Friday, May 31, 2013

Git 'er Submitted!

In the publishing world, that's the logical followup to "git 'er done."

As e-publishers become ever more flooded with submissions, the amount of time between submission and acceptance, and acceptance and publication, keeps stretching. And stretching. How might these facts -- the glut and the resulting lag times -- be affecting writers?

I'm starting to feel increasingly desperate to turn in a piece before it meets my standards, just to get a place card in a publication queue. Other writers probably feel the same way. Quick, get it in, just get this baby in so it won't be published next fucking year . . . or the year after! 

The early days of e-publishing spoiled me. Acceptance of a manuscript often came within days, and publication, within two or three months. There were far fewer authors, too, and self-publishing was virtually nonexistent.

Now, though, there seems to be a panicked approach to authorship. Git 'er done! Git 'er in! Git on to the next one! Hustle, hustle, HUSTLE! 

The current realities of publishing have been preying on my mind. I sank hours into finessing Merman (due out this summer) after I signed the contract. This is ass-backwards for me. Fortunately, incorporating changes into the manuscript hasn't been a big deal. It wasn't as if the text was mess when I turned it in, but it wasn't the best it could be, either. I couldn't rest easy until I did more sculpting and polishing.

How many writers, I wonder, might be falling into the "git 'er done and git 'er in" mindset and NOT bothering with any further self-editing? How many rely solely on their editors to make their work presentable? I've read/tried to read a number of books lately that seemed to have been submitted before their time and then promptly forgotten about as the authors likely rushed headlong into new projects. Hurry, hurry! Publish or perish! 

The new publishing timeframe, a result of the increasing spate of new writers, might not be an issue for authors who either a.) don't depend on their royalties as a significant part of their income, or b.) don't have egos that continually need to be fed. But too many of us do depend on royalties or do have voracious egos that thrive on constant attention from the reading public.

It's a shame that speed now seems to be the name of the writing game. A frantic effort is rarely a careful one.


Tam said...

I would think, eventually, this will even out. It all depends when you start. If you it now takes 8 months instead of 5 months, but you continue to submit in a regular fashion (say you write 5 books/year), after that initial lag of 3 months between what you used to have what you have now, they will come out based on when you submit. If you submit every 3 months, you should have a new release every 3 months (except for that first giant gap where you got on the schedule).

Did that make sense? Writing faster will only mean that the releases are closer together, it doesn't make your very first submission in the line come out any faster. Did that make any sense at all? LOL

K. Z. Snow said...

Yeah, I think it makes sense. :) What it all comes down to, ultimately, is rapid, nonstop production.

I'm really starting to suck at that.

Clare London said...

This is a good point, though probably the same as it's always been in mainstream publishing - it's just that we've been spoiled in earlier days of e-publishing. It's the change of pace that's startled us :(.

It was clear to me early on that, although I often need a deadline to kick my writing in the *** to get started, I can't commit to a schedule of releases. I'm not prolific enough, nor is my writing time reliable.

It seems to me (simplistically, admittedly) the world has 2 paths of choice for publication - the dabble-one like mine (!), and the scheduled-one that other full-time authors take.

I wonder how the publishers see it? Whether they see an increase in rushed/under-edited MSs that need a lot more work before submission? It's probably just shifting the work to a different stage of the process, as per your example.

Intriguing thoughts! :)

K. Z. Snow said...

Hiya, Clare!

I have to echo everything you say, especially "It's the change of pace that's startled us." I saw it coming -- how could one not? -- but it's still left me reeling.

I think what (most) publishers see is a submissions bonanza: books, books, and more books! They probably pick the mss. that seem "most" ready and take it from there. How far they take it of course differs vastly from company to company.

(BTW, the UK meet is really shaping up, eh? It sounds so exciting. Damn, I wish I could go! Like last year, y'all seem to have done a great job of organizing.)

Clare London said...

Yes, the Meet has really grown *ulp* :). I'm excited and nervous at the same time! maybe one day you'll get over for it *hugs*

K. Z. Snow said...

Now I'm yearning to go! I love GB and would be thrilled to meet fellow authors. Maybe a sugar daddy or fairy godmother or guardian angel will appear with a ticket for a Transatlantic cruise ship clutched in his/her/its fist. :)

Andrea Minier said...

As a reader, I get very frustrated with two things.

First I feel like books have been shortened, either because of what you've pointed out in your post of because publishers have set a word count. All recent books seem to fit into the 200 page bracket and this can't be coincidence.

Second is when I read on an author's site that a book has been submitted and I wait and wait.....and wait longer. It's horrible to look forward to something so very much and by the time it finally comes out I've forgotten about it.

K. Z. Snow said...

I doubt that any publisher sets a word-count limit on books, Andrea, but there are a couple of other explanations for what you've been noticing.

First, the more stories an author feels driven to produce, the shorter they'll likely be. Second, most writers have a natural "comfort zone" when it comes to length.

I certainly can sympathize with your frustration over waiting for releases. The most prolific and popular authors can more or less set their own release schedules, but most of us just have to get in line. We don't have much control over when our books come out.