Some Interesting Differences Between Print Publishing and Electronic Publishing (And A Slight Delay)
I spent so much time studying how print publishing works, but e-publishing is a whole other world. A print book from a major house may take 18 months to get from the signing of the contract to the first copy sold at a bookstore. An e-book can, in theory, get from the contract to the first sale in about 4 months. Cutting out the printing, the binding, the warehousing, the shipping, the stocking of shelves, etc., cuts a lot of time out of the larval stage of a book's life cycle. Whereas authors and editors involved in print publishing have to live in fear of missing deadlines and throwing off their press's publishing schedule, there's a lot more wiggle room in e-publishing. Booksellers don't, or at least don't yet, impose drop-dead-dates on all the folks upstream.
Which is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, when life happens, you don't have to run yourself quite as ragged. On the other hand, when you're working with a small press, and both author and editor fall afoul of Murphy's Law simultaneously, you can watch your release date recede into the unknown. We really thought Closing Arguments would be out on May 5th. Now we really think it will be out Sometime In May. Everything's okay, it's just getting to better-than-okay kind of slowly.