[Hidden-tech] Life Cycle of a Book

sammyland at comcast.net sammyland at comcast.net
Wed Feb 27 16:39:44 EST 2013


Biggest difference will be fiction vs non-fiction, as fiction is usually written prior to contract and non-fiction is contracted and then written. 

My only experience is with non-fiction, so assuming you have a day job as well, here's a realistic timeline: 

Your proposal to agent - 3 weeks active time preparing 
Agent's pitch to publishers - 3 months minimum 
Publisher commitment ( time to draft contract and sign) - 1 month + 
Time to write book - 9 months +/- depending on research needed 
Editing, production, etc - 6 months (minimum, assuming 2 levels of editing, and overseas printing ) 
Lead time from production to book actually arriving in stores - 1- 2 months (this depends on seasonality or not, etc.) 
Total time from start of proposal to book in stores - 18 months to 2 years 

Books are generally produced to arrive in the stores either spring (minor season) or fall (major season). 
Often it can be best to be a spring book so as to not compete with the major writers. 

Publicity is planned during production, but doesn't start until the book is in the stores. You don't advertise something that people can't purchase. (unless you are a Clinton or Steven King, etc and need to create buzz). 

The above timeline would likely be shorter for fiction, but not as much as you might think, as books are like movies and music - they are planned out in advance and not left to happenstance. Books are driven mostly by the marketing dept of the publishing house and if they don't think it will sell , then it doesn't matter how much your editor likes your work, it will not be contracted for. Hence the increase in self-publishing, for writing, music, and video - you trade off guaranteed sales for the hopes of more control over when and how your work is produced. This may be good or bad. 

Many fiction books are basically re-written during the editing period - that's the beauty of a good editor. Many fiction writers now hire an editor privately before the book goes to the publisher's editor, to work out basic kinks and to have a more polished presentation - this may add several months or more during the early phase of the transition from idea to the presentation to an agent or publisher. 

If you work with a main-line publisher, these days many authors choose a small advance and higher royalties - overall this is usually better (and less stressful) and you will rarely be asked to pay back your advance. (and don't spend your advance until you have earned it back - that's why it is called an advance) 

Electronic rights are complicated and should be a major segment of the contract. Your agent will help you with this aspect, as it is quicksand. 

Just in case lightning strikes, if the book is fiction be sure there is at least an outline of a movie rights clause, you never know! 

The contract will stipulate the chronology of the book and e-book production - this timing will vary tremendously depending on the type of book. 

This is all changing now, so don't assume anything to be true for very long. Publishing is in transition, but it is not dying at all. 

Hopefully someone in the group has experience with fiction ... 

Hope this helps, 

Robert Heiss 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Afranio Torres" <webal at hotmail.com> 
To: hidden-discuss at lists.hidden-tech.net 
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 7:01:07 AM 
Subject: [Hidden-tech] Life Cycle of a Book 

** Be sure to fill out the survey/skills inventory in the member's area. 
** If you did, we all thank you. 

Hi There !! 

I was hoping if someone could help me out with my final project. I need to find out about the life cycle of a book when the writer writes it until the final distribution. I need just average numbers like it takes 3 months from start to finish, 1 week of editing, 2 months of publicity..... I am using the Publishing TrendSetter website and their picture to help me out. The more details the better. With famous books do they put the online version first or physical at the same time as e-books ? If you could suggest a website that contains more information, I would really appreciated that. 

Thanks in advance, 
Afranio Torres 
Hidden-discuss mailing list - home page: http://www.hidden-tech.net 
Hidden-discuss at lists.hidden-tech.net 

You are receiving this because you are on the Hidden-Tech Discussion list. 
If you would like to change your list preferences, Go to the Members 
page on the Hidden Tech Web site. 
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.hidden-tech.net/pipermail/hidden-discuss/attachments/20130227/f734900c/attachment.html 


More information about the Hidden-discuss mailing list