Blogger: Mary Keeley
Just when we think the industry might be settling down for a while, we learn of another publishing house acquisition here or discontinuation of a line (usually fiction) there. Add staff changes and career re-directions to the mix and you get a more complete impression of the publishing roller coaster. Writers can genuinely enjoy the journey if you are prepared.
If you keep up with industry news, you’re probably aware of at least some changes. If not Steve Laube listed most of them on his blog two days ago, here. Since then I’ve learned about two more changes, which haven’t been made public yet, and an announcement by Barnes & Noble that they are entering the print-on-demand market with the launch of Nookpress.
It’s enough to make us dizzy. Perhaps more than ever before, you need an agent to advise you, negotiate for you, and act on your behalf, because things can slip through the cracks in the midst of so much change. Following up on proposals sent to editors who have left a publishing house, checking up on the PR department to be sure a client’s review copies have been sent out, double-checking product descriptions on distributor sites—these are some of the things that occupy an increasing amount of agents’ time. Writers need to be more involved in checking up, too, and keeping your agent informed when you suspect your editor, designer, marketing or PR teams may have fallen behind on their plans.
Serious matters to be sure, but a view from the bright side is the best way to actually enjoy navigating the topsy-turvy publishing industry. Life experiences have a way of refining a skill that will serve well to meet future challenges, big or small. Let’s have some fun today. Looking back, share a past experience that taught you to develop a new skill, which you use to this day in your writing life. It can be silly or significant. I’ll start us off.
When I was a busy mom with very young children, my oldest daughter came home from first grade one day and told me she had to stay back at school while the rest of her class went on a field trip. The reason: I had forgotten to return the necessary signed permission form. I felt awful for her! That was a turning point for me. Overnight I became an organized mom with a PLAN for every day and never neglected a permission form again. I can laugh about it now because I see my drastic mom-failure reaction from a big picture perspective. Today, the organizational skills I acquired so quickly, and continue to hone, serve me well in my agent role, helping me to keep up with the constant change and even enjoy it.
Okay, your turn. Maybe your experience gave you an overcoming attitude. Maybe it prompted you to learn a skill you need in your writing life. The story you share might instruct, comfort, encourage, inspire, and help to prepare someone else to ride the waves of the writing life with greater ease and enjoyment.
Life experiences prepare writers for the publishing roller coaster. Click to Tweet.