This is not at all a trivial question. As with the editorial decisions of any publication, there is a long-standing tradition that editors spend years or even decades writing manuscripts, and publishing them. For most literary works, that may mean years or decades at the most. Editors have to weigh many factors to get their final word. There’s a real likelihood that several versions of the book will pass between editors.
The process involves two stages. Before a book’s first submission, I consult a series of literary agents and managers, whose interests I carefully track. Then, I consult with editors to determine how long it will take me to write the book, how many chapters I’ll write, and how many different writers will be involved. In this way, everyone is involved: the agent, the editor, the publisher, the publisher’s copy editors, the various writers involved in the book’s publicity campaign, the agents, the publishers, the reviewers, the publicists, the literary agents, etc.
At this point, the actual process begins. I will try to answer each of the following questions about a book:
Is the book fiction or nonfiction? Can’t I just call it nonfiction, like The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?
Do the chapters have an official title?
How many people are involved in the writing of this book, and when?
Can I get the text of the book from authors other than the author and their editor?
How much of the text will the book feature?
Does this book use typical publishing conventions?
How many pages of text does it cover?
Will the book appear in print?
Is this book written in prose, or, for example, as a series of articles, essays, or interviews?
How many different types of editors are involved in the editing of a book?
Will this book be published in hardcover or paperback?
I also look at whether there is any significant competition or overlap in the market for the book. For example, what is the average number of copies of this book sold in the past?
Is this book about any current events, or something that occurred about the year 2006? If it’s about current events, is it in a literary tradition (e.g., The King In Yellow, The Great Gatsby, A Man In Charge, etc.) or a non-literary tradition (
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