Friday, September 28, 2012

Words from a Book Editor (Part 2 of 2)

(This post comes from Vicki Crumpton.)

Traditional publishing is highly schedule driven. We live by catalog cycles and when a book is contracted, we slot it in a catalog season for release.

Manuscript deadlines are based on the release date, and everything we do for a book from then on, whether editorial, marketing, sales, or publicity, is driven by the need to hit that release date.

I'm writing this in the summer of 2012, and we're titling books that will release the following summer. Once titles are set, the cover design starts. I’m editing books that will release a year from now.

Each October, our sales conference prepares our reps to sell the upcoming Summer list, and our key account reps start selling right after the sales conference. Why? The large accounts make their buying decisions that far in advance.

Air traffic control is a good analogy for the publishing process. Planes get slotted by air traffic control long before they reach their destination, so that when planes get close to O’Hare, all of them can land in an orderly fashion.

I'd love to have the opportunity to listen to the cockpit radio conversation. I've never heard a pilot say, "I have to fly over Dallas on my way to Chicago, so I'm going to be about five hours late. That won't mess up anybody, will it?"

Life does happen. The important thing is for authors to communicate with their editors as soon as they know there will be a problem with a deadline.

Vicki Crumpton, Executive Editor for Revell (a division of Baker Publishing Group), acquired a number of award finalists and winners, as well as several New York Times' bestsellers, including 90 Minutes in Heaven. She holds an M. Div. and Ph.D. from Southwestern.

No comments:

Post a Comment

What are your thoughts?