Taking the Long Road with Book Publishing
I've been writing and publishing books for a long time now. I hate to say how many years, so I won't. But I will say that even though I've seen some aspects of publishing change dramatically, other things have remained the same.
For example, it is still a massive bummer to get a rejection from a publisher. Readers assume once you have a publisher, they'll accept everything you send their way. This isn't true, and having a long list of books in print is no guarantee that anyone else will take your newest creation. Some books nobody wants to publish. No matter what your publishing history looks like.
Unless you are J.K. Rowling. Which, or course, most of us are not.
Another aspect of publishing that has yet to change is the pace. It's always taken a long time to hear back on submissions, and now, in the digital age, it still takes weeks or month for a publisher to decide on your work. The bigger the house, the longer the wait. This encourages new writers to self-publish. After all, your book could be in print and selling before you even get a rejection slip in your inbox.
But what if you receive an acceptance letter?
Then…the wait continues. Because even when a publisher does contract you, it still seems to take forever before your book is released. This holds true for most digital publishers as well as the print presses. This is because your manuscript has to go to the bottom of the pile and edge its way slowly upward until it sits on top of your editor's desk. You have to wait your turn. And the bigger the press, the longer that takes.
Finally, you receive manuscript edits from your editor. Hooray! But this is only round one. Depending on what needs to be done to polish your manuscript, there might be one, two, or more rounds of edits before the manuscript moves on to the next stage of editing. And still, your job is not done. You will be looking over the line edits. Then you will look at the galleys.
Do I have to say here that the editing process is a long one? Being able to email your manuscript back and forth with your editor does speed up the process. We used to have to trade editing rounds through the U.S. mail.
After you and your editor have selected the cover design and agreed on the back copy, your book will be assigned a release date. Sometime in the future. Possibly way in the future.
The publishing process used to frustrate me. I spent a lot of stressful hours, days, weeks and months worrying about my books in press. What a waste of energy! If I knew then what I know now, I would have used the time to prepare promotional campaigns and conduct research for the next book. Because there is serious lag time between the completion of a manuscript and holding the book in your hands—or seeing it on your screen.
But this is the way publishing works. Just like honing your craft to improve your writing, the publishing process is an art. And it takes time.
Being a saint helps when you are waiting for a book to be released. I am not a saint. But I do think the process is worthwhile. With the help of a publisher, the errors in my manuscript are corrected. Rough edges are smoothed. The cover is artfully designed. Skilled professionals have given me feedback and shared their expertise. So when my book is finally released, I can feel confident it is the very best I could do.
As for what has changed in publishing during my years as an author, that's a topic for another blog post. But as every writer knows, now you have the option to do it all yourself. It's fast, cheap and easy. So, if you just can't wait any longer, you can always choose to be your own publisher. I'm always thinking about doing that myself.
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Mickey J. Corrigan writes pulpy fiction. Recent books include Whiskey Sour Noir and Vodka Warrior, two novellas in a series about hard-drinking women and the men they love (The Wild Rose Press, 2014); and Sugar Babies, a thriller about soft prostitution (Champagne Books, 2013). Visit at www.mickeyjcorrigan.com. To read the original post, visit: http://roomwithbooks.com/corrigan-sugar-babies/