It’s been 2014 since Road to Reckoning came out and people may be wondering, “Hey, whatever happened to that debut author? Where’s his new book? It’s over two years since his first. Who are you talking about? Where’s my burrito?”
But if you think about it I finished that book in 2012. To fit into a publishing schedule books are given a date that can be one or two years from the time it was finished, contracted, edited and proofed. So did you think I just sat on my behind for four years?
I’ve written three books for publishers in that time. And yet, here we are mid 2016 and none of them have come out. Why? It’s that scheduling again and also the crazy world of publishing. See what I didn’t realise is that publishing is quite a fluid career path for editors and directors. They move on, leave (even die) and when that happens a lot of bumpy things also happen that affect the writer as well.
Like many creative industries when someone leaves for a role in a competitor they get a period of time before they start their next position where they don’t do anything in that industry; for competition reasons, maybe poach their favourite authors/editors, take manuscripts they’ve been looking at with them and so on. So let’s say they get three months between jobs, guess what also happens? Your book stays right where it is for those three months. All the books they were working on get pushed back for the next person to deal with, and another publishing schedule, and don’t forget new books from other authors are also hitting their desk, contracts stipulating publishing dates looming from the backlog of books already on the cards and we go on and on.
So I have a new date for Jan 2017 for the first of these books, now called The Draughtsman, which is set in Germany at the end of WW2, but because that book was due to be published in 2016 my others have also been put back so in theory a book I finished in Jan this year may not see the light of day until 2019.
All of this is very disheartening, mainly as it means I haven’t had a book published for three years despite writing them and kind of leaves the point of gathering a reader-base in the dust. And even though I’m thinking of starting a new book shortly it’s difficult to motivate when it might not come out for four years. And who knows? The people I’m working with now might have all moved on by then.