts concerning Quebec’s Copyright Act.
The better informed you are, the better protected your work will be!
First you have to have an idea. The author lets it sprout in his head as long as it’s necessary. This idea will haunt him for a few weeks or months, then start to make roots. It is important throughout this growth process to take notes. Yes, even authors sometimes lack memory. It is even better to use a good filing system or you waste a lot of time putting your notes in order when it comes time to write.
Once the idea has made good roots, it must be divided into three essential parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion. I think we need to spend more time on the first and last part. Before you start writing the manuscript, you need to know how it will end. The rest of the plot will be used to get to that finish point.
It is also useful to note in the form of keywords, inside the three parts, what one intends to write there. Once the "skeleton" is assembled, all that remains is to dress it. It is at this moment that the author isolates himself the most in order to write the first draft of the story. Once the story is over, he has to take a step back, put it in the drawer for a week or two (it’s the perfect time for him to take a vacation), then he starts the long process of proofreading. In my case, I sometimes correct a text ten times before I really like it.
Then I suggest a step that asks the author to show humility. Before handing this manuscript over to the editor, I think it is important to have it read by a trusted person who has a very strong critical sense. Personally, I ask my sister to reread my novels and to point out my mistakes in chronology, geography, logic or French. When the manuscript comes back to me, I analyze its annotations and correct the narrative accordingly. So I can present my editor with a manuscript that is consistent and enjoyable to read.
In the meantime, you can protect your manuscript by sending it to you by registered mail, either in paper form or in electronic form, that is, a manuscript or a CD. Once you receive your own envelope, don’t open it! Store it in a safe place. It will only serve you if someone tries to steal your text. At that point, you will be able to show the court that on the date printed on the envelope by the post office, you had already written this story. Publishers are generally honest and they don’t see the texts they receive, but you still have to protect yourself.
Not at all. The writer who wants to be published must be patient. Unless he already knows some people in the publishing industry, he will have to send his manuscript to several publishing houses before finding a buyer. It is also easier to get a subject published that is of interest to a large audience, regardless of the literary genre.
If the author has a new product, which is unheard of, and he is adamant about it, he will have to knock on every door and be very tenacious, because publishers do not like to think outside the box. However, if he is in a well-defined vein (poetry, love novel, fantasy novel), he will save time by transmitting his manuscript only to publishing houses that specialize in the same style. If he can, he should take his manuscript to the editor himself, which will give him the opportunity to distinguish himself from all those who send theirs by mail and who no longer take care of them afterwards. It is also a good idea to call the publisher after a month to find out where the manuscript evaluation process stands.
In the case of the Emerald Knights, I started by looking for publishing houses specialized in heroic fantasy and, believe me, even if this style is very fashionable, they are rare. I made two calls and my interlocutors panicked when they learned that it was a 12 volume saga. Put yourself in their shoes: I wasn’t even known. So I decided to publish myself.
I talked to a printer, a proofreader, a graphic designer, an infographic, a distributor, government officials who give ISBN numbers and legal deposit numbers. In the middle of this, three publishers called me at home, even though I had never sent them my manuscript. They had heard about it from friends of my friends. A former lawyer from the firm where I worked talked about me to Varia, the director of a small magazine broadcaster in Montreal, for whom I was freelancing, talked about me to Quebecor and, finally, a work friend talked about me to De Mortagne. I had to decide between three publishing houses! Not everyone has that chance, that’s true, but when we tell people that we write novels and we try to break through, our words always end up in the right ears. It is for this reason that we must always be courteous (like a Knight)!
I met with these publishers to get to know them better. It is not only necessary to have a novel printed, but also to ensure that it will be distributed in as many bookstores as possible. They all offered me pretty much the same thing. So I tightened up my requests and demanded a right of review and final decisions on my novels. De Mortagne promised me that. In addition, their offices were 10 minutes away from my home. So I can get there easily, as often as I have to.
Again, this is my personal experience. First of all, the publisher evaluates the manuscript. Even if you think your manuscript is perfect, remember that the publisher has its own values and philosophy. He may love the manuscript and not want to change it. But he may also ask you to change it. Many authors bow to this requirement because they absolutely want to be published. Personally, I think that a writer, who has struggled on every page, has an obligation to consider the changes requested with a magnifying glass and accept only those that do not distort his work. It’s always possible to negotiate with a publisher. You just have to explain it in writing or in person. Basically, the publisher and the author have the same goal: to publish a good book.
Once the author and publisher have agreed on the necessary changes, the author goes back to work and resubmits his corrected manuscript to the editor. The second step is to "revise" the manuscript (the first time it was evaluated). The reviewer’s job is to correct spelling and grammar errors. Unfortunately, some revisers take the opportunity to express their opinion on certain passages. Here again, the author is free to accept or refuse the corrections proposed by the editor, but he must justify his refusals.
Once the corrections have been reviewed and entered, the final manuscript is entrusted to an infographic that puts it in the form of a "novel". A copy is then printed for the proofreader and a copy is given to the author. Both must then read the text one last time, to ensure that everything is in order. In addition, the proofreader ensures that the word cuts are accurate and that there are no "chimneys" and "rivers" in the text.
As for the cover of the novel, in general, the author who publishes it for the first time does not choose it. It is the graphic designer of the publisher who sends him his ideas. Sometimes we ask the author if he likes the idea and sometimes we take his suggestions into consideration. At the end of the day, it all depends on the publisher.