We Have Fast Fashion. Now It’s Time For Fast Fiction

 We Have Fast Fashion. Now It's Time For Fast Fiction

Fashion and fiction have a lot in common. Both can be expensive to create, but cheap to reproduce. Both are supposed to respond quickly to changes in demand. Both begin with ‘F’. And both look dodgy in certain shades of pink.

Both depend on retailers to get to their end user. And whether it’s because of internet culture or not, these days, retailers are acutely aware that when customers want things, they want things now. They don’t want to wait for things to be manufactured or tested or delivered or marketed. If they see something they like, it had better be available immediately, or else they’re off somewhere else, and good luck to you, Slothface.

This Is Me Talking About Fashion Like I Have A Bloody Clue

Once upon a time in the fashion world, collections appeared on the catwalk, orders were made, and clothes were delivered to retailers six months later, whereupon they were purchased by naked people who, up to that point, had nothing to wear. In fact, the world was full of naked people, waiting for these so-called Ready-To-Wear items. (I myself remember awkward corporate meetings with homely men in birthday suits*. But that was before Facebook. And selfies.)

Now, following seismic changes in the fashion industry, ‘Fast Fashion’ means that when someone sends their stuff down the catwalk, it’s available to customers within weeks. For the labels who are able to do this, it’s very successful, business-wise. (I don’t know if it means that small children in Bangladesh are working 19-hour days in production, and I’d rather not go there, to be honest, but for the labels, at least, it’s working.)

We Have Fast Fashion: Now It's Time For Fast Fiction

Now This Is Me Applying My Shaky Premise To Books Etc

Can anyone tell me why the hell it takes a year to get a book to market through a traditional publisher?

Seriously. Anyone?

Why, if someone can showcase clothes which have been imagined, designed, altered, approved, produced, and fitted in at least one (teenytiny) size to send it down a catwalk – only to deliver in bulk, and in different sizes, to shops all over a country or continent six weeks later – does a book take a year?

This is not about how long it takes to write a book: even I wouldn’t be stupid enough to deride the time required to do that. This is about how long it takes to get a book, which is already written, into the hands of readers.

So let’s look at some of the excuses, and make snide remarks about them, shall we? Grab a coffee. Blow your nose, if you like.

  1. The book has to be edited

Okay, let’s assume for the sake of argument that it’s going to the best editor in the world, and she needs time to make it the best book in the world. Plus, she’ll have to go back to the author with rewrites, and the author has to do them, and go back to the editor again, and then she’ll have to go back to the author again, and then the fox and the chicken go into the boat and the bottle of writer’s tears stays on the shore.

How long should this take? Two months? Six? Eleventy?

I don’t know much about editor workloads, but if a book is such an unholy mess that it takes six months to edit and rewrite, I would posit that either the deadline was unrealistic to begin with, the author can’t cope with the changes, or the editor really shouldn’t have been given another three books to work on at the same time.

Even if I’m being reasonable about it (a departure for me I know), delays can happen in some cases, but not in absolutely every case. Something is very wrong here in business terms. Unless an actual editor wants to step in here and explain.

  1. The book needs to be designed

Refer to point 1. The book is being edited. What’s stopping the cover art, blurb, title, and typeface being sorted during this time? Was it the rumour that the book was being edited from an erotic romance into a gardening manual?

  1. The book needs to be marketed

Yes, there needs to be a strategy. Advance review copies, absolutely. Website schmoozing, yup. All of that. If only there were people experienced in the marketing of books to do those tasks while the rest of the book was coming together, eh?

********

We Have Fast Fashion. Now It's Time For Fast Fiction

“Will I release it in June or July 2022? Or is that jumping the gun? I do hate undue haste” Pic: musee-rodin.fr

Break out the bottle of writer’s tears again. It’s all down to the team you get behind the book, I know. And having enough people in that team.

But indie authors do all of those tasks, by themselves, sometimes every three months, when they’re feeling obscenely prolific. They schedule designers and choose covers. They schedule editors and do rewrites, often while writing other books. They market their books and take out ads and do sales promotions, sometimes while still learning how to do all these fiddly, tricky things.

You might make the argument that quality suffers somewhere along the journey of the one-man band. But indie authors are not on trial here. They are a shining beacon of productivity in an otherwise dank wasteland of long lead-in times in fiction. If they can do it, a full team of professionals in a traditional publishing house should surely be able to get a book out in three months, if not six weeks.

Could I Just Get To The Point, Please

The main point (knew I had one somewhere) is that if fashion can do it, so can fiction. Just a few years ago, the fashion industry would have argued that fast fashion was impossible. Logistically insane. Technically undoable. But you know what? Then they went and did it.

Publishers are always banging on about how difficult things are: how hard it is to predict trends and pick bestsellers years in advance. You know what would make that easier? Only having to pick them a few months in advance.

Fiction has already become cheaper (ask any mid-list author). Cheap fiction needs to be fast. It needs to be responsive and flexible. But most of all, it needs to be out there, in the market, where it’s wanted. It’s not doing anyone any good, stuck on the world’s slowest production line.

*BUSINESS suits. I meant business suits. I think.

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  96 comments for “We Have Fast Fashion. Now It’s Time For Fast Fiction

  1. July 21, 2016 at 8:12 am

    I can’t stop thinking about those small children working 19 hours days.

    Liked by 3 people

    • July 21, 2016 at 11:08 am

      I know, Jean… I really have no idea if it’s happening or not, but it would have been remiss of me to ignore the possibility that it might. At least we can be confident that small children are highly unlikely to be indentured in the production of books.

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 21, 2016 at 2:54 pm

        I think it is happening but certainly agree that it’s unlikely in the world of book production.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. July 21, 2016 at 8:28 am

    All good stuff, as usual, Tara. I tend to think publishers hide behind that ‘it takes time’ myth just because they always have. Maybe if they don’t get their piggy little fingers out, us indies will leave them behind. (By the way, I think there’s probably a ready market for small bottles of Writers Tears. Just sayin’…)

    Liked by 2 people

    • July 21, 2016 at 11:11 am

      Sadly Colin that brand (capital W capital T obviously) has already been well established by an Irish whiskey maker. I recall it only because the night I drank it, I don’t recall much else…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. July 21, 2016 at 8:40 am

    I love you and want your babies. Thank you for, once again, stating the obvious with such clarity!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. July 21, 2016 at 10:16 am

    More ‘mathematical’ humour while munching the cocopops off now to boil up some Writers Tears to wash them down. No male models featured I observe, never the less as always enjoy some intellectual sprinkling to brighten up a morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 21, 2016 at 11:15 am

      See? And people try to say sums aren’t funny, C.J. Whereas every time I add up a writer and a publisher, subtract dignity and any hope of making a living, and divide them by paralysing self-doubt, I see a rip-roaring comedy which could be on Channel 4.

      The naked men comment was only to bring up the general tone of the piece, you understand.

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 21, 2016 at 12:28 pm

        Oh I do understand Tara, I also understand that Channel 4 will look fondly on your rip-roaring comedy script with a scattering of naked men, let me know when you are casting I might just be in line for a little part!!!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. July 21, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    I have to say I often wonder how writers can take their head out of the book they are currently writing, usually when it has a tight deadline to get it to their publisher, and switch their brain to market the book they have just launched – says the woman who likes to do one thing at a time (and try to do it well). Still editing my third book (launching 20th Sept) and illustrator is getting a list of illustrations tomorrow. All doable, okay, I’m skimping somewhat on getting advance copies out that’s for sure but agree with you on most.
    When I was leaving a review on goodreads the other day for Liz Nugent’s brilliant Lying in Wait, I noticed one of the first reviews was in Feb, nearly 5 months before it was published and thought it seemed a long time alright but it does seem normal amongst publishers.

    Liked by 3 people

    • July 21, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      You say it’s doable, but I put it to you Lorna that you’re a powerhouse and a trailblazer when it comes to indie publishing in this country – and that’s my opinion, so you can’t argue, so there.
      But seriously, who needs an advance review copy 6 months in advance? Before book bloggers and the interwebz, did critics get review copies 6 months in advance?
      Actually, d’you know what – I don’t care if they did. To me, the model is still broken. I know people want a big splash when they launch, but there are easier and quicker ways of getting into the bestseller list in Ireland, and I’m not sure ARCs have much of an impact in bigger and more important markets such as the UK anyway.

      Liked by 2 people

      • July 21, 2016 at 4:12 pm

        Agree, whatever about needing time for cover design etc, 6 months for ARCs still seems a long time. No wonder some writers have almost forgotten what their book is about by the time it comes to market it (and I’m sure they’d hate if they had to reread their own work.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. sweetsound
    July 21, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Sounds to me like there’s a need for someone to start a publishing company that does these things! Business opportunity!

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 21, 2016 at 3:06 pm

      Or, just throwing it out there – what if people with lots of experience within the publishing industry just did everything faster? Crazy, I know. I’ll shut up now 😉

      Like

      • sweetsound
        July 21, 2016 at 3:13 pm

        It would be ideal. Just saying if you ever have the opportunity to make something happen yourself, (since the publishers clearly aren’t doing the job) why not? 😀 I know that’ll be easier said than done though. Just a thought.

        Liked by 2 people

        • July 21, 2016 at 3:18 pm

          You’ve me sold on it. All I need is a few tens of millions in seed capital, and I’m all over it 😉

          Like

          • sweetsound
            July 21, 2016 at 4:58 pm

            Haha, man, I need that too!!

            Liked by 1 person

  7. July 21, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    My books all took a year to get through the publisher, plus or minus, and sometimes I had to nag to get it moving. One thing that happens (from my observation) is that publishers like a backlog of books. It guarantees a steady stream of work (and new income). So my book comes in and goes to the bottom of the pile with a stack of books ahead of me. It languishes, or they take one editing pass and then it languishes. When my book gets to the top, it doesn’t get undivided attention. They’re still looking to add to the pile, editing other books at the same time, and dealing with authors that nag louder than I do. By the way, being nice and patient doesn’t work. And if you find a typo, forget it. With a trad publisher, you have to live with it. The last of my publishing rights returns to me in August. Then I’ll be indie all the way and glad of it. 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • July 21, 2016 at 3:09 pm

      This. Your story is exactly what I’m talking about, Diana. People say all the time that the publishing model is broken, because of the internet, indie publishing, etc, etc – but what if the business model behind traditional publishing was the problem to begin with? What if the smash hit of 2016 which perfectly captures the current zeitgeist is sitting on someone’s desk, scheduled for release in 2017, when nobody is going to care about violent hot noodle crime any more?

      Congratulations on your hard-earned independence.

      Liked by 2 people

      • July 21, 2016 at 3:39 pm

        I think trad publishing is broken in more ways than just timing, Tara. Their narrow selection process means that many great books don’t even get a peek. Those authors end up going indie, adding talent and credibility to the indie pool – in direct competition with the trad publishers. The only challenge with indie publishing is the lack of any vetting prior to print. In a way the crappy books pull everyone’s reputation down. I think that some enterprising vetting business will take care of that eventually, and then the trad publishers will be in BIG trouble.

        Liked by 3 people

        • July 21, 2016 at 4:34 pm

          That’s an interesting point, Diana. I agree that some sort of recognised vetting would be great. For instance, I went looking for a quick read on my Kindle the other day and came away with nothing, because I didn’t believe either the blurbs or the reviews I read. If I felt there was some sort of quality control, someone would have got my money, but I’ve been burned too often before.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. July 21, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Wallace, my experience is the same. My publisher has filled all the 2017 spring and fall spots in my line. They can only produce 4 books a season in that line, so they have a backlog. The alternative to delay or waitlist is saying no to good books created by authors already in their stable. Authors they want to keep.

    Why only four books a season? They have many other lines, of course, and I’m sure finite money to pay staff. I also think they don’t want to flood the market in that particular genre. Other than the delay to get published, I’m happy with my publisher. They do a super job.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 21, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      Oh, dear, Melodie. Dear oh dear. They obviously don’t have enough staff, or enough… well, anything, including business acumen. They would be better off leaving more control in the hands of their authors in order to get it out quicker, surely? I mean, they have the expertise, but wouldn’t it be quicker to outsource some of this stuff, especially if they don’t have enough of their own editors?

      There is an Irish publisher who seemed to me to leave an unholy amount of the marketing and packaging tasks up to their authors, and I wondered why people would bother using them at all. But the more I think about it, they do get their books out faster, for less money, and I’m wondering now if they perhaps had the right idea?

      Like

  9. July 21, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    I don’t think it really matters how long it takes to publish a book for me as a reader… I guess if I am invested in a fantasy series and I have to wait six years between books then I care but in those cases the author is typically the one at fault (darn it George RR Martin). My point though is as a reader, I only pay attention to books that are released and there are always books being released every month, it makes no difference to me if it took a year to come out or three weeks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 21, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      I agree that for readers it doesn’t matter a whole lot, Embers, unless of course you’re waiting for a book from a favourite author, a position I’ve found myself in many a time. But for authors, it does matter a whole lot, and sometimes can be the difference between writing for a living and ditching the whole idea as bad enterprise, and taking another job.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. July 21, 2016 at 5:22 pm

    You are hilarious.

    And I have NEVER figured out why the hell it takes so long for traditional publishers to do ANYTHING!! Do they have trolls working in the basement? No budget for multi-taskers? Is there a “torture the writer” mandate in their general business strategy?

    I could ignore the problem in the glut of available titles, but as I’m hoping (once again, shoot me) to position my third novel for “traditional supplication,” I wonder — if lucky enough to finally snag their attention and interest — if I’d have enough life expectancy to get to the publishing date?

    Ah, but the book industry seems destined to toy with us, whether the inanities and disrespects of indie publishing, or the archaic sluggishness of traditional.

    Liked by 3 people

    • July 21, 2016 at 7:55 pm

      I think we should make the ‘torture the writer’ mandate a thing, Lorraine. If nothing else, social media’s gonna love it. I can already see the memes…

      Would a glut of titles from traditional publishers be any different from the glut of indie titles now? It’s all down to the marketing in the end, but so far, the supply of traditionally published titles doesn’t seem to have had anything to do with demand, so the basic economics isn’t working there anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 21, 2016 at 8:28 pm

        I like your meme idea, but I have zero perspective on the supply/demand issue. Honestly, the publishing industry flummoxed me all the way around. If I didn’t enjoy writing as much, or feel as compelled as I do to tell stories, I’d just read and ignore the industry. Sadly, writers have to stick around to sort it out… ugh. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        • July 21, 2016 at 10:57 pm

          I know. Sometimes I reckon it must feel like diagnosing yourself correctly with appendicitis, and turning up at the hospital to be told you have to operate on yourself.

          Liked by 1 person

  11. July 21, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    BRAIN BLEACH PLEASE! Business birthday suits – bleh! lol

    The bigger the publishing house, the more the farting around for no good reason… don’t even get me started on the extra 6- 12 months it takes to get the freaking thing into paperback from hard cover (are we dinosaurs or what?) if you’re a best-selling ghost writer to the stars. ><

    Aspiring writeSr – get real. You don't NEED all the palaver if you do it yourself (or get Amazon/Lulu etc to help you) – it's not totally easy-peasy, but at least you're fully in charge of YOUR timetable! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • July 21, 2016 at 7:57 pm

      Brain bleach. I love it, Jan. I need it too, but for my day job, not this job. I agree that being fully in charge of one’s timetable is very attractive. It’s all the other stuff which scares the hell out of me.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. July 21, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    Tara hits the funny bone yet again! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  13. July 21, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Thanks for qualifying the Birthday/ Business suit thing… I was getting quite concerned about your working environment for a while. In fact, I was quite distracted and missed most of the rest of your post… book cover jackets manufactured in third world countries by enslaved monkeys, or something?
    Anyhoo, you’re right, it’s ridiculous, and can’t possibly justify itself as a longterm business model for future success, surely?
    I’ve decided to stay Indie, but I’m veeeery slow when it comes to writing the darn things. Some Indies out there are awesome wits what they can achieve.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 21, 2016 at 8:02 pm

      Agreed, Ali, some of the levels of productivity in indie publishing are astounding. In a few cases, I’m not sure it does them any favours, but in others, they seem to have hit this amazing sweet spot for their readers, and more power to their elbows, as they say, they deserve every success.

      You were right about the monkeys, by the way, and in your concern for my working environment, but probably not for the reasons you think. Most people are concerned for those I work with, not me per se.

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 21, 2016 at 8:19 pm

        I wonder why that might be… did you have your birthday business suit on by any chance?

        Like

        • July 21, 2016 at 8:20 pm

          They wish. No, the truth is far more deranged. Violent, mostly, or so I’m told.

          Liked by 1 person

          • July 22, 2016 at 10:45 am

            Why would they be violent towards you, just cos you weren’t wearing your birthday business suit? Maybe you weren’t wearing heels with it…and we all know the woman in the workplace is doomed if she doesn’t wear her heels.

            Liked by 1 person

  14. July 21, 2016 at 9:09 pm

    Your question intrigued me so I rang someone at Harper Collins and asked them directly, ‘why does it take you so long to publish a novel?’ They blamed the finance department. Ever mindful of publishing being an upper class industry, they’re put off by the vulgarity of profit and take forever to work out how to make sure the novel bombs big time. (The spokesperson at HC seemed proud of the fact that less than 1% of novels make any money at all. ‘It’s not like we’re Volkswagen or British Leyland,’ she said, which is true I suppose.)

    Still, the race is on between Amazon and Google to patent the Amazing InstaNovel, for which readers will provide fifteen keywords and the algorithms will write, format and deliver a totally original 60 000 word novel direct to your gadget before the battery is flat.

    Liked by 3 people

    • July 21, 2016 at 10:45 pm

      This is most excellent, Chris. I’m not looking forward to the Amazing InstaNovel, it’s all a bit too 1984 for me, but the thought of your phone call with HC has cheered me up immensely. I’m thinking of calling them myself tomorrow, to ask why there’s no cure for the common cold.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. July 21, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    Speaking as a writer and an editor (not an editor in the fiction book industry) I can suggest a couple of things:

    1. It takes me four to five drafts just to get a book into workable shape. If writers would show that care before they submitted them to editors that might cut the production time down.

    2. I’ve spoken to some editors and have been told they often receive inpute from marketing and, having worked in journalism, I know that once marketing gets input in the process that slows production down exponentially.

    3. Speaking as an editor, some authors do as much to slow the production process down as much as the editor, by whining, complaining and negotiating about their prose, forgetting that they’ve sold the rights to their book to the publisher.

    I don’t always like the editor’s pen, but I listen and I make the changes, and, if I disagree with them, I defer to them if they’ve paid for the rights to the story. If they defer to me, I look for a way to make changes that satisfy both of us because something in my prose bothered them and they need to get to press as badly as I want to.

    I agree with you that book publication should be streamlined, but the production process depends on a number of factors, depending on the company, and based on my experience with magazines, management (and marketing decisions) can really make the difference. The biggest is usually which book is highest on marketing’s “we can sell” list.

    Liked by 2 people

    • July 21, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      Hey Phillip. All excellent points. I do wonder why publishers accept novels that aren’t ready if they’re going to take so long to edit into shape – they make a point of saying that they don’t.

      As for Marketing getting involved, I think we can take a leaf out of cable television’s – er – mixed metaphor (sorry) – here. Look what happened to TV when people stopped listening to the marketing department and allowed shows to be made as they were created/imagined: the golden age of TV. Breaking Bad. The Wire. Game of Thrones. Perhaps if books were left solely to the writers and editors, we’d have a better literary canon on our hands?

      Like

      • July 22, 2016 at 2:22 am

        Unfortunately marketing has the publisher’s ear, because the publisher believes they drive profits. Books don’t sell, the marketing department sells the books. That (or so the pitch goes) is the bottom line. Of course, publishers don’t really market books any more, that’s left to most writers anyway, which is why I went indie.

        Like

        • July 25, 2016 at 9:25 am

          I believe the thinking might be changing in some quarters here, Phillip, at least from what I’m hearing, precisely because of publishers being surprised by books which went viral – many of them indie. The industry is slow to change, but when the bottom line is on the line, it forces innovation. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in the next few years.

          Like

  16. July 21, 2016 at 9:55 pm

    Traditional publishing is an old boy’s club that’s outlived its function whose members make Hollywood moguls look like kittens playing with a ball of string. Slow fossils rule the jungle because money and an unbelievably shifty set of parameters control the inside edge for positioning books on the seriously-skewed New York Times Bestseller list.

    I picture a business lunch of A-list (cough) publishing and ad executives as a table of Skeksis (see ‘The Dark Crystal’) tearing a raw antelope to shreds, having a collective belch, dipping their claws in a finger bowl, and signing the bill to their company expense account.

    And speaking of dinosaurs, we Indies are a new species of mammals who are smaller and faster and will eventually rule.

    Of course, I may be waxing a tad fanciful. I’m just a writing workhorse the size of a hedgehog. Roll on evolution.

    Liked by 3 people

    • July 21, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      Although I love the thought of the fatcat publishers trundling towards a moribund and outdated future, Veronica, I think the ultimate win for writers is always going to be a combination of traditional and indie publishing. Long-time visitors of this parish will know how much I can rant about authors who may be decent at writing, but shouldn’t be let within an asses’ roar of a marketing plan for fear of gross abuses against both the internet and humanity.

      As a reader, too, I like the product put out by traditional publishing and would hate to see it gone, much like I’d hate to see my favourite newspapers die and be left solely with internet news feeds. If traditional publishing could just wake up and innovate, I reckon we’d all be winners.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. July 22, 2016 at 6:50 am

    So how many ages and dead virgins did this post take?

    Liked by 1 person

  18. July 22, 2016 at 7:03 am

    You really set Bob Geldof off on one yesterday, Tara. I think he’s still berating us all from a field somewhere for shopping in Primark. I’ve scanned the names here to guess who he is *points to person behind*

    Liked by 1 person

  19. July 22, 2016 at 11:05 am

    Couldn’t the fashion industry take over publishing? With their fast fashion know-how, they could ensure that new titles made it to consumers in days, if not minutes. As a bonus, the books themselves would be tall and graceful with beautiful bone structure. Of course, they’d only be three pages thick.

    Liked by 2 people

    • July 23, 2016 at 11:58 am

      Brilliant idea, Bun. Book Couture. I love it. And for different genres, different sizes. Crime can use the distressed look. I assume cosy mysteries will come in flannel.

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 23, 2016 at 2:13 pm

        I’m not sure about the distressed look for crime books. I think it’s possible they’ll be dressed to kill.

        Liked by 1 person

        • July 24, 2016 at 12:19 pm

          Ah yes – I must have been thinking of psychological thrillers. Or political biographies.

          Liked by 1 person

  20. July 22, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    Oh Tara, Once again, that was hilarious!! I think linking things purely by their first letter is GENIUS 🙂 So glad you put the question out there – I’m currently trying to decide if I should spin the old wheel of fortune and submit my new novel to traditional publishers, or stay as I am. On top of the waiting times for publication, you have to add on the inordinate amount of time you have to wait during the submission process. It could be six months before you even get a response to your first three chapters. Then you send in the full manuscript, only to be rejected and have to start the process all over again. If writer’s were to do as most publishers say and only send to one publisher at a time, the next ice age would be quicker. Like you, I’m baffled as to why the industry hasn’t adapted it’s approach over the years. It seems to value its position as an exclusive club rather than finding new talent or giving readers what they want. I wish people weren’t so wary of indie authors because lets face it, there are some serious humdingers that were written by traditionally published authors out there, but we don’t tar all trad published authors with the same brush.

    Liked by 2 people

    • July 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm

      I think people are always going to be wary of indies while indies exist who refuse to get their stuff properly edited and packaged, Evie. Sad but true. Some ethically run quality control/professional vetting enterprise could be a whole new industry. And I agree, the wait times are woeful. I spend mine writing new ones 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • July 23, 2016 at 1:16 pm

        I think you’re right, because the main reason any of us wants a publishing deal is to have that industry stamp of approval. And readers just want an easy way of knowing if a book has been produced to industry standards. People just don’t regard your books in the same once you tell them you’ve self-published, and I get that, but I would like to help change things. It would be great to start something in Ireland – as you say an ethically run panel of readers to give some kind of quality seal to self-published books. You know for once, instead of waiting for somebody else to do it, I’m going to seriously consider what I can do to get the ball rolling myself… just as soon as I’ve finished this cup of tea 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • July 24, 2016 at 12:17 pm

          There’s a new awards initiative for starters, Evie – the Carousel Aware Prize for Independent Authors. With more initiative like that, I hope that by this time next year we’ll be looking at a different playing field.

          Liked by 1 person

          • July 24, 2016 at 12:43 pm

            God it’s true that social media fries your brain – I retweeted about that! Really looking forward to seeing the winner and hopefully there’ll be a shortlist too. I missed it this year but hopefully next year.

            Liked by 1 person

  21. Sue Bridgwater
    July 22, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Reblogged this on Skorn and commented:
    Great stuff as always from Tara.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. July 22, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Reblogged this on Don Massenzio's Blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. July 22, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    I and many others do books solo, every step. Publishers…poppycock. I know, I know, harsh words. I’ll calm down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 24, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      Everything in moderation, I suppose, Your Baronship. There’s a place for everyone, when everything is done thoughtfully!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. July 24, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I think we need short words. Like a scrabble champion has a two letter word for every combination of letters zs means potato salad when still hot or rd means a sloping roof with moss on it… if we encouraged that books would be so much faster to produce. Like short skirts and vest tops.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 25, 2016 at 10:14 am

      It’s a very interesting proposition, Geoff, which would result in books being read much quicker too, and surely a massive sales spike for Ulysses, War And Peace, and The Complete And Unabridged Works Of Jeremy Paxman 1915 – 2012. Unlike short skirts and vest tops, though, I doubt the public will get much pleasure out of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. July 26, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Brilliant post:) If you look at the digital imprints, which are appearing more and more, you find that the books are being put out a lot quicker, but I’ve definitely noticed a lot of issues in terms of quality and would question the editing process with them (could be totally wrong, I only have experience reading their books, maybe the editing process will always seem slightly askew when you think there’s nothing to compare against, since all writers write differently).

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 26, 2016 at 7:10 pm

      I know what you mean, Bernadette. The quality issue is such a hangover for the whole industry. What I’m seeing now, though, are some traditional & ex-trad publishers, creating new digital imprints with the same production standards in everything bar the obvious – printing. I think these will take over from some of the inevitable upstarts who got in to a rapidly evolving industry early, not caring about quality. We can only hope!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. July 26, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    I suspect traditional publishers look for books that will make the maximum profit. To do that the chosen few need to be pressed into a mould so they conform to the shape of the size zero model.

    Then they require to have a face created for the book by a team of makeup artists wielding brushes and sponges, dabbing and fluffing the book face until it stands out from the crowd.

    Meanwhile the star’s PR guru consults his/her lifestyle guru and casts a few chicken bones around for auspicious dates for a launch, followed by a high profile appearance at an award ceremony (any will do as it’s photos of the the dress worn that counts) to judge what festivals, events, media showcases and on-the media-couch TV programmes have a ladder in their schedules.

    If any TV programmes are seeking a last-minute replacement for a minor celeb who’s dropped out because of over exposure then they want, indeed demand their new face be considered. The PR guru is ragged with running around in his Porsche, endless phone calls have given him ringing in his ears and his mind is a fankle of unmentionable ideas. To straighten himself out he needs a month off somewhere in the sun (the more expensive the better), so that when he returns he is ready to think up more wheezes to further delay publication.

    Seems to me like a plot for another novel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 26, 2016 at 10:47 pm

      Now why didn’t I think of this? You’re a genius, Dorothy! Do you do consults? Perhaps you could do book makeovers on an afternoon show? If you’re not in your Porsche in Monaco, that is…

      Like

  27. July 26, 2016 at 9:29 pm

    Hi Tara, I was delighted to come across your blog today and discover not only a highly entertaining writer but a fellow countrywoman. I see you moved from the West to Dublin; I’m planning on doing the opposite move myself in the very near future, and I’m pretty excited about it. Please don’t disillusion me 😉

    On the topic of fast fashion, you might be interested in this story of breaking the world record for getting from sheep to suit. It’s not my blog, I’m just taking on the role of a textile fan passing on an anecdote: http://www.monroehistorical.org/articles/files/020106_sheepsuit.html.

    Liked by 2 people

    • July 26, 2016 at 10:56 pm

      Hi Gloria, I’m delighted to meet you! I wish you the very best of luck on your move to the wild west. It’s an undeniably fabulous part of the world and I go back every opportunity I can, so I have no intentions of disillusioning you there. I can accomplish that easily enough by just asking you to come back here again to read some other stuff on this blog…

      Thanks so much for the link. How’d you know I was a sucker for history? You’re definitely getting the award for Best New Follower today. Your prize is, um, eh, a slow sheep suit. Expect delivery before 2029. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  28. July 29, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    I think I want to take up my usual stance astride the fence here (ouch again). As a slowish self-publisher, I would suggest 9 months (6 at a pinch) enable you to get the the elements above properly sorted, while eating, washing, shopping and even sleeping occasionally as you go. My mainstream publishing experience started with acceptance last July and the book came out this June (I had copies for launches in May), so not far off. They seemed surprised by my quick turnaround at various points, but there were pauses because, surprise surprise, they were dealing with one or two more (important) authors at the same time. So, less than a year, for a decent hardback. Publicity a bit flaky (I think), but I have no idea if it is selling or not. Yesterday I was signing books after giving a lecture at The National Archives in Kew, so there is at least one (specialist) bookshop with copies.
    Fashion? I sew, I go to charity shops, I’ve got too many clothes anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

    • July 30, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      Hmmmmm. The fact that they took so long with your book because they had one or two other authors convinces me even more that the model is broken and a whole new approach is needed. Plus there are so many indie authors out there with 3 month turnarounds – albeit for books that require little if any research – the evidence is there. That’s my story, anyway, and I’m sticking to it!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. August 4, 2016 at 10:35 am

    I’m quite ignorant about the whole industry but a family member had a book published and I just could not believe the delays in the whole process. And he had the book written before he approached anyone. One publisher who turned down the first book came back later to say they were interested, a full year after it had been published.

    Like

    • August 4, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      Well, at least they’re consistent in their slowness, eh? If even one young Turk of an imprint comes along and starts to do things quickly, they’ll all panic. Hope your relative isn’t too disillusioned.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. August 10, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Well, I can’t speak for the fashion creators, but I work in a small publishing house and I can tell you this: the resson why publishing a book takes time is that the process you described needs to be done, for every writer, one work at a time… because there is only one team doing it.

    So, it’s true, editing and designing a book and marketing it may take a month or two at most, but there may be three or four books in the queue before yours. In this moment, at my publisher, there is a queue of ten books. And consider we are just a little publisher.
    If there were more money (and there isn’t) a second team might be set up, which would reduce waiting time. You’d still have to wait for five books to be launched before yours.
    I suppose bigger houses have more teams working on a project, they will also have a lot more projects at the same time then we do.

    In your same estimation, an indie needs a year to launch four books.
    As for many other things in the publishing world, it is a matter of resources.

    Liked by 1 person

    • August 10, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      I know what you mean, Sarah, but I suppose the point I’m making is that it’s not a good business model, and in fact it’s a very bad one. A lack of resources doesn’t make sense when it comes to the publishing giants, who should be able to cut their cloth to suit their measure. Also, I can’t help going back to the indie author who does all the work themselves, whilst writing new books. The question still remains, who’s going to make the changes necessary to adapt to the market? Because whoever gets it right first, will profit first.

      Like

      • August 10, 2016 at 3:31 pm

        Well, don’t assume that only because they’re big, big publishers don’t have a resource problem 😉

        You know what? I actually wonder whether we are all doing a big mistake. Because indie and trad-pub industries involve the same professionals, the same end consumers and the same kinds of products, then we assume it must be the same thing and they should work the same way. It may not be so.

        I’m starting to believe that readers are catching up with the difference between indie and trad publishing and they are adjusting their habits to it. Publishers know that they must change and they are trying to do so. Authors… I think at this stage, authors are the most confused in the equation. Most authors (from what I constantly read on social medias) think that if they can’t have what they want from publishers, then they’ll do it themselves.
        I wonder if here’s where the animosity of so many authors towards publishers is born. I think this animosity is doing nothing good to the publishing as a whole, because indies think that they have nothing to learn from trad pub (who created the industry, we should never forget this) and publishers see authors disappear from their radars, which means less titles published, less monetary resources, less possibilities to experiments new ways – and let’s not forget that this is happening in the middle of an all-encompassing economic crises.

        Personally, I think that indie and trad publishing will end up living together, because they will have very different forms of management and very different markets. I don’t think they will ever be the same thing, so I’m not sure there is any reason to compare one with the other, if not to decide whether you and your project will be better off self-pubbed or trad-pubbed.

        Just my two cents 😉

        Like

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