Thursday, September 6, 2012

In Publishing, You Need Patience; Things Take A LOT Of Time

Too often, I hear authors complaining about the amount of time it takes for an editor or agent to get back to them regarding a project. I mean, how hard can it be to read the darn story and make a decision? Right? Unfortunately, for these authors, they seem to miss the point that in publishing, things do not happen over-night.

We have to remember a few things here. The late Kate Duffy once told a group of authors at a conference a statement that I think truly hit home. "You don't mean anything to me as an author until I have signed you and you are now working with me." Yes, this seemed harsh, but it was the truth. Editors and agents are busy working with their current authors and their current projects. Editors are working with the art department, marketing departments, associate editors and agents on a daily basis. On top of this, they are editing numerous manuscripts for their current authors.  Agents are busy doing the same things. They edit, the write proposals, they call editors to make new sales, they review contracts and royalty statements...

...and then, after all of this, they look at submissions for new authors.

Rarely do they spend the day, in the office, reviewing those new projects. They pick them up as they head out the door for the evening. They read submissions on weekends (and even while they are attending your conferences).

Even after you are contracted with an editor or agent, you still have to have that patience. You have to remember that you are not the only author that person is working with. We all take things in the order the projects have come in. Yes, we do bump some things up if the need is there, but we will get to it when we get to it.

As far as editors, you might have that project finished, but the release date for your book cannot happen immediately. Again, their are other authors out there and there are only so many slots that can be filled during each cycle. Yes, this might mean your book is finished and sitting in a holding pattern for months before it is released.

But how does this time factor help an author. You have to remember that both editors and agents WANT you to do well. The more books you sell, the more money everyone makes. This means they want to insure you get a great cover, you get great edits and you get your share of the marketing department's attention.

Now, I know what many of you are thinking. If I self-publish, I can get that immediate success. Well, maybe you do. But, just getting those books out on "your timeline" does not necessarily mean the book will be a big hit. Please, don't take this the wrong way. Self-publishing is fine if that is the direction you want to take. The focus here is for those authors that are still taking that traditional approach. Just be calm and relaxed. While you wait on those responses, keep writing.

1 comment:

  1. Honestly, I don't know how agents do it. You all wear so many hats on a daily basis. I'm amazed that your brains still have enough juice to read submissions between everything else you have to get done for your authors.

    Personally, when it comes to waiting, I'm known for not being very patient. But knowing that what an agent's job entails, it's easier for me to sit back and wait. The key is what you've mentioned, Scott: While waiting, WRITE! Begin a new WIP, edit a previous MS. Or read a book in your genre, do more research on the industry. There are loads of ways to fill your waiting time, but the most important of them all is to write. :)