Friday, June 26, 2009

Writing Journey: Part XIX

I had gotten into a rhythm of turning in manuscripts mid-December and having the book released the next September. I turned in Tower with the same time frame: I submitted it December 2007 and assumed, should it be accepted (with it being the fourth in the series, I had faith it would be), that I'd see it on shelves fall 2008.

A good friend and I shared the same publishing time frame for several years; we often swapped manuscripts each fall to edit one another's work before we both turned in our stuff. Then each fall, we both had our new releases at the same time.

She got her September 2008 release. I didn't. Mine was pushed back to the next "spring," whatever that meant (a window of about three or four months: February through May).

It also meant I wouldn't have a book out in 2008.

For most of my career, I'd worked hard to get that book out every year, and except for the gap between books 1 and 2 (which, if you've read this entire series, you know wasn't because I wasn't working my tail off, but because LWY had an unusually quick push through the pipeline), I'd done it:

Lost Without You: 2002
At the Water's Edge: 2004
House on the Hill: 2005
At the Journey's End: 2006
Spires of Stone: 2007

And then . . . 2008 . . .

At first I was a bit irked, especially when my dear friend got her usual slot. But, then, I couldn't blame her for a marketing decision. The following is purely my conjecture as to why the decisions were made, but here's my guess: her books simply sell more books than mine do. This is a business, and her books are money in the bank for the publisher, much more than mine are.

Fall is the prime release slot, and she's more of a sure thing. Spires didn't have the sales it should have, and in this business, the past predicts the future. That's why I think I lost the slot.

Plus, with the stupid economy the way it is, all publishers are putting out fewer books each month. As a result of that, a lot of books are getting release dates that are farther out. It didn't affect her, but it affected me.

It's complicated. On the other hand, I knew of some writers whose books were being pushed back several times (a few months and then a few more months and then a few more months) or canceled altogether because of the economy.

So I stopped whining. Sure, I didn't get a 2008 release. And yes, by the time Tower of Strength came out, it was almost 2 years old. But at least I still had a book coming out!

One big result of all of this is that I volunteered to be on the Whitney Awards Committee. The rules might be changing soon, but at least for last year, if you were on the committee, you were ineligible for an award.

I was ineligible anyway since I didn't have a book released that year, so I figured I might as well help out. And I'm so glad I did; serving on the Whitneys was a fantastic experience, one I'll never forget.

Moving forward: When it came to the deployment book and its timeline, Kirk gave me serious hope. If I could turn it in by Halloween, he would try to push for a fall 2009 release. It the powers that be went for that, it would mean Tower would come out spring 2009, and the deployment book would come out fall 2009.

I'd have TWO books out in 2009! That would make up for not having a book out in 2008.

How cool would that be! Yes! But I'd have to get it in quick for a shot at that happening.

I worked hard finishing it up. It was truly a joy to work on; I learned to love the women in the story, and I really feel that I learned a lot about women and female friendships in the process. I turned it in, as promised, on Halloween.

And then waited and waited to hear back. Eventually, I did, although it took longer than I expected. But it was accepted, and that was a thing to celebrate. But the timeline?

Let's just say . . . head + wall = lots of banging thereon.


Amber Lynae said...

I love reading your biography. It is entertaining and informative.

Anonymous said...

No! It didn't get pushed back too? You and your fabulous cliffhangers. I always just want to stalk you down and talk your ear off so I can get the full scoop. *Sigh* I guess that whole patience/virtue thing is something I still have to work on...

Loralee and the gang... said...

So no book coming out soon? Wah! This dang economy!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

I have to echo L.T.'s impatience on this one! Past posts I've known (more or less) what the ultimate result was, but this time I have no clue!

Melanie Jacobson said...

I know what happens! And I'll be first in line.

My release date is Spring 2011.


I keep telling myself the same thing: at least I HAVE a book coming out. Grrr...

Heather Moore said...

You have to count your Grammar book as a 2009 release, right? And the Christmas compilation--which I assume will be out before Christmas.

Erin said...

It must be so difficult, having these books you have put your labor, sweat and tears into, only to have them put you off. I don't know if I could handle it!

Lara Neves said...

Darn it! You got my hopes up that I'd be able to read it in a couple months. Oh well. Definitely the fault of the economy and we all hope that turns around quickly.

And I don't think I could hack this emotional roller coaster of getting books accepted/edited/released. Ack. You are a better woman than I am. :) And a better writer, so it's all good!

heather said...

Um. Really? With 18 million people who get a hundred rejection letters before either giving up, or getting a break, you are complaining that your books aren't going to be released on the schedule you wanted them to be?

I don't get it. Is it a money thing? Is it ruining a personal goal you had set for yourself?

heather said...

Oh. Okay. I just read your other comments. It's cause your fans are all disappointed! I get it. :)

Luisa Perkins said...

NO! Not more head-banging! Bummer.

Heffalump said...

I keep thinking that there won't be much more to the story of your writing journey before we are all caught up...and you keep surprising me!

Chas Hathaway said...

Why is it exactly that it takes so long (2 yrs I've heard is average) for a book to get from submission to publication? Is it editing? Do they just have a lot of books to work with at the same time?

I'd love to know.

- Chas

Julie Wright said...

I. Hate. Waiting. Seriously. I hate waiting for my books to come out. I hate waiting for books I want to read to come out. It's all very vexing!

Amanda D said...

I'm with Lara, I couldn't handle the rollercoaster! I can't wait to read your military book.

And, I didn't think it came across that you were complaining. I can't imagine the stress! Good luck!


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