Time is Money

In my spare time, what little I have of it, I occasionally pick up my 2009 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market book and search for potential buyers for my series The Price of Innocence. Why? I guess it’s a vain attempt to convince myself the grass is greener on the other side of the fence and I’m worthy in the eyes of my traditional published peers who raise their brow over my “vanity.”   (I think I need counseling – LOL).

It took me 18 months to write my first fiction work. I contribute that lengthy time to my agonizing over the story, research, writing, and editing of my debut novel. Of course, that included a period of self-doubt, loss of interest, writer’s block, and trepidation. When I finally finished and sent it to Xlibris, one month later it was available for purchase.

For self-affirmation (as if my great five-star reviews on Barnes & Noble are not enough right now), I occasionally look for a place to send it off to a traditional publisher to pick up the three-book series. If you’re going to dream big, you might as well dream big. However, I’m appalled at the information I find in the Writer’s Market as to time lines for reviews.

• Response to query – 1 to 4 months
• Response to manuscripts – 3 to 8 months
• Published book after acceptance of manuscript – 6 to 18 months

Even today, if by some odd chance I received a contract, I wouldn’t see my book in print or on the shelf of a bookstore for another 18 months or longer. I’ll be a victim of corporate “budgets.” In the meantime while I’m waiting for release, I’ll will not make one dime.

However, today, my book has been released, and it was my “budget” that put it out there a heck of a lot quicker than a traditional publisher. I’m getting quarterly checks from sales now – not two to three years in the future.  Even if I received an advance, only the good Lord knows how long I would have to wait to receive another royalty check (paying me a less than what I make now).

Someone tell me the sense in this logic, please! I still don’t see it. All I can say, if a traditional publisher does like my work and they shove a contract under my nose, I’m going to negotiate that I not be required to pull my book from the market for 18 months waiting to be re-publish under their name. What a fool I’d be! I guess my current real-life career as a paralegal with a title of “Contract Specialist” will pay off! (I don’t need an agent to understand legal contract language.)

Well, enough ranting. My next royalty check should be coming in a few weeks, while possible traditional publishing houses fiddle around with my manuscript.

  • Vicki, congratulations on getting your book into print. The cover looks gorgeous from the thumbnails. I think it’s admirable when authors take their fate into their own hands, as you have. It takes guts, even when self-publishing is becoming more common. Good luck with getting lots of those “royalty” checks!

  • “I’m getting quarterly checks from sales now…”

    That’s outstanding! And, well, I guess while there’s no real logic in the process itself (the time it takes for a book to make it to a shelf), the logic in wanting to have a traditional publisher comes when the self-publisher (as most will) realizes they’re NOT getting quarterly checks, either because they’re not great at marketing, or because their book just isn’t one that will immediately attract a large number of readers.

  • Linda Reed Gardner

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I hope to hear more about your experience w/ SP. I see that your book has been out about a year, & has gotten excellent reviews. Perhaps you would tell us more about how you are marketing the book, and what, if anything, you might do differently the next time out. I have thought for several years that new writers can hardly do worse by SP. One look at the bestsellers lists says it all. Unless you have a really unique idea, as in Jurassic Park, or perhaps, even, The Help, the chances of getting in right now are about zip. The BS lists are jammed top to bottom with the older rainmakers (Steele, Roberts, Grisham, King, who were smart enough to get in before the big lockdown. Former readers are also simply moving to newer forms of entertainment en masse. I don’t see any return to a large reading audience, apart from teen and preteen girls, who still have the time and money to read the very interesting fantasy genre created with them in mind. I find many of these books to be well-written and very engaging, apart from the ton of dreck alongside, and fear that some of the best new writing is now aimed at the YA market. Nothing wrong with this, but it makes me a little sad that kids are now the focus of the best of the new writers. That says it all, I suppose. While one may argue about the quality of the writing in the Twilight series, one hardly knows what to think about the huge number of adult women who claim to have lost themselves lost themselves in the syrup of preteen angst and the hopelessly passive and inept heroine of the series. I suppose being endlessly acted upon by teen-aged boys was indeed every woman’s first experience of romance. Or something. It is perfectly clear that the author has come up with a plot that touches the third rail in millions of female readers. Good going, Meyers.
    Best of luck to you. I look forward to reading your novel.