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Ever want to peek behind the publishing curtain? I do! I love learning what happens behind the scenes. Good for us that S. Jae-Jones (called JJ) at PubCrawl gives us the scoop on why traditional publishing takes so darn long. Another point in favor for Indie publishing?
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Recently I announced that the publication date of Wintersong has been moved from Fall 2016 to Winter 2017, and I had a lot of questions asking why it would take so long for the book to come out when it was already finished and edited?
Ah, my friend. Sit back and listen, because we are going to be discussing this interesting phenomenon called publishing time.
In the PubCrawl Podcast, Kelly and I have discussed submissions and acquisitions, sales conference, and touched briefly on the concept of launch. Traditional publishing is generally scheduled about one year in advance, so if your book gets acquired in 2016, it may not be published until 2017 or even 2018.
Why is that? Well, most publishing houses operate on a schedule of “seasons”: periods of 3-4 months that comprise a catalog. For example, at my publisher, the seasons are as follows:
- Winter (January through April)
- Spring/Summer (May through August)
- Fall (September through December)
Each season has a schedule of when things need to be submitted or finalized: launch, catalog, sales conference, etc. While acquisitions and editing may happen at any time during the year, the actual publishing part of publishing happens at set times. For example, for books to be published in Fall 2017, the schedule may look something like this:
- November 2016: Launch (introducing your book to the sales and marketing force)
- January 2017: Catalog (getting information about your book online for booksellers, librarians, et al to take notice)
- March 2017: Sales Conference (when the people selling your book into their accounts start pitching to their buyers and getting a feel for how many copies of your book Barnes & Noble, Amazon, indies, etc. will be taking)
If your book is to be published September 2017, then why all that time between sales conference and publication date? This is so your marketing and publicity team have time to start building buzz about your book to the consumer: sending your book out for reviews at all the trade publications, big magazines, newspapers, etc. or buying ad space or social media or what-have-you. By the time your book comes out, hopefully enough people will have heard about your book to seek it out on release day.
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