Behind the Scenes In Being Published: Update and Cover Art (Aug. 2017)

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Recap: I sold my New Adult alternate-history fantasy series late last year to Glass House Press. Since then, I’ve been detailing my journey of what goes on behind the scenes. Now, my publishing story is going to be (probably markedly) different than someone else’s, but you might take some inspiration or advice with my tale.

If you’re interested, here is:


If you’re caught up, you know that I’ve been working on a whole ‘nother book before the original series I sold to Glass House Press. My editor, in considering how gigantic my world is and how much backstory I have to get there, was nervous that there was too much information to pack into the beginning of the series. Thus, a prequel.

Well, it’s turned into 64k words with the latest revision, so I guess it’s real-book sized! I thought it was going to be a novella but since it’s basically impossible for me to write anything short… yeah.

Anyway, August consisted of me working with the first letter of feedback. Mainly, fleshing out my ending, and putting more world details and MC voice in the beginning. This last month was a big of a whirlwind, in learning more about my world than I have before. (The last blog post goes into more detail about this)

I’m a pantser character writer, which means that my world building comes in fits and starts as my characters explore it. It’s got it’s disadvantages; meaning, I tend to have to re-write everything once I get to the end as I figure out Oh Yeah I Need To Know How That Works. Because there’s nothing more irritating to a reader than going along thinking one thing and then having to jar yourself into another world-space because of oh yeah this important detail of my world right here that I’m suddenly bringing in to create conflict hahahahaaaa… 

Okay I’m sure there are other things that are more irritating but that’s probably one of the top ones. At least for me as a reader.

Anyway, I ended up fleshing out/discovering things about my world beyond what I expected. I thought I had it mostly figured out; in delving deeper, into things I thought weren’t important because they weren’t important to the character necessarily, I discovered/created a lot that made my world a lot more interesting. Even though I still feel meh about this prequel coming out before Book One, the exercise of going through all of this has been immensely helpful (and important, to be honest). I already have a boat-load of new information that Book One needs to have. It’s really rather exciting.

I’m starting to think that going forward as a writer, I need to write a ‘history book’ involving whatever world I’m working on. Nothing I ever publish or even make interesting in any sense of the word, but something that makes me walk through and flesh out the environment that my characters are living in. I plot it out in my head, but there’s just something about writing it all out. Because I vastly underestimate how much detail I need to build certain world elements.

(You world-building first types are probably like DUH, but hey I’m getting there)

So that’s the update involving the writing portion of what’s going on behind the scenes.


The publisher and I have started talking cover designs and concepts. For a fun and awesome twist, I get a lot of input on what is going into my cover(s). So last month I had a meeting with my publisher and we worked out concept ideas, themes, and what we wanted to portray for my series. Like, the covers are all going to be made in the same style with similar designs in order to link them together.

The color and certain elements will be different for each one (I’m not sure how much I can talk about details since it’s not quite set in stone this is killing me!!), but we have a basic concept, theme, and vision going forward.

An AMAZING designer (I’m not sure I’m allowed to really say who yet but omg I’m so excited!!?!) has been booked to create my first cover in November. She’s slotted for the first three for sure (first three including prequel and book one and two), and I’m not sure what happens after that, but considering it’ll be like a year or two before I have to think about it I’m sure we’re fine.

Guys I’m so excited about the designer. I didn’t really connect who she was at first, but as soon as I went to check her out and I was like WAIT I KNOW THIS I’VE SEEN THESE COVERS ON SOME OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS. She does gorgeous work, and I think the theme that the publisher and I worked out is going to be very striking and unique. *Cue flailing*

So there’s that.

I’m going to do my darnest to get the latest revision of the prequel back to my editor today. I’ve walked through all the changes she suggested (and some changes I felt it needed), and I can feel my focus on the story flagging; I’m not really seeing it anymore. I’ve done a LOT of work on it (12k words of addition plus whatever I’ve subtracted!), and need a break to come back with it with fresh eyes.

The next step is going to be another round of hard core development edits focused on what I’ve written (the last round of devs utilized a very detailed outline for a big-picture set of edits). It will be very interesting to see what my editor thinks walking through the story, versus just hearing about what the story will be about…

I’m pretty nervous, but also really looking forward to it. I’ve been craving this kind of in-depth, er, teaching, for lack of a better word. I read a lot of writing advice and such, but it’s easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to your own writing and not quite see how to apply the advice. Developmental edits are not my strong suit, and I sincerely want to learn!

And on that note…. happy Monday everyone! May your week be filled with inspiration and writing.

About R. K. Brainerd

I've been writing since my pre-teens, mostly in the realm of fantasy and sci-fi. Taking interesting concepts and dropping complex characters into fantastical worlds is my jam. I also raise dairy goats and herd cats, the evidence of which can be found on my Instagram. Welcome to the adventure. View all posts by R. K. Brainerd

10 responses to “Behind the Scenes In Being Published: Update and Cover Art (Aug. 2017)

  • Upcoming Blog Series: Behind The Scenes in Being Published | Awake Dragon

    […] August 2017 (Update! And the beginnings of cover art…) […]


  • Nicole Evans

    “I thought it was going to be a novella but since it’s basically impossible for me to write anything short… yeah.”

    ^^ Definitely a twin moment, there.

    Also, I think it’s so neat that you get so much input with your cover. I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE IT AND LEARN ALL THE INSIDER DETAILS.

    And though I’m sure the entire process is a whirlwind of emotions, I hope you’re still enjoying the adventure. I think it’s awesome you have an editor dedicated to helping you make the story the best it can be and I hope you’re learning tons from the feedback! I cannot wait to read this story. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • R. K. Brainerd

      Yeeeaaaahhhhh yay long books! This prequel is ending up normal booked sized simply because I aimed for a novella 😅

      I KNOW RIGHT. I’m very happy about how much I’m included in this whole process. Whoo for small publishers! ^.^ I CAN’T WAIT TO TELL YOU EVERYTHING.

      I am still enjoying the adventure. That’s the best part — how much I’m learning and I’ll take forward into the next book and the next!



      • Nicole Evans

        Just more awesomeness for everyone to read! 😀

        Seriously, my friend, I AM DYING FOR THAT EMAIL. But I understand the hush-hush requirement and how much that must be driving you crazy.

        Yay! I was thinking about it, reading your post, and part of me was jealous that you got that sort of in-depth feedback round after round. Yet at the same time, while that is amazing, I’m sure it must also be difficult and has it’s own challenges, working under a deadline and knowing your writing is going to be critiqued and potentially having differing opinions. But, most important is enjoying the adventure and still loving your writing and your story by the end.

        I can’t wait to preorder everything you write. ❤ ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

      • R. K. Brainerd

        You’re totally right, about all of that. The in-depth feedback is amazing, but scary at the same time! There’s definitely an element of taking criticism as constructive and not an affront… thankfully, life has a habit of teaching how to take criticism, so that’s good! I’m definitely still afraid of having the story become something outside of what I want, or not what I envisioned (probably will be my biggest lesson this time around!). But I probably just need to suck it up, and also, my editor has been great about all of it. Just focusing on enjoying the adventure!

        (And you will be grappling with round by round feedback from your agent/publisher here soon enough, don’t you worry. Then you’ll be the one worrying about keeping to your vision! ;D)


      • Nicole Evans

        I can only imagine! And I have a weird roller coaster when it comes to responding to feedback. I almost always take it personally immediately upon receiving it, so I end up forcing myself to not respond for a couple days and then look at it again, where I’m usually a bit more level-headed. I’m glad you have a great relationship with your editor, though, so you can have those honest discussions together.

        (Your faith in me is awesome. Thank you, love.)


  • fmrichter

    That’s so awesome that you’re working with a publisher who lets you flesh out your world like that! Not to mention letting you give input on your covers. That’s so exciting

    Liked by 1 person

    • R. K. Brainerd

      I am SO grateful for it! It’s really wondering that part of the publishing community has changed to try to incorporate author visions and input on a lot of these things… I totally get that there’s a business side and publishers have to make money, but that I found one willing to work *with* me for that has been incredible.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Published: Behind the Scenes (June 2018) | Awake Dragon

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