I wrote a book called The Forest for the Trees and it’s an advice book for writers. For four years, I blogged about the agony of writing and publishing, and the self loathing that afflicts most writers. A community of like-minded malcontents gathered and thus ensued a grand conversation. Now, the most popular posts will now be organized under three headings: Writing, Publishing and Self-Loathing. (This is a work in progress.) In the meantime, gluttons for punishment can scroll through the archives. If I've learned one thing about writers, it's this: we really are all alone. Love, Betsy
Commerce is the altar where many worship, and bean counters are high priests. The measure of virtue is commercial success, and nothing else.
Yes, publishers must survive in a harsh world. But will literature and creativity as we appreciate it come out the other side? Maybe not.
I’m working with a guy who published a dozen techno-thrillers over about 18 years, and was on the NYT best sellers list 3-4 times. One of his newer books didn’t get published, and the last two were self published. The one we’re working on, and hope to get published in the traditional way, may well end up being self published.
It’s the way of things I guess. Big business, big everything. Someone wants to make more money so the little guy gets steamrolled and fucked. Lets be real, we should be used to this by now.
That my agent won’t be able to pin one publisher against another when my books, (plural), go up for auction sure disappoints me. I lay awake at night worrying about that one. That my peanut butter might give me the shits keeps me up too. Ah…I don’t eat peanut butter.
Wry, I’ve got a friend who lives in Micronesia, but is spending lots of time in the USA these days. He adapts well, but marvels at the bigger-faster-flashier thing. It’s funny as hell to go out to eat with him, or to go to the grocery store, and watch him react to the quality and portions. He really does live in a different way, in a different place.
You’re right, we should be used to being on the wrong end of a clusterfuck by now (is there a right end?), but isn’t it nice to hope? Isn’t it cool to imagine that writing is somehow exempt from that larger marketplace, that we can swim in our tidal pool, while the sharks are in deeper water?
Is there a future for small to medium presses? Can they offer writers at least a morsel of success, or will we have to dance with the biggies or just sit?
Years ago when I had to go back to work full time after my kids went to school all day I decided that I wanted to work for a big company but in a small setting. I did that, got the great benefits a big company offers with the intimacy the smaller setting had. It was nice.
Now I work for a big company in a big setting, it sucks.
For writing I want the larger market economically but I also want the intimacy a smaller setting/company offers. I guess I’m pretty well screwed because I want what I want MY way.
Another Frank sang that better than I ever will.
First Frankenstorm and now this. I shoulda stood in bed.
A few months ago my black-hole agent told me that my novel got hung up at Penguin (for a long time) because of a possble merger, and that they weren’t taking on new writers at the moment. They sent a nice rejection, though. I thought she was lying. (She lies a lot.)
I better go to confession or something.
It’s hard, ain’t it hard, to get published anyway, any way. I think when the dust settles, good writing will remain, stories continuing to be told. It’s getting easier and easier to self-publish and the first page, the first sentence, the first word, will ultimately determine what gets read, packed with all the residue urgency of a Neti pot nasal rinse on a late Sunday morning after a Saturday night coke binge.
It really does remind me of the many games of Monopoly I’ve lost over the years. I’m feeling all sassy when I own two utilities, but then my opponent makes a deal with the third party and owns everything from Free Parking to Boardwalk and suddenly, I’m broke.
Fighting hard to keep apocalyptic feelings at bay…have been uber-involved in the OFA campaign in NC and crashed a couple of weeks ago, utterly convinced a second term was slipping away and secondarily that the state of NC was swinging big-time red, but dragged my ass back to the polls on Tuesday to do voter protection at an early-voting site, and got pulled back from the abyss by three wise black women, they enlightened me and made me laugh more than I have in the last six months combined…so instead of canceling the 9 shifts I have left between now and election day, I’m using them as a lifeline to what could/might be…have decided I won’t go down without a fight…not sure there’s a lesson in there that’s transferable to what’s going on in the publishing industry other than to say don’t give up the fight. The world needs infinitely more Betsy(ie)s
Well, isn’t this nice…yesterday I sat in a meeting that informed us of where education was headed for teachers and my first thought was “I’ve gotta find another job,” which means it is really not good, cause I love teaching. Apparently, writing full time shouldn’t be my plan B.
And all that stuff about lack of use of actual books?! Makes me want to unite bibliophiles of the world for a revolution of sorts.
Oh, and another thought while my first post awaits moderation (never had that happen before so not sure if anyone can see it? And I’m not even dropping the “f” bomb) but,…the title of Betsy’s post from yesterday aligns to my thoughts for today and tomorrow and here on out…”Still I Look To Find A Reason To Believe.”
I don’t get it. If you write for money, you deal with whatever the money asks. If you write because you live to write,wtf cares about random penguins? Do what you love and it falls in place. It really does.
Perhaps if all the corporate fuzzy speak weren’t so insulting to our collective intelligence? Way the fuck south is where it all goes. Hasn’t the publishing industry said the sky was falling since only about two hundred years after the Gutenberg printing press? Anyone ever thing about starting a new press?
I hope Betsy and her family were able to seek and find shelter from Frankenstorm Sandy. The news about the storm this a.m. is devastating. It may be some time before we get to hear from her and know how she is…
My little town up here in CT is a very sad place right now. Lots of damage but lots of hope and tenacity. The town personel and how they are handling things…just amazing, our govenor, the best…and I don’t remember if I even voted for him. I will now.
We were one of the lucky ones, power back on in 24 hours. My showers are running and the beds are full for the night. We’re cramming friends and neighbors in, power and water will fill an empty nest everytime.
Not seeing a post from Betsy concerns me. I hope she is well.
Hey Wry – I have relatives in Milford – we are waiting to hear from them. I thought I saw on the news that town was under mandatory evacuation. Plus, one of my cousins has a house on the beach there – not sure exactly but, from what I know, she didn’t evacuate. (wtf)
The lack of a post from Ms. Betsy is a sure sign of no power and Lord knows what else. Same for my agent I have to believe. He lives on NY state side of Long Island sound – and I would imagine the storm surge caused all kinds of problems.
I take comfort in the the fact the death toll is low compared to other disasters worldwide and use it to assume that the people I haven’t heard from are simply offline and trying to make some sense of the damage and how to start cleaning it up. Best wishes, love and prayers to all those in the mess of it.
I was all caught up in the storm’s passage since my daughter lives in NYC (she’s fine, even has power) and then this morning I realized, ‘wait! there’s been no betsy post all week.’ I’m hoping all she is dealing with is no lights, heat or hot water. Uncomfortable but it won’t kill you or drown you.