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Slow publishing and keeping faith

Iain Broome
Iain Broome
1 min read

Rachelle Gardner gives us the irritating truth:

To authors, it seems like publishers (and agents) often take forever to make yes/no decisions on acquiring projects. And that makes it seem like publishing “moves slowly.” But the reason it seems slow is because your project is just one amongst dozens or hundreds on each agent/editor’s desk at any given moment … don’t take the perceived slowness personally.

Writers have a built-in mechanism that, although not medically proven, is widely recognised as preventing us from having any perspective or self-awareness, especially when waiting to hear back from important people about our book. It’s called the ego-gland.

It’s true, the waiting really can be frustrating, but that’s because, generally, writers don’t actually know what publishers do. I mean we know what they do, but not what they’re actually doing right now. Does that make sense?

What I mean is, because the internet is so totally useful, most writers these days are aware of all the ins and outs of the publishing industry. But at the same time, most of us are still not in it. We haven’t seen it first hand. We have no yardstick.

So when we have something on submission, and we don’t hear anything for months on end, the ego-gland kicks in. ‘What on earth are they doing?’ we cry. ‘How long can it possibly take?’ we shout. ‘Could they not even send me an email?’ we whisper softly, alone with our empty inboxes.

The problem is, short of finding out which editor is reading our work, hunting them down and following them to make sure that they are, you know, doing book stuff all day, there isn’t a great deal we can do about it.

Instead, we have to find other things to write and do while we’re waiting. We have to keep faith, control our ego-gland and know that, eventually, all the waiting will, hopefully, be worth it:

… what you’re getting in that longer lead time is an editorial process to help your book shine; professional interior and exterior book design; and obviously your book gets printed and shipped to stores. That all takes time.

Damn it. She’s right.

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I'm the author of the novel, A is for Angelica. Every week, I send Draft Mode, a newsletter full of tips and tools that help you improve your craft and promote your writing.