Monday, November 3, 2014

Crazy and Just Getting Crazier by Linda S. Glaz



Between my first conference of the year and the last one this past weekend, I’ve come to one conclusion: no one in the industry has a crystal ball. No editor, no agent, and most certainly, no author. No one knows for sure what is going to happen over the next few months, let alone the next few years.
For writers and professionals alike, it’s crazy and getting crazier!
I’ve had the same question asked by authors repeatedly at every conference. Why are debut authors with exceptional works having such a tough time breaking in? Is it all about platform…platform…platform?
Here’s my answer—just a theory, but I think it holds a bit of merit.
Let’s say publisher A has five slots for historic fiction to be filled by other than their own authors. While five eager beaver authors and their agents get proposals ready, two other publishers—B and C shut down their fiction lines. Publisher D cuts its fiction back to bare bones. Two bestselling historic authors are now released from B and C respectively. D has lost five well-known authors, but none are historic. Still, we have four bestselling authors with nowhere to go with their established platforms and loyal followers, established brands, established reputations.
Now, the new eager beaver submissions shoot out to Publisher A. Publisher A responds that all of the submissions are really primo, and the platforms are excellent as well. But publisher A has only five slots for new historic authors and you know what? Four have just been filled with authors who moved from B and C. Why should the publisher turn down well established authors for unknowns, even though the unknowns have great novels and superb platforms? Instead, publisher A now has one slot left for one new author. And dozens of great authors are competing for that one slot.
All the more reason why the writing must stand heads above the rest. It has to resonate in a way it never had to before.
So is it too depressing to continue? Not at all. But realism is important. An author has to understand what they are up against. Primo writing still trumps all else. You must be the best, not the second best.
New authors also have the opportunity to go with well-established smaller publishers who are benefitting from this new industry model. Go with them and work your buns off to build a readership and decent numbers which you can then take to a larger house IF you decide that’s best for you. I have a few friends who have gone with smaller publishers and decided to stay with them. After all, aren’t they the ones who had faith in you when no one else did?
There’s a new publishing model in place. We all have to adjust, or as Ma Ingalls told her daughters: “We have to adjust the pattern to fit the cloth.”
Are you adjusting or simply moaning and thinking of giving up?

27 comments:

Rick Barry said...

Interesting food for thought here. I suspect there will be two likely outcomes: (a) Some writers will work like crazy and raise the quality of their writing from where it's been to a higher level. (b) Some writers will be satisfied with their current writing skill and will decide to self-publish instead of seeking a traditional house.

That guess doesn't mean I consider self-pubbing an inferior route. It's simply an easier option that many embrace.

Tom Threadgill said...

I'm adjusting AND moaning. Or is that not an option? :)

Elaine Stock said...

I've definitely been adjusting my "attitude" toward the changing world of publishing--I don't have a choice, do I? If I refuse to think differently, and as you say--work my buns off--then I'm just wasting my time in front of my laptop.

I love the Ma Ingalls quote!

Again, Linda, thanks for the encouragement.

Linda Glaz said...

I'm moaning along with all of you. And I agree, Rick, it isn't a bad option if folks truly put out extraordinary work and don't just settle!

Janet Grunst said...

Thanks for the dose of reality, Linda. If we believe our desire to write is a calling, that means we also must strive to do the best job possible.

Linda Glaz said...

Yup! Exactly, Janet. We have to write what we are called to write and trust God to put it into the hands that will reach just the ONE person he intended it for. If others read it, so be it, but He knows right where it has to go.

Jackie said...

I'm not giving up yet. I think I feel better after reading this. Sound's like it's not just me struggling.

Thanks for sharing.

Davalyn Spencer said...

Wise words again. Back to editing!

Linda Glaz said...

Jackie, we're all struggling, no matter what part of the industry you are in, there's a def struggle going on. Particularly for debut authors.

Linda Glaz said...

But we NEVER give up, right?

Deborah D. Harper said...

Linda, my Spirit-filled heart tells me to continue at any cost, and my fleshly (worn out, exhausted, frustrated) brain tells me I have a one in a million chance of making it. But then who defines "making it"? If that one person reads what I've written and it makes a difference to them (and God knows just who that is and what it will do for them), then I've made it! Thanks for a great post!

Blessings,
Deb

Linda Glaz said...

Amen, Deb. That's how I feel. Would I love to make a million writing? Well, duh! But is it more important to write the 'write' message? Yes! Even if it reaches the ONLY ONE that God intended...

Karla Akins said...

Never, never quit!

Linda Glaz said...

Absolutely, Karla! Perseverance!

Jean Kavich Bloom said...

I attended one of your workshops this last weekend and came away only encouraged. Thanks for such on-target input!

Linda Glaz said...

Thank you, Jean. I appreciate that. Great conference, wasn't it?

Anne Garboczi Evans said...

Thank you so much for sharing, Linda! And it sounds encouraging that just as soon as we break out of the newbie, bottom of the totem pole status, then we'll be the ones who are hard for publishers to turn down. :)

Linda Glaz said...

That sure is what we hope for!

Diana Flegal said...

Great word Linda. Challenging but doable if we adjust. :-)

Linda Glaz said...

Thanks, Diana. It IS a challenge, but hopefully no one gives up.
Success could be just around the corner!

Joyce Hart said...

I'm really proud of Linda's work, you are a good agent. This is an excellent piece, you are spot on with these remarks. The main thing is to never give up. God has called you to write and He will somehow get your books to the person or persons who need them.

Linda Glaz said...

Yes! Perseverance!

coach mary said...

Work our buns off? Hmmm Maybe that's how hot cross buns were invented.

Thank, Linda, for the encouragement & insight!

Linda Glaz said...

Mary, if ONLY I could seriously work my buns off! LOL I'd be a size 0 by now!

Joy Avery Melville said...

How timely is this!
As much as publication is a dream - writing what GOD tells me to write is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of my career. I was told one time I was trying to FAST-TRACK my work to publication. . .hadn't thought I was, but the other author who told me that also said. . .TAKE THE TIME TO ENJOY THE JOURNEY. . .enjoy? HARD WORK - SEVENTEEN HOUR STINTS IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER SCREEN? ENJOY? Then it hit me. . .my BRAND is Journeys To Joy. . .DUH! I've grown so much as a writer - a person - by slowing down and giving GOD the controls (not that I don't often try to rip them from HIS more capable hands) When God brought me to HARTLINE. . .it was an amazing PART of my journey to joy and this post is just one more reason I can say THANK YOU, GOD! I needed the reminder that tenacity means NOT GIVING UP! Thanks, Linda!

Linda Glaz said...

Yeah, so glad, Joy!

Michael Hicks Thompson said...

Very, very good explanation. Thank you! And, again, congratulations on the well-deserved Agent of The Year Award!