Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Week After Christmas

So many people are on vacation.  It's kind of a by-week, isn't it?  Nothing happens.

The way traditional publishing works is that nothing happens in December, because they're all doing Christmas parties.  Certainly nothing happens this week because they're on vacation.  Then they show up.  The same goes for Summer except more so.

I'll tell you what happened to me with a book that didn't happen for me.  I had an agent who is with a top boutique agency.  I knew an authority in a certain field (okay stretching, call it a "field") and we all thought there could be a book there.  Nonfic.  So I moved in with this person to get the book done pronto.  The contract was signed.  Okay great, I thought.  Now we have 3 months of summer  to focus on the book and soon enough I can move to California.  But this authority wouldn't start work until receiving part of the quite substantial advance.  So I begged for 3 months.  Please work because that's how it is in publishing.  You sign the contract and start the book.  Nothing doing.  I go to the agent.  I go to the editor.  I'm begging.  Pay This Person so I can get them to concentrate on the book.  Meanwhile tick-tock, the book is due Dec. 6 I think it was.  360 pages.  I'm getting no help but all the tape recordings this person had ever made were dumped on me while they continued to work at their "day job".  The contract went from one desk to another.  Each time it landed, that person was on vacation.  For 3 months.  Finally in September--this is one of the Big Six publishers,  not Warm Cookies and Milk Ink in Clearwater Kansas--everyone is back in the office.  By now I'm in a panic.  Having written a number of books I'm thinking this is getting to be not humanly possible time-wise.  I'm begging, please pay this person!  Finally at the end of September the check arrives.  I breathe a sigh of relief.  It's going to be very hard but it can be done.  The authority then goes to Greece for 2 weeks because the process thus far has been so stressful.  I take this person aside and say "You can't do this.  The book can't be done in 6 weeks."  And I get yelled at.  "Why are you so negative?"  The agent is mad at me.  The editor is mad at me.  Of course the book cannot get done in 6 weeks because the authority used all the money to party in Greece and has to stay with this "day job".  I was fired.

What's the moral of this story?  Digital.  Amazon isn't going on vacation.  I'm not on vacation  I'm still going to get my novella done very soon.  I don't have to wait and I don't have to tolerate being abused.  What's the downside.  There isn't one.

Let me wish traditional publishing a happy and fulfilling 2012.  And if they're still here for 2013, I'll repeat myself.

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