Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Life at the Top

I heard an interesting story last week from a writer in response to my last post about indie presses.

This writer, call him Bill, said he knew of another writer who was out promoting her memoir. Her publishing company was demanding that she submit her finished novel immediately even though a) it wasn't finished and b) she was in the middle of promoting the memoir--another work published by them!

This is what I've always suspected about life at the top echelon of publishing. (Again, I don't pretend to know what goes on there.) At a certain point, a writer has an agent, an editor and a publishing house all waiting for this work that the writer claimed would be done at a certain time. Throw life into the mix, and any writer will find that those expected writing goals, under even less tense circumstances, get pushed back and back. I imagine writers are so excited to make it to the big leagues they overestimate their rate of productivity, and once they realize how far off they are, they start making concessions with the work. Submitting the thing will make her agent and her editor happy, and it will net her a check sooner. What's not to love?

This is probably not what unpublished or self-published writers want to hear, but succeeding in big publishing is no magic elixir to increasing your productivity, and it certainly isn't going to solve all of your problems. Quite likely, it will take away from your productivity and bring more problems. You will have more demands on your time, more pressure to succeed, less time for the rest of your life, and more of a need to get that check from the publisher as soon as possible. While getting a check from a publisher is great--I hope to get one someday--all of these circumstances may not add up to the best possible environment in which to write novels.

So, while being self-pubbed or un-pubbed has its drawbacks, it also has its advantages. You have all the time you need. Take advantage of it, and make doubly sure that novel is absolutely pristine before it goes out the door.

Yours in laying down the law,


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Lexi said...

I've wandered here from Jane Smith's blog, where yours is the ONLY book to be highly recommended.


Art Edwards said...

Thanks, Lexi.

I was thrilled by Jane Smith's review earlier this year. She liked Ghost Notes so much she invented a category for it! What more could I ask for?

Glad you stopped by.