Writing takes time.
… how often have we heard this line?
So why do we balk at the thought of publishing taking time?
Yes, even self-publishing. Or perhaps we ought to say: self-publishing takes time when you’re doing it right. There is such a thing as a rushed publication, and we’ve seen the results. (Not good. Not satisfactory. Not doing justice to the authors’ great ideas and skills as authors.) Sometimes, publishing can or should take a little … longer. Months, even.
The more rushed the publication process, the less likely you are to have a range of people looking at your work, and having “eyes on” the work is incalculably valuable to producing a polished, perfect book. I’m not just talking about editing, either, but the other fiddly bits: graphic design, interior formatting, clean margins and orphan control, or even satisfying the legal requirements and meeting publishing standards! There are simply so many balls to keep in the air during the publishing process, and not everyone has the time, energy, skills, or industry expertise to complete it quickly. Far better to take a little time, and bring in outside help to make sure you get it right!
Multiple Checks and Balances
Just as having “eyes on” your work helps with quality control of the finished product, it also keeps certain ideas and inclinations in check. In fact, the longer you take, the less likely you are to do something rash with your cover art or ‘experimental’ with your formatting–it’s just one of those things! The longer you ponder your publishing decisions, the more sound they will be, being rooted in a broader understanding of both standard practices and what’s at stake. Other eyes will catch what you’ve missed, and create a sounding board for some of your more ‘edgy’ or ‘distinctive’ choices. They’ll give you a notion of what works, and what doesn’t, and help you navigate the publishing process with as few hassles as possible. So, not only does taking your time during publishing serve as its own reward–time as its own check and balance–but it also gives you the opportunity to broaden the team of people involved in your project, and really choose the minds and services which will help bring your vision to fruition.
When push comes to shove, we have to believe our books are worth the time we take with them. We have to believe in them! I think perhaps the physicist and science educator Carl Sagan put it best when he said:
If books can break the shackles of time, we shouldn’t begrudge them taking a little time in the publishing process. To get it right.
All I’m saying is: don’t rush it. Self-publishing, even slow-cooker style, is still much faster than traditional publication, which takes an average of two years from start to finish. The ‘slowing down’ which I’m talking about is more on the order of months than years! The ultimate goal is to create a finished product which is perfect in every way, or at least in all of the ways which readers and booksellers appreciate.
Your book is worth taking the time! It deserves the best possible treatment. And if the process goes more quickly than you expected, well, isn’t that a happy surprise?
You are not alone. ♣︎