I posted the galley (a galley is an advance reading copy for booksellers and reviewers) of Keep Going on my Instagram a few days ago, and a lot of people said, “April?!? That’s 5 months from now! What the heck takes so long?”
A year from sale to pub date is actually pretty danged fast by the standards of the publishing industry. (For example, I signed the contract for my first book in summer of 2008 and it wasn’t published until the fall of 2010.) What’s unusual is for us to be so far ahead in the process by now. We really cranked on this one.
In the spirit of showing my work, here’s a timeline to give you an idea of how quickly (and how slowly) this book happened:
– March 6, 2014: Show Your Work! is published.
– 2014-2018: My wife has our second son, I publish the journal, then angst for a few years over whether I’ll actually ever write another book again.
– 2016-2018: Country descends into political chaos and I — and almost everybody I know — become depressed and distracted.
– January 2017: Start a daily diary.
– October 1, 2017: Start daily blogging again.
– February 14, 2018: Start working on a new talk about staying creative in chaotic times.
– March 9: Give the talk, hand my literary agent a rough outline of a book proposal.
– April 2: After much angst and work, finish book proposal, my agent submits it to my editor.
– April 10: Publisher buys book.
– May 14: Submit first draft to editor.
– June 13: Submit full manuscript and illustrations to editor.
– July – August: Proof, edit, revise various passes, work up all the extra stuff that goes in the book. (Back matter, lettering, etc.)
– September: Finish proofing, nail down cover and jacket copy.
– A few days ago: Bound galleys arrive.
– Two days ago: Editor proofing “the blues” — printouts from the printer — I suggest a couple of last-minute changes.
– Now – April 2: Publisher must get a 100,000+ books printed and distributed, publicist has to plan 25-city tour, sales team has to reach out to booksellers, retailers, etc., and a ton of other work that I don’t even see has to happen. I must remain calm during “The Gulp,” and try to find something new to work on, while not annoying y’all with news of a book that isn’t out yet. (Also: The world needs to not explode.)