Those Dratted Publishers!

Dear All Knowing One,

A quick question; I finally signed my first book contract. Aaahh!! (I got the 10% net on the first 5000, BTW.) I’m just wondering; I signed it on the 19th of February with an intended date of publication of on or before April 30, 2010, and got the e-file of the manuscript to them the next day. However, since then I’ve heard nothing from the publisher. About every ten days I’ve sent a short e-mail asking if they need anything from me, but haven’t even gotten a reply. Doesn’t it at least need to go to an editor? Can they really print a book in six weeks? What should I be doing here? I feel an urgency that they obviously don’t, but I don’t want to be obnoxious either.

Okay, so that wasn’t a quick question. Sorry.

Also, I’ve been thinking of a way to repay you for your willingness to help without blowing your anonymity. I came up with an idea to leave tickets (in the name of LDS publisher) to something you enjoy at a will-call desk somewhere. Any favorites? Or other ideas? Thanks for you wisdom and great attitude.

Ahhh. The travails of publishing. I feel your pain.

Okay, here’s the thing. Almost no one hits their original release date—unless the book is a highly publicized and anticipated release. It’s much more likely that your release date will be pushed back at least once. Hope that it’s only by a few weeks. I know some books that are over a year behind their original schedule. (This happens in all markets—national and LDS.)

Upon submission of your completed manuscript, it should go to editing. Then it should come back to you for rewrites. Then it goes to typesetting. Then you see “bluelines proofs” (which aren’t really bluelines anymore but some of us old-schoolers still call them that). Then you send back final corrections. Then it goes to press. Then, depending on how they’re printed and bound, it could be anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks (longer if they go overseas for printing).

That’s how it’s supposed to work. Yes, it can be done in six weeks, but usually it takes longer because they’re probably working on multiple projects.

The fact that you’re going to most likely miss your original release date doesn’t bother me. It happens. What does bother me is that they aren’t responding to your emails. This could be for any number of reasons—like vacation, sick days, reassignment of jobs within the company. Or maybe they aren’t getting your emails or you aren’t getting theirs. That can happen sometimes too. (If they’re just ignoring you, that is unprofessional, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt for now).

If by the time you read this (your email to me must have gotten lost over China because even though you sent it three weeks ago, I’m just now seeing it…) you’ve still had no response to your emails, I’d call them. (Yes, I know I say never call your publisher, but this is one of the FEW situations where it’s okay.) Tell them you’re concerned because your release date is fast approaching and you haven’t heard from them so you just wanted to make sure they were getting your emails.

And as for the tickets? The thought is wonderful but I’d be too paranoid to go pick them up. But you can always send me a comp copy of your book when it does come out. I lurve books.

Author: LDS Publisher

I am an anonymous blogger who works in the LDS publishing industry. I blog about topics that help authors seeking publication and about published fiction by LDS authors.

8 thoughts on “Those Dratted Publishers!”

  1. I think lack of communication on the part of the publisher is more common than it should be. As a first-time author myself I had thought the publisher would have someone assigned to walk me through the process and keep me informed what was happening and where the book was in general–kind of like a traffic person in an ad agency. Unfortunately, this just does not happen. I sat at home for a number of months wondering what in the world was going on before there was finally a flurry of activity to get things done. Having been through the process twice now, I now know what to expect.

  2. The editors are busy people. They have work to do. And they figure you do too. Your work on the MS is pretty much over. Sure, you may have a few word choices to change, but for the most part, you're done. And the editor figures, hey, I'm doing my work, shouldn't the author be doing their work.

    What work you ask?

    Your next novel. So cut the apron strings. When the book comes out you'll get your copies. And move on. The sooner, the better.

    And another thing. You'll thank me for giving you some tough-to-take advice.

    Move on folks. Write another publishable novel, and let the editors take that old, dusty novel you never want to look at again and publish the puppy. You're done with it. Finished. Its over. Get over it.

  3. …Blog owner approval? What are you worried about LDSP? That someone will peek under your zoro mask and reveal your true identity?

    President Obama said that anyone who enables blog owner approval is a socialist afraid of the free press. Its true. And who else would know better than tha commander in cheif?

    Does comment moderation mean that you're going to edit my posts or does it mean your going to turn the volume down on them?

  4. Anon 1: It takes three seconds to say, "Behind schedule. Will send proofs when ready." Don't give me this "I'm too busy" excuse. She's not asking for hand-holding; just some indication that her pub hasn't packed up and left for parts unknown. That's not at all unreasonable.

    Anon 2: It means I was suddenly bombarded with people leaving links to porn sites. I'll turn it off again soon.

  5. Sounds like the world of publishing is something that you have to have lots of patience with.

  6. When it is your first published book I think you must be nervous/anxious/stressed/elated/etc. With this mixture of emotions I can only imagine that the author needs some assurances that things are going well. That little demon in the back of our minds that is always shoving doubts at us has got to be eroding your confidence. Certainly publishers understand this. Therefore, they should see the necessity of a few words of communication from time to time.

    Hang in there!

  7. Tell me about it. Patience is what you need. I've been working on my first novel for over 20 years, and now with the querying process another 5 or so years. I think most would have given up by now, but I've revised my novel several times and I believe in it.

  8. I'm with LDSP. If you are getting no response to your emails after you've signed a publishing contract and the publication date is fast approaching, I think it's perfectly appropriate to pick up the phone. Sometimes emails do go astray. I have a friend whose editor sent her a bunch of emails that never arrived. Frustrating.

    My editor is very good at responding to questions or concerns (and, of course, I respect his time and am careful not to be a pest). Communication with authors is part of an editor's job. Your question is perfectly reasonable and not obnoxious.

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