The Process Takes TimePosted: January 2, 2011
I signed the contract for Heather Hummingbird Makes a New Friend last month. This was a big step for me. I held on to the contract for almost a month before signing it, researching publishing contracts to be sure I was getting a fair deal and making sure that the author’s responsibilities were not unreasonable. I had never contracted a book to be published before, and so I was probably being overly cautious. This is the moment all writer’s hope for, being able to say that you have a publisher, right? So, why has it taken so long for me to share it with my readers?
I have to admit that my stomach did flip-flops when the contract arrived. I read over the whole thing and then set it aside for a few days, while I let the reality sink in. I actually had a publisher offering me a contract on a book that I wrote. Wow! It had been three years since I first signed the contract with my agent/illustrator that would start the illustration process. Although, at least a year of that time was a delay brought on by the death of my son, I was beginning to wonder if this day would ever come. Now here it was.
I was thrilled and excited once I convinced myself that it was the real deal, and I began to research what should be included in a publishing contract. All the legal terminology was pretty much mumbo jumbo to me. I wrote my illustrator/agent to verify that the parts outlining the illustrator’s share of the profits, (always assuming that there will be profits), were not in conflict with the contract I had signed with her three years ago. She assured me that it was not. After doing some online research, I was satisfied that what I had in front of me was a fairly standard publishing contract, which required me to do nothing unreasonable. As the author, I am expected to make promotional efforts, as is more and more common in these days of digital media, but the publisher was committing to do their share as well. It seemed fair. Finally, I gathered my courage and visited a notary, so that my signature could be witnessed and all would be official.
So why wasn’t I crowing from the rooftops, announcing this joyous occasion? Although I was pleased with the way things were going for the book, I was still hesitant to make the official announcement. I think perhaps it was because the projected date of release is October of 2012. That seems so far away right now. I have friends and readers that have been with me since I started this quest three years ago, that are patiently waiting for this book to come out, so they can get their copy. How do I tell these folks that have stuck by me that it’s going to be almost two more years before they will have that opportunity? Those that wanted a copy for their child or grandchild may find that the child in question has advanced past the age when Heather Hummingbird will bring screams of delight. I have to admit, it is a little disheartening.
But, it made me realize just how long this whole process of getting published takes. Sure, I had read the tales of other authors, which give lengthy wait times between start and the actual release date, but I don’t think it really sank in for me. I still envisioned my book being swept up by a publisher, like a princess being swept away by a prince in a fairy tale. “….And it was read joyously by children everywhere and made huge royalties ever after”. Okay, so maybe I was off into the clouds a little, but the reality of having a contract has brought me right back down to earth. Don’t get me wrong. I am pleased that I do have a contract and will wait for the release, perhaps a little impatiently. So for all of you that have been waiting with me, we have a ways to go still. Hopefully, that group will grow over the next two years, so if you haven’t been waiting with us, but would like to now, I welcome you. When you read those authors that are telling you that it takes time to be published, believe them. It does. All we can do now, is wait.