Monday, July 11, 2011

Writers and Publishers

While writers and publishers share the same fundamental objectives of getting books out there for people to buy and read, there are also fundamental differences in perspective. The writer's primary interest is himself/herself. The publisher must juggle tens or dozens or more writers at the same time, and therefore has of necessity a different set of priorities...which often leads to frustration on both sides.

For myself, I freely admit to a notable lack of patience. When I finish a book and send it in, I fully expect the publisher to move it to the top of the list. After all, it's my book and I want to get it out to be read as soon as possible. I tell myself that this is not totally selfish, and that the sooner the book gets out, the sooner the publisher can start raking in the money (uh-huh), and the publisher makes considerably more on every sale than the writer.

So I tend to be something of a gnat buzzing around the publisher's head. Hey, I know he/she is busy, and that things tend to get lost in the shuffle, or put off to one side. But while I realize that all those other writers demand attention, let's be brutally honest: I'm the only one I'm concerned about. I know, the publisher cannot spend a lot of time writing to me every couple of days to let me know the status of the manuscript, but that doesn't keep me from wanting it.

I'm fully aware that there are many things beyond the publisher's control which affect how swiftly a book can move through the pipeline.

The publisher of the first ten books in the Dick Hardesty series is in the process of going out of business, and the plan is to shift all of books from the former to the current publisher for reissue. The first of these is The Bar Watcher, book #3 of the series. Its stock was depleted about a year or more ago and it is has been effectively out of print since that time. My current publisher is in the process of reissue but, because new books waiting for publication take precedence over reissues, it has been consistently moved back in the schedule. I can understand this on a rational level, but not an emotional one.

So I drop notes to my current publisher about once a week asking for the current status, or asking to be at least given some sort of time-line. Unfortunately, time-lines are apparently nearly impossible to establish and follow through on. Again, the publisher has far, far more patience than I and has been very good in trying--unfortunately unsuccessfully--to calm me down.

I know that the big-boy publishers, the old-school New York giants who have neither knowledge of nor interest in my existence, normally take two years or more between the time a manuscript is submitted and the time it is published.

So I know I've been spoiled...I'm used to having a book out within 6-8 months of submitting the manuscript. I am truly grateful to both my former and current publishers. But that does not, alas, lessen my impatience or frustration.

At the bottom of all this is my perceived relationship with my readers and potential readers...which is to say with you, who are one or the other. I perhaps naively believe that they/you might really look forward to re-entering the worlds I have created for you, and to the continuing growth, development, and adventures of my characters.

So I thank my publisher for making my books available. I just wish there were little less space between the time I finish writing them and the time you read them.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please come back. And please take a moment to check out for information on Dorien's "Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs."

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