A Tricky Time of Year
It really is a tricky time of year…this second week in December. Why? Well take for example one of my regular authors Robert ‘Bob’ Owen (seen above). Over the years I’ve produced, designed and published several books for Bob and every one has been a pleasure to do, but for some unknown reason we always seem to end up finally publishing his latest book near Christmas. And that can be ‘tricky’. Let me explain.
Bob always writes books that he knows will sell. He knows his readership and his market and having a new book out just before Christmas also gives him an ideal opportunity to ‘give them away as Christmas presents’. That may sound odd, ‘giving them away’ but in all the time I’ve worked with Bob and published his books he’s always had a fair amount of contributors to his books, people willing to give up their time to tell him about the subject he’s writing about or supply him with old photographs or news clippings from the archives. Lots of contributors.
So it’s natural that when he receives his books from Write Good Books he wants to repay the contributors by giving them one of the first books off the presses so to speak. So now we come to the problem. Bob isn’t the only author wanting ‘books for Christmas’. There are hundreds of them, and consequently the printing companies are all asked the same question “I will have my books before Christmas won’t I?” to which the printer always replies “We’ll do our best”.
Now with so many publishers and authors wanting their books in December and definitely before the 25th there is a massive amount of pressure on all the printing companies to get everything printed and out of the works before the big day, and usually at least a week before the big day so the books can be wrapped and delivered as ‘Christmas presents’ .
This year is no different. Bob’s new book ‘Two Huddersfield Cricketers‘ is currently with the printers, and has been for a couple of weeks now. By normal standards two weeks is nothing, but as I say, once we get into the second week of December and the books are not in our hands everybody gets a little twitchy – authors, publishers and yes, even printers.
I’m absolutely certain I will get a phone call in the next few days telling me the books are ready and I can deliver them to Bob, but it’s an anxious wait I can tell you.
So is there a lesson to be learnt from all this? Well, yes, I suppose there is….if you’re an author or publisher and you want your book ‘for Christmas’ then get it finished and to the printers by October! (at the latest)…or else December will definitely be another ‘tricky time of year’.