Happy Thursday, folks!
Today, rather than talk about the submissions/acquisitionsy stuff (YES, "acquisitionsy" is a word...because I say so), we're going to look at something important for contracted authors to remember during the publication process.
Patience is vital and you can't expect everyone to hold your hand or pat you reassuringly on the head.
Publishing a book is a long process that requires a lot of different people all working at the same time and juggling other books. It's a machine with lots of cogs and wheels and parts that you, as the author, never get to see.
And it's frustrating as hell sometimes as a writer because you can't see all the parts and inner workings. All there is for you is you and your book. I understand this because I was an author for this company long before I joined the staff. My first book came out two full years after I signed the contract for it, but it didn't bother me too much because I spent that time writing other books and building an online fanbase. But now that I can actually see all the inner workings of the machine? Folks, you'd be astonished at what's going on behind the scenes on any given day.
Here's the thing that you, gentle author, need to keep in mind about publishers: it's in their best interest to release your book in a timely manner. Even before that book is contracted, time and money went into having a panel of editors evaluate it. After a book is contracted, time and money is going into producing cover art, paying editors, paying proofreaders, paying typesetters... The publisher needs that book to be released to the book buying public so that they see a return on the investment.
But delays happen. Titles get shuffled on the schedule, a freelance editor is hired and flakes out, an artist's harddrive is fried and covers must be re-done, writers fight an editor constantly on a manuscript, a senior staff member suffers an illness or death in the family, people decide to take a few days off for Christmas (yes, folks, publishing peeps are allowed to have Christmas, and typically it DOESN'T actually affect our work), an author covers her galley in red pen and expects massive changes to be made last minute. Communication can be slow--at least half of the emails I receive require me to check in with another staff member (and they are all also quite busy), or review notes with my editorial boad when it comes to slush inquiries.
I firmly believe in keeping authors informed as much as possible, but a whole lot of the time we can't. We can't stop the machine to notify a hundred people about one little cog being off and we can't give you confidential information about what's going on behind the scenes with other authors and staff members.
But you, dear writer, need to have not only patience for this big machine called publishing, but also trust. You need to trust that we are doing everything in our power to ensure your book is the best it can be and ready for people to purchase it. You need to trust that we haven't forgotten about you, even if we're not checking in with you once a week with a status update. You need to trust that we want your book to be released, because then we all get paid more and money makes everyone happy.
This isn't to say there aren't shady, fly by night tiny e-pubs out there. There are, and an author has to pay attention. But 99% of the other editors I know at various small and epublishing houses are working damn hard, 40 - 50 hrs a week, on publishing good books.
If you can't trust that the publisher you're in business with is working hard on producing books...if you need constant reassurance that you're still in the queue...if you can't find anything better to do with your time than nag the staff...folks, I think you need to step back and question what you're doing. I wouldn't want to work with someone I didn't trust. Why would you?
9 hours ago