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Top 5 tips for dealing with delays

Funny thing about the publishing world. It involves people. No matter how defined a deadline is, say for a release of a novel, there are still ways to delay its release. Editors get sick. Editors go on holidays. Writers get sick. Writers have family issues. My first novel The Bird With The Broken Wing was mutually delayed by 2 months by myself and the publisher after a death in my family occurred.

So many things can lead to the delay of a novel's release. Some delays are unavoidable. They're also a normal part of publishing. But they are not without consequences.

It's not just publishing that experiences delays. How about that flight that got bumped? I once waited 5 hours for a plane to have its engine changed over. Other travellers have had worse - like tsunamis or blizzards delaying their plans.

The point is that delays are a part of life and writers have to deal with them as they would any other delays.

Most writers these days do a lot of their own promotion. They have to. We simply don't have a team of publicity people at our disposal and publishers typically have one, maybe more for larger publishers but by no means are there hundreds of marketing gurus rushing around promoting our works. So this small team has to promote the books most likely to make the company money. We have yet to venture into the world of Star Trek where money is obsolete and we do things because we love them. Until then, money talks.

So when a writer sets up their promotion and there is a delay, it can mean losing our spot as a guest blogger, losing our spot for the cover reveal, losing money if we've paid for a blog tour and then can't produce the goods. It can also mean dealing with fans who have eagerly awaited the release as recently happened to Ally Shields, author of the The Guardian Witch Series.

Other books in the series are: Awakening the Fire (#1); Fire Within (#2; Burning Both Ends (#3); Blood and Fire (#4); Fire Storm (#5).

"Today I'm fielding inquiries from readers who expected to buy the book,"  said Ally. " I hate to disappoint them. I write on a schedule with personal goals and deadlines. Anything that interrupts that schedule throws off everything else - works in progress, marketing, social media. They're all interconnected. Hundreds of hours and significant money goes into planning a book release, which includes contacting bloggers, writing blog posts, coordinating purchased promotion, arranging contests and prizes. Delays often mean you lose money and have to start over in the planning process. But my biggest concerns are using up the good will of other bloggers and most importantly - disappointing readers." 

Ally's sixth book in the series was bumped from a Sept 5 release to an unknown date. Having an unknown date is possibly worse than having a release pushed out for a month. The unknown is hard to plan around.

Sometimes, though, the writer is the cause of the delay. The release of a novel? George RRRRR Martin's (makes me want to speak like a pirate when I say his name) A Feast for Crows was published five years and two months after the previous volume due to complexities arising while writing the novel. Then he went on a four month signing tour at the request of his publisher and the next instalment, A Dance With Dragons, was delayed in writing and release by another five years.

So, sometimes writers can fail to launch - i.e get writers block, but more often than not the delay is beyond our control. Much like that airplane that needed a new engine was beyond my control. We must practice patience and self-control and sometimes make sense of the senseless. Maybe we'll use the experience in our novels. maybe we'll tell ourselves what our mothers and grandmothers used to say "good things come to those who wait."

Top 5 tips for dealing with delays of the publication kind:

1. Valium: Okay, maybe not valium but you know what I mean. I've never taken prescription medicine but I've heard it's good to calm the nerves. Usually when a delay occurs such as a flight cancelled, I'm far from a doctor to request a sample of the stuff, but the concept behind something to settle the nerves is a good one. So grab a cup of tea. Go have a nice, long lunch or a long walk, sit on a beach. Walk away from the cause of the delay and hopefully you'll leave the anger behind and return with a clear head.

2. Read a book: Thankfully, writers are the kind of people who always travel with a book. Even if we're writing a book, we've usually got a book on the bedside table or coffee table or writing desk. Taking our mind off a negative task and pumping it with positive energy will help reboot us for the damage control we'll need to do to get our book promotion back on track. Reading a book can help us remember why we're doing this.

3. Move on: Sometimes easier said than done, but delays occur. Life happens. Shit happens. Be like my dog and scratch some grass over that shit and move on. Keep writing, keep posting blogs, keep updating the website. Just keep going. Put on those big girl panties and slap a smile on your face and never let them see you cry. Okay, so maybe that's a bit OTT, but you get the point. It's not the end of the world, we need to keep moving to avoid becoming stalled for good.

4. Eat chocolate: Chocolate fixes everything. A tummy ache, a broken heart, a cancelled book release, trouble can be fixed with chocolate. Chocolate has healing powers. It goes great with red wine and reading books. Chocolate will also never roll its eyes at you and complain that you're complaining too much. chocolate will never get up and walk away from you mid conversation. Chocolate is your friend.

5. Catch up with friends: Talking with real friends is a great way to vent about life's problems. Let's face it, we all need to vent, so do it. But just choose the correct platform so that it casts you in a positive light, not a negative one. Remember that social media sites are open to the public so what you say on Facebook can be read by a potential publisher.

And finally, before you go, here's your chance to win a signed novel.
All of September and October 2014 I'm giving away one signed copy of my first novel The Bird With The Broken Wing. Check out my website for details or enter via the rafflecopter form below.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.

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