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Wayne K
12-14-2010, 12:21 PM
If you knew exactly when the media was going to go crazy on a story, and you could sell a book about the person at the center of it, how fast could a publisher put that book out? I mean a rush job.

I know you can't predict the media, but assume it's a done deal for the sake of the question

I saw a book about a girl's life inside a religious cult about a week after the story broke, so I'm wondering, can they do that so fast?

seun
12-14-2010, 02:47 PM
I know what you mean. I often get books at work which seem to be published really fast after an event. For example, I got a book about the upcoming royal wedding last week. OK, this is someything that's obviously been on the cards for a while, but even so, it seems like a rush job to me.

colealpaugh
12-14-2010, 02:53 PM
Not that this is what you're asking, Wayne, but I thought this was sorta funny. 48HrBooks.com (http://www.48hrbooks.com/) offers a same day rush service if you wanted to bang out your own book and sell from your trunk to scoop the dinosaurs.

Wayne K
12-14-2010, 04:17 PM
It is funny.

Srsly though, I read that it takes forever to do, and then you see media hype books in days. Whuttup? I imagine it costs a fortune to do, but if the reward is there, why not?

Alpha Echo
12-14-2010, 04:31 PM
That's a good question. I mean, I have a friend who sold her MS sometime last year, and her book's coming out this coming March. That's about 2 years!

Phaeal
12-14-2010, 05:15 PM
Throwing a lot of money at a project, in anticipation of getting much more money in return, can make it run really fast.

Namatu
12-14-2010, 06:30 PM
I saw a book about a girl's life inside a religious cult about a week after the story broke, so I'm wondering, can they do that so fast?One week isn't nearly enough time to write, edit, page, proof, print, and get the book into stores, not to mention any related promotion to create advance buzz. You'd need at least a couple of months, and I cringe at even offering up "a couple."

Maryn
12-14-2010, 06:38 PM
I've seen books sold in stores about two weeks after the newsworthy event. I'm not saying they were any good, but they were there.

Sometimes, the event can be anticipated--maybe the publisher had books about all the presidential candidates in the works, but only the one about the party's nominee actually sees print--but I'm amazed at the speed on those which couldn't have been.

Naturally, I'm blanking at specific examples, but knowing my reading tastes, the books were most likely those which focused on grisly murders, on display in the section where thrillers are shelved.

Maryn, thinking maybe a Dahmer book?

shaldna
12-14-2010, 07:55 PM
I've seen books sold in stores about two weeks after the newsworthy event. I'm not saying they were any good, but they were there.


seen them here too. you;d be surprised how many there are. I guess at the end of the day a write *COULD* churn out 80k in a week. It might not be good, but it would be done.

Jamesaritchie
12-14-2010, 08:00 PM
If you knew exactly when the media was going to go crazy on a story, and you could sell a book about the person at the center of it, how fast could a publisher put that book out? I mean a rush job.

I know you can't predict the media, but assume it's a done deal for the sake of the question

I saw a book about a girl's life inside a religious cult about a week after the story broke, so I'm wondering, can they do that so fast?

About as fast as need be, but you'd be surprised how often the story breaks from the book, rather than the book from the story.

You write a book. The publisher rushes the book to publication. Sometime before publication, the writer or publisher alerts the media to the real story, maybe with a phone call/e-mail, maybe with a galley or pre-publication copy of the book. If the media jumps all over the story, it looks like the book was written and published almost overnight.

It can also happen the other way, though I've never seen it happen in a week. I have seen it in a month. This usually happens when the publisher knows the story they want to publish, and picks the right writer for the job, meaning a writer they know is both very fast and good.

It's the queue system that slows publishing down. Each book has its own place in line at the publisher, and at the printer. This line is usually from twelve to eighteen months long.

But a good, experienced writer who has the information at hand can write a good, clean book in remarkably short order, sometimes within a week or two, even for a relatively long book. The publisher can then move that book to the front of the line, and editors can do all the work they need to do in a day or three. Then the publisher can pay to move the book to the front of the line at a printer.

Obviously, this won't happen often, and the story needs to be one where getting there first matters, but it can happen with a really important story. If we woke up one morning, checked the news, and found that President Obama and Lady Gaga had fallen in love, and had flown away to some exotic locale together, you can bet a book would hit the stands almost before their plane landed.

Jamesaritchie
12-14-2010, 08:02 PM
seen them here too. you;d be surprised how many there are. I guess at the end of the day a write *COULD* churn out 80k in a week. It might not be good, but it would be done.


You'd be surprised by how many very, very good 80K books have been written in a week. I know one writer who wrote a very good 100K book in nine days. Fast doesn't mean bad, and slow doesn't mean good. Only good means good.

Izz
12-15-2010, 12:17 AM
Fast doesn't mean bad, and slow doesn't mean good. Only good means good.Woah. That's, like, deeeeep, dude.

amrose
12-15-2010, 01:24 AM
wrote a very good 100K book in nine days.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow. Just



wow.

Jamesaritchie
12-15-2010, 02:44 AM
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wow. Just



wow.

It's not really all that amazing when you look into the history of the classics. Shakespeare wrote some monstrously long plays in under two weeks, and did it using a quill. Sister Carrie was written in fourteen days. And some of the really, really long classics were written in under a month.

Genre, even very good genre, can also be very fast. I, the Jury was written in nine days. Max Brand often wrote more than 25,000 words per day for months on end. Georges Simenon wrote most of his novels in eleven days, and some in as little as seven. Walter Gibson, under the name Maxwell Grant, wrote a Shadow novel every eleven days for years.

Hundreds of well known novels have been written start to finish in under a month.

And an awful lot of pure crap has taken years to finish.

kaitie
12-15-2010, 05:24 AM
Maybe they have teams of writers working on it, too? I mean, if you give a team of ten people one chapter each and then have someone edit it for flow, that's going to be a lot faster than expecting one person to do it in a week, right?

Jamesaritchie
12-15-2010, 06:24 AM
Maybe they have teams of writers working on it, too? I mean, if you give a team of ten people one chapter each and then have someone edit it for flow, that's going to be a lot faster than expecting one person to do it in a week, right?


That's a faster way to write a bad book, not a good one. I've seen several attempts to write books this way. None of them turned out well.

Jstwatchin
12-15-2010, 06:51 AM
A lot of the media *breaking news stories* actually appear to be quite predictable/predicted. That's why we sometimes have to sign monstrously thick documents written in legalese before starting work, putting us on embargoes about anything we see until the publicists deem the time right (and the money making tools lined up) to actually break the story to the cash carrying public.

shaldna
12-15-2010, 02:20 PM
You'd be surprised by how many very, very good 80K books have been written in a week. I know one writer who wrote a very good 100K book in nine days. Fast doesn't mean bad, and slow doesn't mean good. Only good means good.


this is true, however a lot of these books are about court cases, murders, cults etc, and would normally require a lot of research. one has to question the validity of that research if it's been done and the book written in a week.

that said, you're right that there are some very good books that have been written in a short space of time.

Libbie
12-15-2010, 08:05 PM
That's a faster way to write a bad book, not a good one. I've seen several attempts to write books this way. None of them turned out well.

Oh, I don't know. I thought Atlanta Nights was spectacular.

Jamesaritchie
12-15-2010, 08:26 PM
this is true, however a lot of these books are about court cases, murders, cults etc, and would normally require a lot of research. one has to question the validity of that research if it's been done and the book written in a week.

that said, you're right that there are some very good books that have been written in a short space of time.

Research is often the easy part, especially when court cases are involved. There's usually only one writer, it simply works best this way, but there may be a dozen researchers, each trained to find information in a hurry, organize it perfectly, and lay it all out in order.

Research is as good as the researchers and the sources. Newspapers are a good example of this. I have no clue how newspapers work today, but journalism was one of my majors in college, and I worked for a newspaper while in college, and briefly for another once I graduated.

A breaking story sometimes meant doing research and writing a ready for press article in only a couple of hours. Writing fast is something you just have to learn to do, and so is fast research. It's about sources, contacts, knowing how and where to get the answers.

But you'd be surprised at how many stories are researched and tracked on an ongoing basis, just in case they do become newsworthy. The files on celebrities, politicians, cults, spectacular but unsolved murders or thefts, etc., would often do the FBI proud.

These files may never be needed, but if one of them turns into a story, you're ready to go.

With a court case, of course, if it's big news, you start writing the day an arrest is made, and you were probably gathering information the moment the crime was made public. The book, other than the last chapter, is often ready to go long before a verdict comes in. I remember once such book that took a slightly different slant and was published a couple of weeks before the verdict came in.

Even a fair number of fiction writers employ researchers. Sometimes three or four, plus make contact with assorted experts in several fields.