Book stuff. You're always planning. You're always assessing what you did right and what you could have done better.
I got my very first royalty statement from my publisher this week. Confusing little report. Think I figured it out. (Learn more about royalty statements here or here or here if you're so inclined.) I was pleasantly surprised with the number of units shipped, sold, and returned from July 2005 - December 2005. (Yes, they tell you how many units got shipped back to publisher... ALL books have units shipped back.) I didn't break any records or make "lists," but I'm not disappointed at all. It was my first book. Ever. One day, I will make lists. No doubt.
I give myself kudos for a lot of firsts, because I didn't know ANYTHING about the publishing industry. Firsts like... writing AND finishing a novel, the art of querying agents, developing good relations with your agent and publisher/editor, planning much of my first book events schedule, learning how writers really need to develop an eye for business, marketing, and branding, etc... pretty much on my own. No biggie. Being first-born child in a family makes you a curious pioneer type.
Learned a lot for the second novel, Right Side of the Wrong Bed, which comes out Summer 2007. Like the art of planning early. Thinking of what you'd do differently. Also knowing to keep high expectations, but at same time knowing in a world of stores/readers where Nora Roberts and James Patterson rule, your expectations should not be the same as it might be for them.
Once cool thing. The publisher/editor, agent, and I are talking about cover ideas. I think we're on same page about a general concept -- something more photographic, rather than an illustrated drawing, and using live model or models. That would be nice! And knowing that I'm so into chocolate brown and ANY color combo, we might work that in as well.
But aspiring authors... get this. No one, unless they're Nora Roberts or James Patterson or self-published types, gets final cover approval. You get to share some thoughts and ideas, and that's pretty much where the consulting ends. Not a bad thing. Just a publishing reality thing. Sometimes the bookstore chains have final say on the cover... if they like the design the publisher came up with, they'll order more copies. If they don't like it, they'll suggest changes with the offer to order more copies with suggested changes done.
Bottom line. It's all business. And that's the first thing writers and those aspiring to be published by mainstream publishers need to understand. First. What are some other things you aspiring authors wanna learn more about?
Check out Marcela Landres site for some more book business information.