It pays to take your time with publishing
Sep 02, 2014
One of the best things I can tell writers hoping to publish their books is to take their time. Many authors have spent years working on the book, and then when they decide to publish it, they want to rush everything because they feel friends and family are clamoring for the book to be released.
Publishing a book, no matter how you go about it, is a big move and an intense process. We often compare it to giving birth to, and raising, a child. Decisions and steps in the process should not be rushed. Once the book has been released you can’t take things back. If the book has errors, if you’re unhappy with the cover, if you don’t like the publishing company you decided to work with, that first impression has already been made, and in some ways, it’s too late.
Here are some specific areas where you should take your time:
Choosing a publishing company
Many authors rush and choose the first company they find on Google, or they hear about a friend (or a friend of a friend) using so-and-so company, and they jump right in with that company, without doing any research. Ask lots of questions, ask to see a copy of their contract, study their terms and conditions. Ask to speak to other writers who have worked with them, check their BBB score. Do all the homework you possibly can before choosing them. So many authors who come to us had a bad experience with another company and now effectively need to start the publishing process over, costing not only precious time, but of course money.
So many writers want to rush through the editorial process, or even skip editorial altogether, just to keep to their desired timeline. Unfortunately, this is very common. Other than marketing, editorial is the most important step in the publishing process. It’s also very time consuming, and for good reason—to make your book the best it can be. If editorial is rushed or skipped altogether, you’re releasing a book that has errors and therefore will not be well received by reviewers, bookstore buyers, or the public. You won’t get a second chance with them even if you have the book edited later and release a second edition. The impression has already been made.
Setting a release date
Never, ever set a release date for your book without first working out a timeline with your publishing company. So many authors set a release date before they’ve even selected what publisher to work with, and then they want to rush the publisher to make an unrealistic date. Every book is different, and each step in the process can take a varying amount of time depending on the book length, genre, etc. Wait until all editorial is complete on the book before setting a release date so you aren’t disappointed and have to reschedule if things are not moving as fast as you’d hoped.
Don’t give up too fast. Many authors are disappointed to see slow sales after the book has been released. But sales are usually slow in the beginning. It takes time, as much as 18 to 24 months, for an author who isn’t a celebrity to build buzz and demand for his/her book. This causes many authors to give up on marketing the book. You must continue to market just as aggressively as when the book first came out, whether it’s a few months later, or even a year or more later. If you keep it up, you will see results.
Remember, you’re publishing a book with your name on it, and when it is released, you want to be confident that you didn’t rush the process, and that every step was taken with care and precision.