When informed by my editor in October of 2009 that So Shelly was slotted for a Spring 2011 publication, it sounded like a date in Captain Kirk’s star log. “2011!” I thought. “Are there monks locked in the basement churning out copies by hand or what?” Today, with the release date a mere six months distant, I have learned to appreciate the necessity for and the wisdom of the deliberate pace of publishing.
As So Shelly sits ready to go to press, it is a much different book than the one I queried to my agent and she pitched to my editor a year ago. Over a four month period upon the initial signing with my publisher, the novel experienced two exhaustive rounds of editorial reads; each of which required major revisions to be made by me in response to their suggestions. It then received a meticulous read by a copyeditor followed by additional authorial revisions. Next, the manuscript was set in type and proofread with a comb of proverbially-fine teeth and returned to me again for revisions in the form of “last pass pages” with the novel, still in manuscript form, as it would appear when printed on actual pages. Here still, a full nine months removed from the purchase of the novel, final revisions were caught and made. The lesson is that many needed revisions only rise to the surface over the passing of much time and multiple viewings, which the deliberate pace of bringing a book to market allows.
A second purpose for no rush to market is to allow for the design team to experience similar stages of trial and error. There is no overstating the importance of creating an attention-grabbing cover that also accurately reflects the book’s content. Like the text, the artwork requires time to be imagined, brought to life, and viewed by many discerning eyes, including the editors’, the sales staff’s, and the author’s. Typically, the cover and jacket design experiences several workings before reaching a version upon which all involved can agree to support. Additionally, an often overlooked and always underappreciated stage in the design process is the interior design of a book. Choosing a font that matches the tone of the story and setting the type in a reader-friendly manner on the pages is fundamental to the text’s readability. Clearly, the importance of the visual artistry involved in the publishing of a book cannot be overstated, and it should never be hurried.
Finally, especially for a previously unpublished author, time is necessary for the author to build an online presence through such means as Facebook, Twitter, blogging, etc., and to network as extensively as possible, both online and off, with those who will aid in the selling and purchasing of his book. The publisher’s marketing department also requires a significant amount of time to plan a public relations strategy appropriate to the book and its target audience.
There is simply little to be gained in the rushing of a novel to market, but there is much to be lost should the revision process, visual design, and/or public relations strategy be rushed. A writer has only one opportunity to present a debut novel to the reading public and to make a positive impression which will, hopefully, result in the building of an faithful audience of readers. So Shelly’s pub date, which once felt as if eons distant, now seems to be hurrying toward me at light speed.
My debut novel, So Shelly, is available for pre-order at all major online bookstores including, Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/So-Shelly-Ty-Roth/dp/0385739583/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1277759993&sr=1-1; Barnes and Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/So-Shelly/Ty-Roth/e/9780385739580/?itm=2&USRI=so+shelly; Borders:http://www.borders.com/online/store/Home; Books-A-Million:http://www.booksamillion.com/product/9780385739580?id=4777602269282; and IndiBound: http://www.indiebound.org/book/9780385739580