World enough and time

The journey from concept to actual book is an interesting one, in large part because of just how long the road really is—a book sold tomorrow could be scheduled for publication as many as three years in the future. This means, for the author, that a book you are querying right now might not appear in bookstores for at least two years, but could take as many as five or more years.

There are plenty of reasons why this time gap is an important thing to consider for an author looking to find the right agent and/or editor.  Catching a genre trend early, or covering an important political or historical event requires a certain amount of foresight and predicting the unpredictable. Seems simple enough, no?

The point is, as agents we have to do the same amount of predicting when deciding what projects to take on. We can’t necessarily choose a project that is just like what’s on bestseller lists right now, but rather something that we believe will be there in two or three years from now.

So for authors, alternating between being hard at work and waiting on everyone else must become the norm. I certainly don’t envy you—I’ve said many times before that I don’t think I would have it in me to do the same work you all do.

So this is yet another reason why I have a considerable amount of respect for the process, especially the part that writers and authors must endure, and the craft to which you all devote your time.  In the end, it’s not just the writing, but also the journey from the written work to the published book that makes it all worth it.

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