Tightening the cycle

The most interesting conversation I had at NY Comicon had nothing to do with the conference or even the comic-related industry, but about book publishing. Basically, he was questioning the present book production timeline. The timeline generally means it takes a book twelve months - at least - from the day it's submitted to the day it's published.

That's an incredibly long delay. In some cases, a good hunk of that delay is due not to editing or production concerns, but to the fact that publishers still try to leave time in the process for book reviews to be prepared. The only problem is that those reviews are a) diminishing and b) have little to no effect on sales.

Will it change?

It should. Some books already skirt much of the delay - I happen to be working on one - but in those cases everyone seems to get unnaturally nervous about the accelerated timeline. The problem is that the publishers aren't really geared for such quick turn-around - and neither are authors. The present model - and that includes advances, salaries and staffing - needs a long timeline in case things go wrong. It shouldn't, but that's the way things are.

For now, anyway. With everything that's going on in the economy and in the industry, maybe it'll change.

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