We receive frequent letters from readers who are frustrated with the way we publish books. Our deadlines sometimes slip. Projects that we think will take a year end up taking two or three years. Some projects disappear off the radar and reappear later.
One frustrated reader suggested we should change our company’s logo to a marijuana plant because that is surely what we are smoking.
When John and I started Lost Art Press in 2007 we decided that our internal corporate motto would be: “It’s done when it’s done. No sooner.”
This is important to me because I came from the corporate world where deadlines were more important than quality. A book took exactly two years from concept to delivery. Exceptions were rare.
While this is a great way to keep your revenue predictable, your employees paid and your lights on, it is my opinion that quality can suffer in this system.
When I explain this, some respond with this logical retort: Why don’t you stop writing and focus all your energies on getting other author’s books published?
My answer is two-fold: If I did this it would damage my mental health, and many times I’m not the problem. When a manuscript comes in, I drop my personal projects and work on the outside author’s project. So when you ask, “Why isn’t the Felebien translation done?” my answer is, “Because the translator is still working on it.”
We don’t pressure our authors to turn over a manuscript until they are happy.
So it might surprise you to find out that the only book I have in my hands to edit is Andrew Lunn’s book on sawmaking. Everything else is at some other stage of the process. So if you’ll please excuse me, I really need to read about setting saws.
— Christopher Schwarz