Traditional Publishing takes time!!!


Firstly, this isn’t to bash Traditional publishing at all. There’s pros and cons to both traditional and self publishing and I think each has their own place and works for different people, etc.

I was just surprised today to find out how LONG traditional publishing can really take. People have mentioned it before, so I knew but it didn’t really hit me until today. Perhaps this is an extreme example but…

I follow a writer on YouTube who started their channel after they got their first book deal (really great channel, talks a lot about what traditional publishing looks like, transparent about money and contracts, etc.) They were contracted for two stories and have been finished the second round of edits for the second book for two months now I believe. They did their cover reveal today (I thought it was really gorgeous, they knew about the cover in October but can share it now it’s going in the publishers catalog). So I was really excited for them! But even with all this stuff done, the book doesn’t come out until February 2020. That’s over a year away! I’ve wanted to read this book because I’ve been following the author through her YouTube channel and would like to see how it all turned out, you know? I thought I’d be waiting, but until like Fall of 2019. Not 14 months from now, especially since if seems almost finished at this point.

Anyway, was just a really big eye opener to me and made me wonder. I would think such long waits for a book would hurt sales if people start forgetting about a book they were interested in. If one wants to be a hybrid author, should you be releasing any self-published books while waiting for your traditional book to come out? Can you?


It’s not uncommon for books to take 12-18 months after the contract is signed (which can take months!) to be released. Some move a little faster. Part of the reason it’s so slow is NOT that it takes that long to produce the book, but that it has to be placed in the roll out schedule of the company as a whole. Also there’s a ton of work related to prepping for launch that goes into the last six months.

As for self publishing during that time… it depends on your contract. You have to be very careful about the non-compete clause. Some will keep you from publishing ANYTHING in the months before and after. Those are horrible clauses, and they need to be either carefully negotiated OR, better yet, struck entirely.


LOL, it took my book longer to get published than to actually write.


Yip. You need patient to take the trad road. A few years ago I got a project through the open call of Strange Chemistry (the YA imprint of Angry Robot) and all the way to the acquisitions committee (and wee brag, mine was the ONLY manuscript out of about 700 in that intake that they were going to make an offer on). That process alone took nearly 2 years. Then in conversation with the acquisitions editor she said I would be waiting another 2 years for a publication date as all the available dates were taken for existing authors and series and 2 years out was the next open date for a debut. Then before I got the official offer, Angry Robot announced they were shutting down Strange Chemistry and I was back to square one with that manuscript :frowning:


It’s crazy to think this is how long this stuff takes, but also that they’re still able to jump on trends in publishing.


For those teens who ask if they’re too young to publish. The process takes so long that if you’re old, you might die before your book is in a bookstore. LOL

I think it was @AlecHutson who got a request from an agent a couple of weeks after he self-published. It took so long he had given up on her. I once got a rejection letter from an agent almost a year after I queried her.


I got a full request from an agent in December 2012. I’m still waiting to hear back from him and I nudged him twice during 2013 (once at the 6 month mark and again after a year). Do you think I can close it out as a reject or should I wait a little longer…? lol


Yes. I sent off a handful of queries in February / March 2016 when I was still considering self or trad. Mid-July got a response from one of the top fantasy agencies that they wanted a partial. No response after that. In August I decided after a lot of research that self-publishing would be the way of the future and started preparing my book. Published in December 2016. In January 2017 finally heard from that agent that he loved my partial and wanted the full. About 11 months to move from initial query-full request.


I honestly think self-publishing really is only going to grow. Even younger audiences I think will be buying more books online then before. Amazon gift cards, for example, are a thing now, and it eliminates that need for a credit card. Book stores are disappearing and branching out. The chapters around here all have home decor and toy sections.

I am SO curious to see what happens with the YA circuit. As the readers get older, will they really leave YA behind, or could we see YA titles getting more sales online then before? I guess YA has started moving to NA for the ageing audience, but then, recent titles are also starting to blur the lines between YA and NA. Sarah J Maas titles are widely marketed as YA but they have content more in line with NA, like graphic sex scenes.

I could be wrong, but I think what we consider “YA” fiction is really something more than “teen MC stories for teens” nowadays. It’s like, even if they’re a fantasy, they don’t fit the fantasy shelf, but don’t fit YA. Curious, do bookstores in other countries outside canada have like a NA section?


Trends are determined partly by which books get published. And who decides that? Sometimes a publisher can make a good guess that a particular book will be a big hit far enough in advance of publication that other publishers can find something similar that they can release at about the same time. (For instance, if the writer got a big advance, the publisher will put a lot of money into marketing, so the book stands a good chance of being successful.)

If a third publisher sees the second publisher announce a book that’s similar to another book, they might think they should have something to compete with it. And suddenly you’ve got a trend.


For my first trad published work out took about a year from offer to able to buy. There were multiple tons of edits, changing this scene or that one, going through the different covers, working the blurb. It’s a lot of work but it’s so worth it.


Hi, all! So glad to find this thread. I’m a traditionally published author with a big 5 company who is dabbling on WP under a pseudonym. Nice to meet you all! I have four books on shelves via the traditional route so I’m happy to answer any questions I can :slight_smile:


How much marketing did they do and what was it?


My pen pal just got signed herself recently, but her book will not be coming out until 2020.

So the wait period is going to be a killer.


My publisher was decent with marketing. They submitted to all the standard trade reviews for me, like Kirkus, SLJ, etc. and also engaged on a full hour marketing call where we went over the plans for my release and how they’d be willing to help. I had a very full ARC tour and they provided plenty of copies to reviewers on my behalf, as well as sending me some sweet tabletop marketing materials. Overall, for a big 5, I thought they were very attentive and supportive. My experience was good.


That’s pretty standard marketing for a big-five publisher when releasing a book with an average release. It isn’t, however, enough to move the needle. This just goes to show that the real work for building an audience is going to fall on the author regardless of whether they are self or traditionally published. Even when the publisher provides much more marketing, it’s short-lived and new titles come out every week that place demands on marketing departments that are highly understaffed.


That was an agent from donald mass yeah? Still my dream agency but… also not something I think is within my grasp hehe. It DOES take friggin forever to hear from agents. Im kinda shocked when I hear stories of people getting fast responses. Th agents who have been interested have taken 4-6 months respectively for responses both positive and negative. Its playing the long game. Just not yet ready to throw in the towel


Yeah, it was a Donald Maas agent


I tried one donald mass agent. No response. I might try another? But idk, i read the bios and im not sure who i fit. Very sad i waited on trying jabberwocky ( another dream agency). The agent i really wanted to try is currently closed the queires :-/


I’m represented by Joshua Bilmes at Jabberwocky.