Vicki's Book News and Articles

Business: Publishing Delays

Written by Vicki Hinze

On December 28, 2010

Vicki Hinze © 2000-2011

Vicki Hinze © 2001

I was just notified that the publication date for my book has been “delayed” due to the war. It hasn’t yet been rescheduled, and I’ve been waiting an unusually long time for the go-ahead on my proposal for my next book. It feels as if I’m being shut out by my publisher. Is that what you make of this?

No, not at all. Listen, right now New York City–the heart of the publishing industry–is in crisis. They’ve just suffered the worst attack against civilians in the history of this country. The latest poll I’ve seen states that 45% of the people there have still not returned to their normal activities. Most of the editors I’ve spoken with in the last two weeks are still not back to normal. Remember, they are human, too. They need time to heal, just like everyone else, and time to find their new normal. So don’t take the “unusually long time” for approval on your next book personally. It’s not. Most of the authors I know, who had proposal submitted, are waiting for approval. With time, this will sort out.

Redirect the energy you are feeding your doubt about the approval to the work. Keep writing. If you can’t make yourself work on the book without approval–in which case, in my humble opinion, why start writing that book?–then work on the book you plan to write after it. Or work on another project. Regardless of what you work on, the healthiest thing you can do for yourself is to work. Writers who aren’t writing are typically not happy or harmonious. You need harmony right now. You too are healing.

As for the book being rescheduled, understand that this delay is likely a blessing for which you should feel gratitude. Right now, fiction sales are down. From what I’ve seen, that’s across the board. Nonfiction sales about political interests, terrorists, and Bin Laden are up. So unless your book is nonfiction and on one of those topics, delaying the release until conditions for sales are more favorable is a good thing.

The last thing an author needs to add to the “worry” list is a lousy sell-through. That creates challenges that make selling your next book difficult–to the publisher, and for the publisher, to the booksellers. So while you’ve taken this publication delay as a worry, it’s more likely that it’s your publisher doing everything possible to protect your book–and its interests in your book–which protects your interests in the book and in your career.

It’s a reasonable assumption that the book hasn’t yet been rescheduled because the publisher isn’t yet able to gauge when conditions will be favorable for the book, indicating when it is most apt to have a positive reception in the market. There’s a lot going on right now–everyone is reeling–and we need to wait for the dust to settle to see the lay of the land in our new normal. So be patient and keep the faith. Things will settle down and we all, including publishers, will find our new normal.

My best advice: Don’t let fear and doubt drive you crazy on this. Just relax and keep working on stories that really matter to you. Ones you feel compelled to write. Those are most often universal and will transcend this crisis and any others.*


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