It happens 100% of the time I work on a book project with a new author. The project goes (relatively) smoothly until the book is sent to print. Then, when suddenly all the author has to do is sit on his or her hands and wait for that anticipated proof copy in the mail, nerves start to set in.
Suddenly you find yourself checking the mail every 20 minutes, and running out to greet the UPS guy each time he patrols your neighborhood, then wiping tears from your eyes when he flies past your house faster than a Nascar driver on Sunday afternoon.
And when 24 hours, or even a couple of days pass by and that proof copy isn’t at your door yet, you begin to feel nobody cares about you and you’ve fallen off the face of the earth. One day stretches into three, and three days feels like three weeks.
I’ve published well over 200 books and I can tell you that this happens to everyone, every time. It even still happens to me.
Here’s What You Need to Know about this Part of the Publishing Process:
- It takes time—In our “microwave” get-it-now society, oftentimes we forget that printing a book takes time. With print-on-demand technology, that time is slashed from several months down to mere days, and it still takes a couple of days to print a book.
- You’re not the only one—Contrary to what you may think, you’re not the only author printers work with. The top print-on-demand companies handle thousands of authors’ concerns and orders every day. If you’re working with a coach or service provider in addition to a printer, they need time to give attention to each of their clients as well. Remember this and it will go a long way toward realizing you haven’t been forgotten about, you’re just one of thousands in the queue, and sometimes your service provider’s hands are tied until the printer gets your book in queue, and vise versa.
- Publishing is a lot of work—Some “gurus” try to make publishing seem quick, easy and painless. The fact is, setting a book up for massive sales success requires over 300 individual steps, and any one of those steps is subject to human error. Understand the complexities involved in your project and that your chosen team of professionals is doing the best they can to ensure your book is done right and intended to get you the greatest possible results.
OK, so this all sounds good, but other than twiddle your thumbs, what can you do during this part of the publishing process when you’re watching the clock and standing outside your front door waiting for the UPS stork to swing by and deliver your new baby?
It’s time for you to take action:
- Check your printer—Familiarize yourself with your chosen printer’s guaranteed timelines. If it’s a print-on-demand printer, often the guaranteed printing timeline is 3-5 business days for black and white interior books and up to 10 business days for full color interior books. Don’t expect anything beyond their guaranteed times, and be pleasantly surprised when the timing is much, much less.
- Keep an eye on your calendar—Make sure you know exactly what day it is when you first submit your order. If you’re also submitting a file to the printer (either the first file or a newly revised one), build in a few extra days to allow the printer time to process and properly set up that file. If your book is being published during the busiest time of the year for publishing service providers and printers—August through November—add a good week to every part of the process.
- Start marketing—Traditional publishers begin marketing books well over 6 months in advance. Contrary to what you may have told yourself, you can market a book without having that book in your hands. There’s plenty you can do to build a tribe, get a following, and tease your audience that your book is coming.
Reminding yourself of these concerns and taking the above actions will help calm your nerves and re-center your focus on your book’s success.
If you’ve been in the “waiting for the UPS stork” position with your book, what are some ways you coped and stayed focused on achieving your goals? Share your story in the comments below!