If you’re a writer, you might be used to your family and friends asking certain questions about the publishing process. Questions like, “Is your book out yet?” and “Why don’t you just send it to the publisher?” Generally, these questions aren’t intended to frustrate you or make you grit your teeth as you reply, “It takes a while.” Most people don’t know much about the writing or publishing process, and all they can base their assumptions on is what they see in movies.
YA Highway has a pretty great take-down of TV/Movie Publishing vs. Real Publishing, such as:
“1. Books Are Published Over Night
I noticed this one most recently on Gossip Girl when Dan, one of the main characters, ended up with a book deal. The means by which he got that deal were one thing – totally unrealistic is an understatement – but even more ridiculous was the timing. The book was published just two or three months later. In reality, books usually take closer to a year or even two to publish after being sold.”
I would say that books usually take closer to two or there years to publish after being sold. There’s stuff to do, guys! Editorial! Marketing! Sales! It takes times!
Another I’d add would be that in movies/on TV, the first draft of anything is pretty much perfect. You write your novel, submit it to your editor, and you’re good to go. In real life, the revision/editorial process takes a lot of time.
Also, a lot of the time I see people in publishing depicted as cold and only caring about the bottom line. Even though publishers obviously have to care about sales, the majority of people I’ve met in publishing have been people who actively care about books. They got into the job because they love books, not to make a ton of money. For the most part, everyone is hardworking and encouraging and thoughtful. It’s a great industry, really!
Make sure to check out the whole list. It’s especially helpful if you’re at home for Thanksgiving and need an explanation for why people can’t buy your book at Barnes and Noble yet.