Commercial Publishing: How Brief the Joy!
How long does it take an author to write a book? The answer varies from author to author. Some authors can take years to research the facts behind their stories. Others take years to write and polish their books.
After the book is as close to perfection as possible, it can take another year or longer to find an agent, and even more time for the agent to find the right publisher.
At last, a contract with a Big Publisher! Time to celebrate!
Bring out the fireworks! What happens then? It can take 12 to 16 months to get on the shelves of a bookstore.
W. Terry Whalin says in an article "What Happens Inside a Publisher, After I Sign the Contract?". Our last post told a little of what goes on in the interim between contract and the appearance of the book in bookstores.
So the clock ticks away the seconds, minutes, hours, and months until the book is ready. And then... heart palpitations and sweaty palms... the release date is here! It has taken years of work, possibly more years of rejection slips and disappointments, but it was all worth it. Now, at last, the masterpiece is hitting the shelves of brick and mortar stores all across the country. No, let's amend that...all around the world. Dreams appear of a whirlwind book tour, exhilerating book talks, maybe even television appearances. All that's left is the walk to the bank with the well-deserved royalty checks.
Fast forward two or three months...
If your book hasn't made the New York Times best seller list and is taking up valuable shelf space in the bookstore, it soon gets relegated to the dreaded $5 and under racks to make room for New Arrivals.
Look closely at the books in these pictures: Clive Cussler, Michael Crichton, Steig Larsson… Yes, even those famous authors get reduced to the $5 and under racks.