Monday, July 29, 2013

The Journey To A Book

by Lise Horton

It seems so simple in the beginning. You have an idea for a story. You pull out a pen and paper, or boot up your laptop. You start writing. At some point you write/type “The End”. You lean back and smile in satisfaction. Later, you begin editing. Draft and redraft flow from you as you hone your story, add complexity and humanity to your characters, polish your prose and enflame your romance plot.

When your novel is done, you research. Which publisher would serve me best? What format? You contemplate pitches, synopses and query letters. You submit.

You receive rejections.

You enter contests. You lose. You sigh and revise.

You submit again, a bit tougher and a lot more determined.

Then it happens.

You get the “call”. You cheer, you’re faint with excitement, incredulity and satisfaction in a job well done.


The journey has just begun for you, the writer. As I have learned during the last seven months.

First the deal memo, then the contract. Ah, legalese! Parsing terms and conditions, royalties and representations. Signing on the dotted line and hoping for smooth sailing.

Then came the hello from my assigned editor (the reader who’d recommended Carina Press acquire my novel Words of Love). Welcoming me to the CP family and giving me the heads up that her first comments would be forthcoming.

Were they ever. “Editorial development memo”. A term new to me, but one I soon came to translate as “how we’d like you to rewrite your novel”. The editorial learning process then began. Unlike others who’d gone through the process with different publishers at a fairly leisurely rate? Uh uh. 1 month. 20,000 additional words later, plus many deletions, revisions, and a handful of super sexy love scenes later, I collapsed, exhausted but exhilarated to have completed my task. Fingers (and toes) were crossed hoping I’d pleased my editor. Her edits of the revised MS then came back. Another short turnaround deadline and I’d lobbed it back. It was improving. I was seeing the wisdom of her experienced advice and requests. I cut mercilessly. Added judiciously. Returned it. A second round of edits ensued. Could I please provide a complete list of character, product and place names for the copy editor? Done! Then came the copy edit proofing step. And her warning – this is your last chance to catch anything! It took frantic hours scouring the pages, but with a deep breath, that last step was complete. My heart swelled. There was a whooshing sound in my head.

But wait. In between these editorial deadlines? Howdy from the team assigned to come up with a new title (as mine was deemed too vague – it didn’t convey my genre, erotic romance, convincingly). Can you please fill out this title worksheet? Next up. A hello from my cover art team. Fill out the worksheet to help them craft a perfect cover. And the marketing team sent a form. Duly filled out. Invites for CP forums and greetings from the team putting out the post cards.

Things died down for a while and I was able to address book 2 of my series – which hadn’t been contracted for, but, following my editorial work, my editor expressed an interest in – and I settled in to begin the writing process anew. And with eyes wider opened to the nuance of my craft – thanks to my editor!

Then I was sent my back cover blurb copy. Please read and respond. It was now all very clear that this breakneck pace is the world of Carina Press digital publishing. Many hands, numerous teams, all working furiously to produce my, and others’ books.

Then came the composition of a promo snippet for Angela James to use in her PR about my book during her weekly new release announcement.

The last hurdle, the last momentous step in the process – my cover art. Make or break, I was all aquiver awaiting the concept from the cover art team. Two weeks ago the final “approved” back cover copy was sent to me. I could now begin promoting with this copy. Still, though the cover art was in the works, there was a stunning image on the cover art form. At the top of the page was a set of numbers that riveted me.

My ISBN Number – my book was real!


I’m thinking of having it tattooed.

But back to waiting for my cover art.

Fingernail chewing time. Pacing time.

Then the email arrives. The three sample covers. Can you please let us know what you think?

And there it was.

Cover number 3.


Hot. Stylistic. Edgy.

My title - Words of Lust – in an imposing, two-font rendering.


Then. At the bottom. Flush right.

My name – LISE HORTON.

Hot pink. Sleek font.

My name.

On my book.

But that was not all.

With the cover finalized, I check for me and Words of Lust on line.

And I am available for pre-sale!


Barnes & Noble

Carina Press


Then yet another thrilling moment when, amid the posts on my Facebook page I spy the comment:

“I pre-ordered your book.”

I have made my first sale.

Thank you Megan Frampton!

This whirlwind fairy tale journey has taken me to a magical place.

But this journey is not over. A new leg is underway.

Release Date: September 9, 2013.

Now, let it begin ….

Marketing, promotion, and advertising oh my! Update website. Schedule appearances. Check for reviews and find additional review sites.


I’ll be checking back. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Lise Horton's debut novel, Words of Lust, is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the Carina Press website. She's now taking advantage of her Gemini persona to juggle marketing and writing as she works on book 2 of the Stellato sibling series. You can follow her on this journey on her website at and via her social media.


  1. Seeing your name in print after all those hours and hours (and hours) of work must be so amazing for you! Congratulations and I can't wait to read your book!

  2. Congratulations! This was inspirational and am so thrilled for you! Well done

  3. Congratulations, Lise. Your cover is great! Wishing you the best of luck. The hard work is worth it. Great, inspiring post.

  4. Your cover is great, Lise! Carina covers really are striking. I can hardly wait to see what they come up with for my October 7 release.

    Best of luck with your book!

  5. Thanks to all of you lovely ladies for stopping by! Indeed - the entire experience is rather magically surreal - and I've so greatly enjoyed the Carina experience. The moment of "release" (pardon the ero-rom pun - I couldn't resist) will be truly an experience to never forget! Jana, I can't wait to see your cover, too! Grllgenius - fun handle, BTW - I am glad that it may have given you a jolt of inspiration! Each and every step was inspiring to me, too. Look forward to hearing what you think Nancy! And thanks for the Tweets!!! Ain't social media cool?

  6. Having a book published really is a roller coaster ride, Lise, and your post has beautifully demonstrated that. But yay you on handling it with such graciousness and good humor. The cover that Carina produced is indeed lovely, and I wish you super success with your book

  7. Thanks Darcy! Roller coaster ride is pretty apt, but I have to say it was an educational, informative and eye-opening roller coaster ride! I am a savvier writer as a result and have a far better understanding of the wealth of jobs that go into putting out a book.

  8. OMG! If it's not one thing, it's another. But the journey sounds like fun and a wonderful validation of your hard work. Your success is well deserved. And that cover is hot! Congratulations, again! -maria

  9. Nice post. Thanks for sharing your story! Love the cover!

  10. Thanks, Maria & Jeanine! It certainly has been a wild ride so far & I look forward to more excitement on this next leg.

  11. Lise, I seriously got misty-eyed for you, at the end, there. Wow, what a trip!

    But seriously: ONE MONTH for all those edits/cuts/20K words?! YOWZA!

    Super sexy cover. I'm not normally into pink, but the way your name looks against the cover image. Very striking.

    I'm curious about the title worksheet. I don't suppose you could bring a copy to the meeting this Saturday?
    Some Dark Romantic

  12. If your book is as well written and suspenseful as this entry, you'll go far! I'll have to rush to read it...

    QUESTION: How long did it take from the time you submitted your novel to Carina, to the time you got "the call"? Did you hear anything in between?

    Carina seems to be doing some great things. Congrats! I submitted something a month ago. I think, from what I've read, I still have some waiting to do before they respond.

  13. Mina - we're not allowed to share CP documents, unfortunately, but I know that other digital houses do have similar worksheets (like TWRP, for example). I do like the B&W with the hot pink - I think it stands out nicely!

  14. Jen - Many thanks for your comment! And I hope if you do read it you'll let me know what you think. My CP experience was a bit different. I responded to a call they put out saying that anyone who submitted their full MS within a short period of time (3 days? 1 week?) would get a full read and critique by a CP editor within (I recall) 6 weeks. So I sent it and 1 1/2 months later (I think) hoping just for an actual critique. Then I got the call from Angela James. So I didn't go through the normal submission process and cannot respond to that part of your equestion. But yes, I'm thoroughly impressed and enjoying the entire experience.