Delays and Patience

You may have noticed from the Publications page that Hulk Hercules: Professional Wrestler has been pushed back to January, 2010. That’s okay. I will bide my time.

There are some very good reasons. Cat’s Curious editor Sonya Sipes thinks we can do a better publicity campaign for it if we have more time to play with. I can handle positive publicity.

I have pretty much determined to be easy-going in my writing life. (Alternately, I almost busted a sprocket in my day job life last week, so perhaps I should apply this lesson more broadly.) If I had any good advice to give a new writer going in, it would now be this: expect wait times. Take the longest wait time you can imagine, and cube it. That’s your minimal wait time for any project.

This isn’t a complaining piece. It’s a cultural piece. It just took me a while to understand this piece of the culture. Mind you, I do find it frustrating sometimes, but you’ll be better prepared than me, because you’ve read this and other commentaries like it.

Let’s take a look at some time frames.

Drollerie Press accepted Sister Night, Sister Moon in January, 2008. I remember the month vividly, as it was the day after doctors had popped my gall bladder out. On that day, I developed the theory that I had to sacrifice a body part per publication. It has held true, and I’d best not hope for a best seller, but I digress.

Needles and Bones, the collection in which Sister Night, Sister Moon appears, came out this month. So, eighteen months from acceptance to publication. Lots of periods of silence in there, punctuated by small periods of activity. That’s how it is.

***

While my memory isn’t as good with Hulk Hercules, records assure me that the idea for the book was proposed to me in October, 2007. Contracts were sent in January, 2008, movie deals were threatened (and still loom on the horizon). I began writing earnestly in August, 2008, broke my arm (there’s the body part sacrifice!) in September, and finished the book in December, 2008. Rewrites happened in April of this year. The book is now on tap for January of next year.

If that all comes off as planned, from concept to publication will be 28 months. Again, large periods of quietness, and small periods of activity, not counting my writing time, which was a frenzied period of activity.

***

Time lag also comes into play when soliciting agents. Most of the agents who have solicited partial and full manuscripts have taken about a year to respond to me. The most recent agent exchange for Substance went like this:

June, 2008–interest. Send first 3 chapters.
July, 2008–detailed edit letter sent to me for first 3 chapters.
October, 2008–Rewritten chapters sent.
June, 2009–Final response and rejection.

As you see, it took one year to receive notification of the final fate with this agent.

***

My stories are typical. I didn’t know how long things took in May of 2006, when I started doing this. I’ve learned decision making in writing and the publication process take a long time if you compare them to the standards of the teaching world.

I decided I had a couple of ways I could deal. I could decide I cared more about the timeliness, and I could get out. Publishing clearly isn’t for people in love with deadlines.

Or I decided that I could just wait, and get on with the next project, or the rest of my life. It wasn’t easy to get to this point, but here I am.

Maybe this is a topic for another post, but I think getting a PhD could be the best training for a writer. In miniature, what I mean by that is that the PhD world is also full of no, until it is full of yes.

AND if you out wait the bastards your committee of academic colleagues patiently, eventually you receive your reward. Graduation, your book out, that sort of thing. Alas, when your book gets published, you don’t get a spiffy outfit, but there you go.

Time to go in search of lunch. Sometimes you need to be patient, but sometimes, you need to take action. 🙂

Catherine

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

2 thoughts on “Delays and Patience”

  1. I have one story that I submitted in June? 2007, and it will see print in April 2010. Yeah, I was well paid, but heavens the wheels they do grind slowly…

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