This month, I’d like to talk about a subject that perhaps doesn’t get addressed as straightforwardly as it should: waiting. Waiting is the in-between step in the book publishing process that I wasn’t prepared for, and it has consistently been a challenge as a manager. You’ve just organized and collaborated with seven other people to copyedit a manuscript, and you’ve sent it through the editing department who kindly collated all eight of your individual documents into one coherent whole that you can pass on to the expectant author—what now? Well, now you wait. And being prepared for that will save you a whole lot of grief.
It can be difficult to anticipate this perceived downtime, but as a manager you will feel way happier and more comfortable if you can remember to do this. Instead of thinking about it like a gap, or an absence of the manuscript (which is still YOUR BABY at this point, no matter how many times you try to remind yourself that it’s not, actually), think of it as an opportunity for housekeeping. It’s time to get everything in order for that glorious return of a new, better, more complete manuscript. What can be accomplished in the interim? The Seven Stitches team, for example, is currently waiting for the return of a copyedited manuscript, which included substantial changes that will require one final cleanup pass before we wrap up the term with typecoding. In the time between handing our editorial comments off to Ruth and getting the manuscript back, we’ve moved forward with marketing documents, mocking up our sales kits, and finalizing small pieces of the puzzle that will make the prepub marketing flow more smoothly.
Another important aspect in treating the waiting period as an opportunity to be productive in new and exciting ways is to remember that while you—the manager or team member—are working on the manuscript, your dear author is the one waiting. Be conscientious! Remember to reassure your author while they wait so they know you haven’t forgotten them. If there are blog posts, or social media endeavors, or community outreach that can be done by an author while you work, discuss that with them! Waiting is the hardest part, but with communication and organization, it doesn’t have to be unproductive.