Behind the Scenes in Book World

Photo by Kate Ter Haar

Photo by Kate Ter Haar

An update

It’s been three weeks since I sent the final draft of my novel, Her Own Vietnam, to my publisher for editing. While I wait to hear from her, there’s a lot for me to do.

Here are some of the things that are on my mind during this hidden gestation period as my manuscript evolves into a book.


It’s not up to me to figure out cover images or page layout. A professional designer will do that, and my publisher will have the final word. But I am fortunate that Rosalie – unlike many publishers – actively engages her authors in design decisions and creative thinking about what the book should look like. So while I’m not worried about specific fonts or photos, I am thinking about the feeling I want the book cover to project – and hoping the designer can find a way to express that feeling visually.


Some readers study blurbs, some scorn them, but you’ve gotta have them. Two writers are currently considering blurb requests for my novel, and I’m working up the nerve to ask another well-known writer for a blurb. (Generally the publisher requests the blurbs, but in some cases the author might ask.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, it’s a delicate matter to ask someone to blurb your book. And like most people, I am uncomfortable asking for favors. The writer I’m about to approach has already been very generous to me. Is it over the top to ask her for yet more assistance? We’ll soon see.


I suspect a novel like mine is going to find most of its readers through word of mouth. But the very first readers, particularly those who might stock the novel on their bookstore or library shelves, will most likely learn about it from reviews.

It is the publisher, not the author, who sends books out for review and Rosalie has already developed a list of review outlets for my novel. But I want to add to her list by learning about all the places I think my potential readers might hear about the book.

Who are my potential readers? Women (and men) who are interested in women’s stories. Who think about the human impact of social issues. Who fought in wars or marched against them, or both. Who are willing, for the length of a novel, to try on someone else’s life.

What about you?

I have three friends whose book recommendations are always on target. I have a couple of others whose stamp of approval for a book might as well be a skull and crossbones. 

What about you? How do you hear about books to read? Is it through a particular website or magazine? A local bookstore? A trusted friend? 

Do you have any advice for me about how to reach, well, people like you? Leave a comment and start the conversation: How will find your next book?

2 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes in Book World

  1. I am interested in hearing the comments you receive on this subject. I have a book out there for sale. I wonder how anyone will find out about it. I, myself, read mostly books by bestselling authors whose books I have already read. Occasionally, I branch out, and it could be for any number of reasons. Maybe someone talked about a book, or maybe I just want a change, and I go hunting. Blessings to you…


    • Hi Carol Ann. You’ve raised the essential question. There are so many books out there. How does a writer find her audience? How does a reader find the right books? There should be match makers for books and readers!


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