I'm excited to have her guesting today on The Writer's Alley with her usual blend of charm, humor and wisdom. Here is Erica....
If you’ve spent any time at all pursuing publication, you know changes happen. Predicting them is impossible, timing them even more so. I’ve often asked myself ‘How can something that moves as slowly as the publishing industry change as quickly as the publishing industry?’
When you first start out as a writer pursuing publication, the wait just about kills you. Waiting for an agent’s approval, waiting for a publisher’s offer, waiting for your release date. Slow, slow, slow. Nothing ever changes, nothing ever will.
But consider how quickly things can happen in the publishing industry. Amazon began selling books online in 1994, revolutionizing how many people purchased their books. It’s only been five years ssince Amazon introduced the Kindle, completely changing e-readers and e-books. The e-book side of publishing has exploded in ways and directions unforeseen. Publishers, agents, bookstores, and authors are scrambling to establish a ‘new normal.’ Changes are rampant in the publishing industry. Publishing houses close, consolidate, are bought and sold, editors leave, editors come. It’s impossible to keep up.
And industry-wide changes aren’t the only changes an author can expect. In the last six months, I’ve been told the line I was writing for was being closed and my last book wouldn’t be released, then was told the line was in the process of being sold and my last book would be released. I’ve been informed that my agent was moving to a new agency and I needed to decide if I was going with her or if I was staying with my current agency. My publisher let me know one of my books that was scheduled to release in June would now release in December. And these changes that have happened to me recently aren’t as heart-wrenching as those some of my author friends have experienced. They’ve had book contracts cancelled, been dropped by their publisher, had their agents quit altogether.
So how does a writer handle all these changes that seem to come willy-nilly and in bunches? Here are three tips I’ve found helpful:
1. Take a deep breath. There are always those out there who are sounding the death knell of publishing. In fact, I recently read an article that said ‘publishing is in love with its own demise.’ The end of the publishing world as we know it had been foretold, lamented, and mourned. And yet, here we are, still plugging away. Books are being published, contracts are being issued, readers continue to buy books. Take a deep breath. It will be okay.
2. Educate yourself. You have nothing to gain by cowering in fear. If you wonder how e-books are affecting the book industry, ask questions of those who know. I had lots of questions this past fall about publishers offering free e-books on Kindle. How was this affecting sales of other books? Was the plethora of free content available keeping folks from buying books? So I asked. I talked with my agent, with my publisher, with industry professionals, and with other authors who had books free on Kindle. By gathering information and advice from industry professionals who knew what they were talking about, I was able to allay my own fears and get some questions answered.
3. Expect change and know that not all change is bad. If you dove into writing for publication because it was the most steady and secure employment you could think of…you’re in the wrong business! In this industry, you must expect changes and prepare for them as best as you can. Nothing is certain, and many things are out of your control. Rather than wallow in fear and uncertainty, prepare yourself to roll with the changes. Keep an open mind about whether a change is good or bad. That isn’t to say some changes might not be painful or that just by expecting change, change will be easy. But my own experience has taught me that by being open to change, being flexible, and not basing my self-worth on being or getting published, I can better handle the inevitable changes that being a writer brings.
How about you? How do you handle changes in the publishing industry? Have you had to adapt and change when things don’t turn out like you plan?
My latest release:
|A Bride's Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas|
About the Book: Hoping to leave the shadows of her shady yesteryears behind, Adeline Reid is focusing on her photography career. But when her ex-boyfriend’s compatriot in crime shows up in Dodge City her entire past is threatened by exposure. Can Addie keep her secrets while helping to catch a killer? Deputy Miles Carr’s investigation into a shopkeeper’s murder leads him to Addie’s door. Will his attraction to this female photographer keep him from catching the true culprit? Or will Addie lead him off course in more ways than one?
Author Bio: Erica Vetsch is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and reading, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical fiction set in the American West. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two terrific teens, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.
Casey here again. What are your concerns about the changing market? Do you fear trying to sell your book with so many seemingly fickle and rotating demands?