10 February, 2012

What's the Deal With... Editors These Days?

I just got an update on my Facebook feed that, sadly, I haven't been paying much attention to lately. John Marco is one of my favorite authors. If you haven't read the Tyrants and Kings series (beginning with The Jackal of Nar), you really should. It's got a wonderful blend of grey as far as characters are concerned. It's hard not to root for the bad guys at some points and hate the good guys at others.

Anyway, and the reason for this post, John Marco reported through his blog (The Happy Nerd) and on Facebook that he turned in the manuscript for his latest book, The Forever Knight, over a year ago - in October 2010 and his editor still has yet to read it. Why does this keep happening? Not long ago it was Ian Tregillis having problems getting things going with The Coldest War, book two in the Milkweed Triptych.

(Cover for The Sword of Angels)

I can see having a publishing schedule and I understand it's a long process, but come on. You haven't even read it yet? Not only is it disrespectful to the author who's put their blood and sweat into the writing, but it can't be good business. But then again, maybe everyone's just going with the George R.R. Martin formula, the longer you wait, the more you sell right?

As you can imagine, Marco is pretty frustrated with the whole situation as you can see in the comments on his facebook page. In responding to some fans who are eagerly awaiting the next book, he writes:
I can't wait either, but waiting is all I've been doing since I turned in the manuscript over a year ago! I'm still waiting on my editor to read it. It's frustrating as hell, but I'm glad you're looking forward to it.
Well, we've at least been given a tentative date for The Forever Knight, as Marco writes:
My next novel, The Forever Knight, will be published in November by DAW Books. It’s been a long wait and I’m looking forward to finally holding the printed book in my hands and seeing it in stores.

Please check this space from time to time for updates. I’ll also be posting an excerpt from the book within the next couple of months."

This was posted mid-January, but the comments about the editor not having read the book are from yesterday. I don't know if that's just to appease the author/fans for now because it seems like you'd need to get the process going pretty quickly if you want to meet that release date. I can say I'm looking forward to more from a really underrated author.


Bibliotropic said...

Wow. Just... wow. I can understand people getting busy, stuff getting in the way, priority shifts, all that stuff. It's part of life, and thus part of work. But holy crap, that wait time is just unreasonable. If the editor can't meet his responsibilities, then is there some hard-and-fast rule that says he can't pass the work along to somebody else in order to speed up the process and not keep the author waiting? Poor form, seriously!

Midnight Philosopher said...

Bryce, thanks for posting this. Reading it was somewhat cathartic for me ;) There's not much I can do about the situation except wait. Even my agent seems to have given up pushing my editor at this point. I do know that they've hired a cover artist for the book, so hopefully that's a good sign.

Todd Newton said...

Had to comment on this, being a fan of John myself. I'd be re-reading Eyes of God now except that I've loaned it out... guess I'll just have to buy it again.

It's flat out ridiculous that things take so long in this industry. Then again, I can't even get my publisher to respond when I "book" them an interview on a popular site like SFFworld. God forbid I ask what my sales figures are. (Maybe I need a new publisher? Not that the first one was easy to get.)

Bryce L. said...

Obviously this situation is pretty bad, but what's the norm for a book deal when you've already published?