A popular post from December 2007
By Josi S. Kilpack
There’s an aspect of publishing that isn’t often discussed, isn’t often considered, but has the potential to drive you crazy far more than lay/lie every could. This issue isn’t about getting the characterization just right (though, of course you’d be an idiot not to do a great job at characterization), it’s not about making sure your heading is in the right place (upper left hand corner; last name and book title along with the page number), and it has nothing to do with the disgustingly, grotesquely, annoying over usage of adverbs (thank goodness that’s not my problem)—this issue knows no boundaries of word count, genre, publishing history, or age, race, gender. We’re all equally annoyed by it, and yet there is no way around it. So it’s about time you knew that an absolutely essential part of being a writer is learning to wait.
1—After you’ve written the perfect story and given it to trustworthy manuscript readers—you wait for it to come back. For me this is anywhere from 2 weeks to a month per reader.
2—After you’ve made the suggested revisions and sent our your query—you wait for an acceptance. I know people that have sent our literally dozens of queries and heard nothing back for months and months. I know of others that have heard back in a few weeks.
3—If you’re shooting for the national market, after your agent accepts you—you wait for them to sell it to a publisher. This can take anywhere from a few months to a couple years. Should your agent find that they can’t place your book it will be returned to you and you can go back to step #2.
4—Once a publisher has accepted the option of looking at your full book, you send them the electronic copy—and wait to hear their suggestions. Just because you’re previously published does not mean you skip this step.
5—If you get revision suggestions, change the manuscript accordingly, and resubmit—you wait to see if those are accepted. If the changes are acceptable, you move on, if they aren’t, you go back to #4.
6—Once you get officially accepted by the publisher—you wait to get the signed contract, sometimes this can take a few weeks. Sometimes there are different boards that must also accept your book. They may suggest more revisions which will take you back to #5.
7—Once you sign the contract—you wait to see your cover and get your galley proofs. This is usally about 2 months or so. The good news is that this is where you know this book is going to be published. You have a contract and they have put in a lot of time to edit and typeset your book. You’re very close! But that doesn’t mean you don’t have more waiting to do.
8—Once you get your galley proofs, and proof them (hence the term)—you wait for the fateful day when your book comes in the mail to you. This is anywhere from 4-10 weeks or so after submitting your final galleys. Some authors choose to do a second set of galley prints which will extend this.
9—Once your book is off the presses and on the shelves you GET TO WORK SELLING IT!—and wait for the first statement telling you how many you’ve sold. Most statements don’t come for a few months.
What do you do with all that waiting? Gear up for your marketing campaign, promote any other works you’ve already published, and of course work on your next book. Publishing is a long process, it takes patience and if that’s not your strong suit (Me! Me! Me!) then you . . . well, you’re out of luck cause there is no way around it. It helps to take yoga, clean out lots of closets, blog, e-mail, and rant at your spouse now and again. If they’re a keeper they nod and commiserate you, if they threaten to cause bodily harm you might want to find someone else to rant to. As much as the waiting annoys you, it’s necessary that you act as if you’ve hardly noticed. Valium is good too.
Can you tell I’m in a waiting period right now, or was I too subtle?