Friday, October 30, 2009

Talk about scary...

Tip of the day: Have a safe and happy Halloween!

I can't stop thinking about this blog post by agent Kristin Nelson.

In case you don't want to click over (but I hope you do), she talks about how editors are saying very complimentary things about manuscripts, but in the end, declining because they don't see it as a "big book." She also says, "mid-list authors are getting hit the hardest - especially when it comes to option proposals."

Um, yeah. See, I am one of those mid-list authors.

So what does this mean?

It means I feel a lot of pressure to make the next book fantastic. Incredible. Out of this world awesome.

Except, I don't know if I'm really capable of all that. I will certainly do my best, which I do each and every time, but in the end, I don't know if I write the kind of stuff that equates to a BIG book.

I guess I just don't really get it. I mean, I understand, publishers have to make money. It all comes down to the bottom line. But books that aren't "big" can make money for a publisher too, can't they? Of course not as much as a book that hits the NYT list. But if I've earned out, aren't I making money for the publisher now? And surely they must realize, on some level, it's impossible to have a list comprised completely of bestsellers. Unless a house decides to have a very, very small list. And part of me wonders if maybe publishers will move to that? Which is sad because there goes a lot of choice in what we have to read.

In the end, I suppose we have to try and put all of that out of our minds and focus on the only thing we can, and that is writing a damn good book.

Yeah, it's scary out there. But pass me a Snickers fun-size bar, please. I have some writing to do.

~Lisa, Miss Crafting a Career


Emily Marshall said...

You can do it Lisa. I'd hate to think they are passing up on so many great books right now. It definitely is alittle scary.

C.K. said...

Lisa, I know how you feel. I'm constantly getting freaked out by stuff like that and issues that threaten the entire industry (like piracy). But I only want to write the kind of books i want to write. I guess if I can't get the kind of books I want to write published then I don't really want to be published. Hmmm.

But it seems to me that your books have lots of popular appeal so I hope your worries are unfounded . Because if you have reason to worry I might as well either stop writing right now or start self-publishing.

Kristina Springer said...

Wow-- yeah I guess I can see them moving toward just a few big books. Especially when you walk into a bookstore and see like 8 rows of Twilight.

Kate Fall said...

But how do you know at the early drafting stage of a novel whether it will be a big book or not? It's not like people walk around saying "Pffft, I knew I was outlining a best seller." Well, not seriously, anyway.

Don't take scary news too much to heart. Don't be the writer's equivalent of parents who never let their kids go out alone. It's easy to get discouraged in this line of work, but hard to maintain the ego needed to write anything. Declare a news moratorium if you have to!

Jeff said...

This reminds me of an experience bike riding with my kids when they were young. We were at a park where the bike trail had some spots with deep gullies right next to the trail. My younger daughter, about 5 and on training wheels, was so scared of the gully that she would lean away from it- thereby steering right into it.

A length analogy to say that - publishers are frightened of e-books, yet acting in ways that will accelerate their adoption.

NYT list books are not the only ones people read. As mid-level authors flock to e-publishing because that is their only outlet - readers will steer that way too, further eroding the traditional marketspace.

Lisa Schroeder said...

C.K. - I have to believe that maybe, just maybe, books for kids and teens are still going strong and the demise of the mid-list isn't quite as bad in our area. Kristin reps both adult and YA, so I'm hoping she was talking more about the adult side of things. But who knows. Like I said, we just have to keep writing. Keep doing what we do and hope for the best.

Kate - The thing is, I can't not write. So I'll keep doing what I do, and hope for the best. I just really hope publishers stop going down this road at some point and realize variety is the spice of life!

Jeff - excellent analogy. You are so right, that's exactly what will happen, I think.