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Finalizing Your Book Early!

By On Sep 17 2012, 9:00 am

There has been a significant amount of talk lately about the increased pressure on authors to produce more books per year. A NYTimes article earlier this year sparked quite a bit of controversy in the Twitterverse as to regards to what is being asked of authors.

And while there is some truth to the value of being able to publish more than one book a year, I think that writers really need to look at the big picture before they start churning out novels in order to keep up. How much of your perceived notions of what you need to do to make it big are based on the success of outliers? And what are you sacrificing in order to write these novels?

I am not going to get into a philosophical debate about the benefits of writing ten books a year. But I would like to take a look at one part of this discussion that I think is an important part of the equation: having books completed in advance.

Samhain is in the process of switching to a model where books are completed four months in advance of publication. So yes, that may very well mean that if you are contracted for a new title with us right now, your book is not going to be released until mid to late 2013. This might be a difficult pill to swallow for some, but I’d like to posit that the juice is worth the squeeze on this. Here’s why:

  1. With the ever-increasing number of e-publishers and the massive number of self-published books infiltrating the marketplace, the issue of quality is even more essential than ever. You need to allow your editors time to help you craft your book into the best novel it can be. When you are in a race against the clock, mistakes happen. We’ve all seen them in books and cringed.
  2. The number of books out in the world now also means that it is even more difficult for writers (especially new writers) to be noticed. This makes marketing, promotions and reviews even more critical. You need time to promote your books. Reviewers need time to read and review your books. Larger blogs/review sites, such as Publishers Weekly and Library Journal, require ARCs be submitted four months prior to release.
  3. If you are interested in building a brand with a publisher, arranging for books to be completed four months in advance allows for you to write more books at your pace as opposed to at the pace of an author mill. Because in addition to promoting your books in those four months, you can be writing new ones. Win-win! It is still entirely possible to have 2 to 4 releases a year (our personal preference when it comes to building author’s readership) with the four months in advance model.

I hope that authors aren't receiving the message that quantity beats quality. For us, it’s all about the story. It always has been. And we want as many people to fall in love with your story as possible. Which means having a final, fully edited and completed book ready four months prior to release and allowing promotion and marketing and reviews to work the way that they are meant to. 


3 Responses to “Finalizing Your Book Early!”

  1. Sami says:

    Great post Christa. It is very easy to succumb to the perceived pressure to produce fast and often, and I agree with you that this makes quality suffer. Used to be an author only had to produce one single title book or two category length novels per year to be considered prolific, but by today’s standards that’s a slow writer. As a ‘slow’ writer myself, I appreciated the points you made here.

  2. jessy says:

    Good article. Sometimes I read a book and think WOW, how did that get published, when the story was weak and poorly written. I’ve also noticed that some of my favorite authors are churning out books that are also lacking in substance and moving away from their original “true self”
    It’s a new day!

  3. Sandi says:

    Good article. As an avid reader I now tend to shy away from self published books. Nothing irritates me more than blatant grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. While I enjoy my favorite authors, I appreciate the model you suggest that emphasizes quality over quantity. Rather wait for a good story I can enjoy and reread, than wish I had spent my money elsewhere.

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