The New Speed
Today, the world changes more quickly in a year than it did previously in fifty years.
Talking with a man who writes books for a living a few days ago, here's what transpired in the conversation. He was telling me that he submitted his manuscript to the publisher and was waiting for the interminable delay that's associated with that process.
I remember this well, as the process I experienced in 1983 was what follows.
The manuscript was submitted. It was usually sent to one, perhaps two, at most, publishers, at a time. It was considered unethical to send to many publishers at once. You can see how authors spent, lost, years of their lives in the process. This was my fifteenth submission, as the previous fourteen were rejected. Some of the rejections were hairsbreadth, the publisher saying that they loved it, but their quota was full at the time, so, if it wasn't taken up in the next 12 months, to come back to them.
That was what we might call an encouraging rejection. Anyway, this fifteenth submission went out, and two months later, after the usual morning vigilance around the letterbox, day in, day out, I got the notice of acceptance in the form of a phone call.
The manuscript had been first sent out just three years previously. It took anything from two months to three months to get a final decision. So, the average send-out and return was about two to two and a half months. Fifteen submissions represented thirty seven and a half months. That's three years and a bit.
When the book was accepted, it was scheduled for publication in hardback.
Twelve months later.
If the book sold well over the next 6 to 12 months, the paperback edition might then be offered to a paperback publisher, or done by the original hardback publisher. Either way there was another 8 to 12 months wait for the paperback edition. This was my experience In 1983.
Consider the difference 40 years later.
Today, an author sends her completed manuscript by BCC email to 40 publishers at one time and can expect replies within 3 to 10 weeks.
When the book is accepted, and the deal done, it can be available in hardback, paperback, digitally, large print, and even in braille, to the world, that is, globally, within another six weeks.
I say this to indicate the speed at which we live today. That’s only one tiny indication.
Everything is changing so quickly that we find ourselves adapting, or trying to, not only physically , but mentally to the New Speed.
And in spite of the New Generation being born into it, the pace of life today is something to which we haven't yet adapted.
And it may take a while. And that's why we need to make our own pace, and keep it. Otherwise the world and it's accelerated tempo will batter us into a burnt-out, frenzied wreckage in which we end up serving technology rather than the other way round.
Let the body relax and deliver.
Let the mind go quiet and calm.
With the power of a free flowing river
And the peace of a Sunday-time psalm.
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