Saturday, October 23, 2010

On the Madness of Schedules

I've been telling myself lately that I need to blog about what life is like in the penultimate month before publication with a small press.  After all, that is one of the main goals of this blog.  But I also didn't want to jinx myself by making a public announcement that I'll have to renounce a week later.  So, a little serving of my week:
  1. An email from a friend that begins, "I don't want to send you in a panic, but..." followed by some startling information that Barnes & Noble (due to a delay in the publication date) was canceling her book order for Song of the Orange Moons, unless she clicked a link within 24 hrs that stated, "I still want this book."  (I'm glad she still wanted my book.)
  2. Another email later in the day from another friend, referring to the same B&N email, followed by, "I hope all your readers don't have this much trouble getting their copies."
  3. A brief freak-out session in which I envision half the pre-orders through B&N are eliminated because of the pub date delay. 
  4. Panicked emails and messages to my publisher.  She has the presence of mind to ignore my calls.
  5. An evening with my dear friend, Malbec, and her sister, Merlot.
  6. To my long-suffering partner: pleas to take me to Paris for the weekend.  Must get away from the stress. He actually consider this: "If this is what you need..."  (This is one of the innumerable things about him that make him my angel.)
  7. An email from my publisher that says the books are printed and will be put in the mail to me, to her, and to the National Book Distributor early next week. (i.e., calm down, Lori)  A breath of relief, a few jumps up and down, and many kisses for the family.
Fellow Author-dears, don't even try to call the printers yourself to get updates.  You're just the author, and you cannot get information about your book no matter how anxious you are.  Unless, perhaps, you are J.K. Rowling.  So, for those who are interested in the process behind the scenes: Once the book is printed, it is shipped to the national distributors, who, aptly named, distribute the books to the commercial buyers. Then the commercial buyers, such a Barnes & Noble and Amazon, send the books to the folks who pre-ordered the book and to the physical bookstores.  (I think this is right.  I'm trying to wrap my mind around this as I go.)  All this delivery takes time.  But, I hope, not so much time that you won't get your books until December 16th, which is the delivery date that B&N states.

(important side-note: go check your online pre-order to be sure yours hasn't been canceled.)

I'll be visiting a class of graduate writing students next week. Then off to Chicago the following week to read at The Hopleaf Bar.  (Come see me, Chicago dancers!)  And back to Dallas on the 4th of November for the book launch party.  Please visit the Song of the Orange Moons Page for updates on time and location.  In the world of publication, you never know what will happen to the schedule!


  1. Good job at describing the "behind the scenes". I was wondering about it, myself.

    1. Thanks, ecodomwrites. It's ironic that you stumbled upon this post when, in fact, I'm in a similar state three years later, with my new Young Adult novel coming out. This time, the whole process is much more transparent, and I have a great line of communication with the publisher. I still have to remind myself to breathe slowly.