Publishing: Moving at the Speed of Slight
Do you like watching grass grow? Does the prospect of waiting for a snail to cross the road fill you with unbridled excitement? If either of these things is true, then you must love the publishing business.
Nothing moves fast in the publishing world, no matter what everyone tells you about the rapid-fire changes taking place due to e-books, self-pubbing, etc. Don’t believe them. This business and everything associated with it moves like a slug engaged in a transatlantic crossing. During an ice storm. In the dark. Alone.
Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration. The slug isn’t alone, because I write romance and I’m happier thinking the little guy has a girlfriend with him. But slug love aside, the whole aloneness thing feels real sometimes, and it is tough being a woman of action in an industry that moves at a glacial pace. Consider, if you will, these standard tales of woe for writers everywhere: The length of time to produce a quality manuscript; queries that are out for months—or years!—before a yea or a nay shows up; the weeks (months, years) it takes for an acceptance and contract to arrive, another 120 days for the check to show, and the additional months or sometimes years before the publication hits the shelves.
In a world so driven by tight, time-sensitive deadlines as publishing is, it is a paradox that the process
But, speaking of paradoxes, it is worth considering that the waiting is part of why we love it so much. That sounds nuts, but bear with me. What I mean is that the process—writing, editing, revising, querying, submitting, reviewing, writing, editing and revising some more—invigorates us. That slow progress from a blank page to seeing our byline in print holds us in thrall. Slow also equates to the time and effort spent by writers and editors to ensure quality for readers. It means careful consideration of our work by editors and agents, even when they respond with a no. Slow means this business of writing and publishing isn’t for everyone who likes to write, the same way marathons aren’t for everyone who likes to run.
Publishing moves at the speed of slight. But that’s okay as long as we’re in it for the long haul.
What is your experience with publishing? Slow, fast, or you’re so busy writing you don’t pay attention to how long it takes for things to happen? What is the longest amount of time you’ve waited to hear back on a submission? (I’ve sent some that will float around without a response forever.) What is the shortest amount of time? (I have twice received contracts within hours of my submission — oh, how I wish this was SOP!) Does writing teach you to be patient or does it drive you crazy? Or both?
See you next week for more of the naked truth.
Enjoy your week, Buttercup!