I know how hard it is to wait for publication. I thought my first book would be published posthumously. People still laugh when I tell them this. And you can believe me when I still say this only half-jokingly.
Ten years ago, publishing moved as slowly as a Model T Ford. Five years ago, publishing moved as slowly as a tractor. Today, it’s more like a rickshaw. Publishers have to be cautious as the industry changes. They have to weigh and evaluate books and the market more closely than ever before making decisions. Costly decisions.
This, understandably, frustrates authors. We have lots of emotion and talent invested in our book babies, but simply not the number of dollars a traditional publisher will invest in us. Most of us don’t realize the risk a publisher takes on us.
Agents and editors can see the business side more clearly but still, you can trust my word that the long wait frustrates us, too.
Some authors try to find a solution by creating artificial deadlines for themselves, but this can be a double-edged sword. Allow me to cite some examples:
I will be published by a traditional publisher before:
1.) my next milestone birthday.
This is an admirable goal. However, many authors don’t seem to set this goal until a milestone is about a year away. If so, this goal is unlikely to be attained unless a very unusual set of circumstances occurs. Some of us understand the push of time better than others. But marketing a work that isn’t ready will only waste more time. Sort of like speeding to an appointment, only to be stopped by a police officer, who’ll be sure to dawdle while writing you a citation. Not only will you be late, but you’ll be fined, too. Not worth it. Take the time you need to market your best work, no matter how many candles are on your cake!
2.) the new year.
A new year’s resolution is great but again, probably not realistic. Why not set a new year’s resolution of completing a manuscript instead?
3.) the bills come in for child’s college/wedding/car, etc., next year.
When you have not yet made money from writing, it is not a wise idea to burden your writing with the job of producing income for you in the near future. If your child’s college tuition bill will be due five or ten years from now, perhaps your writing may defray those costs. But unfortunately, even established authors can’t always depend on their books earning a set amount of money to pay ongoing bills. The sooner you realize this, the less unhappy you will be with a writing career from a financial standpoint.
So when choosing to write books for publication, the best deadlines to worry about are those listed in your contract.
What artificial deadlines have you set? How have they helped?
What financial planning tips would you offer writers?