A Report from the journal "Balderdash"

Dear Miss Snark,

I was informed once I received a contract, the book would not be released for 2 years. I was told this is standard for every book contract. Furthermore, I was told if a writer is published in under 12 months of signing their contract, they are sleeping with someone. This is supposedly also the case if a new author receives more then $20K in advance. Is the publishing world really this corrupt? Are any of these items true?

Thanks for reading.

A humble snarkling ...

None of it is true.

It's possible books don't get published quickly, but I have books coming out this year that I sold last year. And I've seen books get published in six weeks. Not neccesarily really good ones, but still published.

The person telling you this is full of crap.


published in 10 months, 6-fig contract said...


Everyone, I tell you. I slept with EVERYONE!

Please, who told you this? What kind of crap were they peddling and how drunk did they get you beforehand to make you consider this?

kalbzayn said...

I would be willing to try the sleeping with everyone route, but isn't it enough pressure just to write a good book, now I have to be able to "perform" well, too. I'd probably end up waiting 5 years to see the book in print if I went that route.

Problem Child said...

More than 20K and my book out in less than 12 months? And all I have to do is sleep with somebody?

Why didn't anyone TELL me that?

Geez, here I am trying to do it the hard way...

Berry said...

Anytime someone says that some "rule" of publishing is absolutely 100% true all the time, they're almost certainly 100% WRONG!

Anonymous said...

My husband is very supportive of my writing. If I explain that I need to sleep my way into a 6-figure contract, I'm sure he'll understand.

Rhonda Stapleton said...

LOLOLOL this is hilarious (both the post and the comments).

That's just sad. If only it were as easy as putting out...there would probably be a lot more books out on the market...haha

litagent said...

Well, there are no "rules", but most contracts do specify a period within which the publisher will publish the book, usually between 12 and 18 months. I can certainly envision a contract that would specify publication within 24 months if the publisher has a small list and only publishes a limited number of books per year.

As for reality, some books get published quickly, within a year, other books, because of editing and rewrites end up taking years. I just had a book come out last week that took 36 months from contract to publication. (very topical books are "crashed" but they are very, very rare.)

All authors are shocked to find out how long it will take a book to be published once a contract is signed, but it all depends on the amount of work the book needs and other variables like balancing out a list or making sure a book won't get lost among other high profile books. Plus you have to figure in the time it takes to get the book info into a catalog and get the catalog out to the salespeople and to get the salespeople out to the bookstores...

None of these factors is dependent upon whom you're sleeping with, and there are so many variables that sleeping with someone probably wouldn't help anyway.

Anonymous said...

My husband is also supportive, however for me to sleep around for the deal..he wants not only a six figure advance but a movie deal as well.

selfish lad is he not?

"I heart Killer Yapp"

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

I was published in two weeks. I swear it's true. You can read my story in "The Queen Victoria School for Proper Young Girls - Best Poetry by First Form Ladies” book of some date best forgotten.

I swear it only took two weeks to put that out. I got paid in cookies and went on a field trip. I received 12 butter biscuits still in their box. That would mean I had a 12-figure deal. Outstanding!

And I didn't sleep with anyone other than my Snuggly Bunny. Poor guy is off in storage somewhere and a bit worse for wear. I should dig through the boxes in the basement and find him, huh?

Actually, these claims float around the Internet. You can find them on various "writers' sites." I don't have enough experience to comment on their veracity. But, having worked on a church history annual a time or two, I can tell you from start of research to end of press run can be a surprisingly long time.

Anonymous said...

"Dear Editor:

Enclosed please find my clothing sizes and bodily dimensions and photographs of assorted body parts. I can perform contortions and wear many different types of lingere.

I have previously slept with editors at Random House and TOR.

Samples and letters of reference are provided on request.

In the event that you like my sleepage-with, I can provide a novel to be published in under two years.

Thank you, and I look forward to your reply.



Yasmine Galenorn said...

Hmm...all my novels have come out within a year of turning them in (some of my nonfiction got hit by the 9/11 economic disaster that befell my then-publisher and there were a lot of delays). I don't think either my editor or agent wants me to sleep with them. Of course, I haven't offered and they haven't asked. Gee, should I be offended? ~grins~

ColoradoGuy said...

These kinds of rumors are fascinating. For me - first time nonfiction author - publication will be a year after contract signing, mainly to jive with the publisher's twice-yearly release dates. I did sleep with my wife's monster standard poodle (probably 4x KY size) but all I had to do was heavy petting.

Anonymous said...

Children's picture books usually take about two years to publish, to give the illustrator time to work.

Lisa Hunter said...

Is this a novel or a non-fiction book? Two years is entirely reasonable for a non-fiction book, because the first year you're WRITING it. Then it has to go through editing, legal, production, design, copy editing, etc., and its release may need to be timed to a particular season.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you misunderstood the clause that states the maximum time the publisher has to publish your book? My contracts all have 24-30 months limitations and if, due to changes in the publishers' programs, etc, they don't, that is how long I have to wait to begin action to get my book back..

Actual time between selling the book and its release is based on so many things -- like the size of the publisher, the size and frequency of their programs, and the alignment of the stars (I know, probably not a factor, but sometimes I wonder if it isn't?!) If you sell to a publisher that releases 2 fiction books per month, it may take some time to see yours in print.

My first book for Berkley needed little revisions and was published about 11 months after selling it. Right now, 8 months is about the time between turning my book in and having it released - yes, I now write for Harlequin/ Silhouette.

The one thing I've learned in this business is that there are very few hard-and-fast rules...everyone's situation, writing abilities/speed/talent, contracts and deals are different. Comparing them usually doesn't help, but knowing about them is important.

BTW -- my husband said that for six-figures and a movie deal, he'd sleep with whoever needed to be slept with...to help my career along, of course....LOL!

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I've no idea of the sexual orientation, availability
or willingness of my various publishers to do the wild thing with me as it's never come up in any of our business conversations.

Certainly NONE of this is in any of the books on publishing or bios of countless authors or industry gossip.

If I'd ONLY KNOWN I could have slept my way to paying off my mortgage by now!!

(Smacks self on forehead) D'OH!

(Calls her editor) Hello, ____! How you doing? Lissen, sweetie, I've been having certain feelings about you for a long time and, well, I have to tell you about them....oh. OH! Okay. Can you transfer my call to the company receptionist, then? Great! So....is he or she cute? How many others after that one until I reach your floor? Why, yes, I DO have another cross-genre book. So I have to go through at least TWO departments? Lemme check my schedule...

Sam said...

This is the world of writing - not Hollywood.
I think I heard that 90% of the stars made it up the ladder on their backs.
Writers have to climb every inch on the way clawing themselves up with their fingers.

Termagant 2 said...

I sleep only with neurotic cats and poodles. Not necessarily the same night, mind you.

My first and second (small press) books took 13 and 26 months, respectively. I have a third book in the pipeline with a different press, and we'll see how that shakes out.


JirĂ­ CĂȘch: poet, vampyre, real estate developer said...

I did sleep with my publisher and she moved my book to the top of her priority list. Which goes to show you how great I am in the sack!

Jim C. Hines said...

Just sold two books to DAW. (Not that I'm using this as another excuse to crow :-)

Anyway, they have an opening in their line for November, so assuming nothing changes, it will be 8 months from signing to publication for the first book.

Didn't get the 20K advance, though. I wonder if I'm better off sleeping with my agent or the editor. Better do both, just to be safe.

Anonymous said...

"The only advice I can give a young writer is to fuck a really good agent."

--John Cheever