Thursday, January 31, 2008

Nail this to your monitor

Update: article link added
Rachel Donadio’s essay in next Sunday’s New York Times Book Review, “Waiting for It,” is something every expectant author should read. It lays out the timeline from when your agent calls you with the good news to when you can finally crack open the champagne. Self-publishing authors should read it, too. Because if Simon & Schuster can’t figure out how to publish a book successfully in less than a year and a half, the odds are you can’t either.

Sure, I can produce a book for you in six months or less—starting with your unedited manuscript and ending with printed books. But producing a book is only the tail of the publishing bulldog. If you want to see your book in bookstores, you need to plan for a much longer process.

This timeline doesn’t apply to all books, of course. If you are a speaker with a back-of-the-room book or if you are marketing the book some other way that doesn’t involve bookstores, you can compress the schedule quite a bit. Nonetheless, Donadio’s essay will give you perspective on your odds of success.

Timing isn’t everything, but it’s a major factor in whether your book ever makes you a dime.

Pick up a copy of Sunday’s Times and read the essay. Or click the link above (requires site registration before the cover date; should work without registration afterwards).

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