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.