Some day it will happen! Some day, you will wake up, thinking it's a normal day and then, suddenly, you get the call. YOU HAVE A BOOK DEAL! Here are some quick tips to help you through the process so you don't lose your mind!
1. Don't be scared of working with your editor! You'll do fine! Your editor is your friend and sounding board. They want to make your book the very best it can be.
2. Be prepared to take what you consider the most special parts of your book...OUT! The key here is you consider them the best parts. Your editor can see things you don't from an outside perspective.
3. Concerns? TALK TO YOUR AGENT! He/she knows the business and they will tell you if you're concerns are justified or you're freaking out for no reason. (I would fit into the "freaking out for no reason" category). If you don't have an agent, reach out to others you know who've been published. Most of your fellow writers will be thrilled to help you out and share their experiences.
4. Don't be afraid to ask your publisher LOTS of questions-- if you don't ask, you won't get.
5. Your publisher may change your release date several times--this is totally normal, especially for a debut.
6. Know that you have NO control over the cover art...but be happy when your publisher does ask for your input and/or gives your book a fabulous illustrator, and if they don't give you the illustrator of your dreams, have a nice piece of cake (preferably chocolate) and tell yourself, they know what they're doing.
7. Bear in mind that Barnes & Noble, along with big box sellers and Indie stores, do NOT pick up every book, even from big publishers! There is nothing you can do if they decide not to carry your book in their brick and mortar stores, so don't worry about it--it does not mean your book won't be successful.
8. Don't fret if you start on a one book deal (becoming the norm these days), but be merry when they buy the sequel six months later--off a proposal no less! That means they like you, they really, really like you!
9. There are a lot of things out of your control in publishing--in fact--most things. Before giving yourself a facial tick, take a step back, inhale a deep solid breath, and realize no matter what's in store for you, you made it...you did it...you're a first-rate writer--YOU!
10. Rinse and Repeat! In other words, write another book. ;)