After the Draft: Episode V, All Quiet on the Western Front

After some mild distractions, (which garnered exponentially more web traffic, ahem…) I’m happy to report that Any Port in a Storm has nothing to report. Since the last episode, the only notable thing that has happened for my manuscript is a personalized email from the publisher confirming receipt of said manuscript, with a promise to get back to me soon.

“Soon” in publisher/agent language does not line-up with what a normal person might expect it to be. This is in no way a slam on anyone on that side of the industry. What many writers don’t appreciate is the sorts of lead-times a book requires before it’s going to go to print. Even if you somehow manage to send in a completely clean manuscript that requires no revisions, (which, incidentally isn’t going to happen on your first book, or your second, and probably not your third) the process will still take many months to work its way through all of the people within the publishing house who have to give their approval on the project, not to mention actually being fitted into the publication schedule.

Remember, there is a finite amount of time in a given year to squeeze in things like producing cover-art, marketing, and the actual physical publishing of many thousands or tens of thousands of copies of a book, to say nothing of generating reviews, distribution to retail outlets, etc. All of those steps take time, and if publishers rush out too many books all at once, titles run the risk of being lost in the noise. These constraints and business considerations are why houses have a limit on the number of books they can churn out in a given fiscal year. It really is nothing personal.

That’s just how this process goes, and the entire point of this blog-series was to give writers a realistic review of the experience of trying to get a book published. Which is why I’ve popped in to say I have basically nothing to say. However, I can say that I’ve lined up a number of authors to guest-blog about their own experiences getting their first book published from the other side of the door. The first of these guest-posts is due up next month, and the author in question is a simply terrific guy and an ENORMOUS geek. I’m sure you’re all going to love it!

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