The Call. This is the moment we all dream of. And it's just as wonderful a moment for your editor. This is the type of call they like to make in person, just so they can share the excitement.
After you've had the happy news, you'll be given a contract to read through and sign. Don't be afraid to ask questions or take advice. It's a legal contract, so no-one is going to mind that you make sure you're happy with what you're signing.
By now it's probably at least a year since you first submitted this manuscript and you probably (hopefully!) have another completed manuscripts ready and waiting to send off. But take a deep breath, because first you'll probably have to do yet more revisions before this manuscript is finally ready to hand over to the copy editors. The writer's involvement doesn't end here, though. You'll be expected to check the line edits and galleys. At each stage there will be more revisions and more checks.
Meanwhile, the publisher will have decided a release date, based on their schedules. If you've sold to Harlequin, the release date is likely to be at least a year away. Scheduling has to take into consideration a great many factors: novels already contracted, holiday and seasonal books, other titles with similar content already on the schedule etc. The same applies to the naming of your novel. It's a complicated process and the writer doesn't get much say. Harlequin writers are asked to fill in an Art Fact sheet which the design team will use to design the cover, which is more input than many writers get to make at this stage.
As soon as a release date has been agreed, the marketing team will roll into action. Promotion is a huge part of publishing a novel and will vary for every book. Harlequin has the advantage of a huge marketing machine, but every writer is still expected to do as much marketing as they can. If you don't already have a blog or a website, now is a good time to start. Think about how you can help launch your own book, be prepared to do interviews and put yourself out there.
Many publishers, especially mainstream publishers, are spending less and less on promoting books, so you need to do as much as you can to help them. They'll also be a lot more willing to spend on you if they see you're willing to meet them half way. Tips on how to market yourself and your novel abound on the internet. Plan a launch party. Take time out from your next book to celebrate how far you've come.
By the time your big day rolls around and your book hits the shelves, make sure you're ready with the next manuscript. Publishers (and especially romance publishers) do not want One Hit Wonders. They want consistent writers who will grow a following and publish yet more books.
Are you ready to be that person? Then go back to the first post of this series and start at the beginning. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard.