I recently read a debut novel by an author that was written and published within three months (give or take). Now I can barely write a book in three months, let alone edit one completely and get it ready for publication. But I know there are lots of other people out there that can.
Even just a few years ago, if someone would have posted on a blog that they were sending a manuscript into editors or agents after that short of time, they probably would have gotten many comments that told them to back off and wait until it’s revised more. And for many people it would have been good advice, since it probably wasn't ready to be submitted—especially if it was the person’s first attempt at writing fiction.
Then if it did end up getting accepted by an agent, there were likely to be months of revisions, and then if it was accepted by an editor there would be months of even more revisions and then a long wait for it to come out as a finished book.
No way would a book have gotten into the public’s hands in a short three-month’s time. But the rules have completely changed now.
Self-published authors are increasingly getting quicker with their release times to meet their reader’s demands, and having an author debut a book in that amount of time is probably not that uncommon now.
Some of the books might be horrible, but in the case of the book I mentioned, I greatly enjoyed it. And I wasn't alone because it didn't take that book long to become a New York Times bestseller and then eventually get picked up by a traditional publisher and then published with them almost as quickly.
Now, I don’t think this author’s story is the norm, since it’s very hard to get on the New York Times bestseller list no matter what route you take to publication. But it is interesting that you can become so popular, so quickly, without essentially paying your dues as a writer first.
It's very similar to how American Idol, the Voice, etc. can turn someone who has never sung in front of a group into an overnight success. Generally the public likes that feel good story of instant success, probably because everyone wishes it were them in some fashion.
Also on those shows, the people who have had a recording contract before are usually given tons of bad press, because the public feels like they had their shot and didn't make it so it’s time to move onto another person. I think that’s tremendously sad, since people are getting bashed in the media for essentially working hard and never giving up on their dreams of more success.
Since publishing seems to be closely following behind the music industry, I hope that doesn't become a norm with publishing—that you are essentially punished for having one book that doesn't make it. I think on some level it already does happen, since if you have poor sales your publishing company might not pick up another book. But usually there are other routes for you to go. And now that Indie publishing—just like Indie music—is becoming easier to navigate, there’s always that route to go to find success as well.
--Emily, Miss Querylicious