The irony has a metallic taste, and it can make us feel as if we are being pitted against ourselves. Blame, shame, game; what’s your name? In a world obsessed with definitions and titles and appearances, who are we? Who are we when no one’s watching?
When I started my own publishing company, I had the chance to sit down with the owner of the largest science fiction publisher in Canada. We talked about a lot of the arcane details of publishing but most of our discussion was on how to drive sales. His strongest bit of advice was this: “You know what the best way is to sell your books? Have them on bookstore shelves.”
Many authors feel that the only “real” way to publish is to go through the well-established method of querying an agent, having your agent pitch to publishing houses, and then signing a deal where the author pays nothing and gets an advance from the publisher. This is called “traditional” publishing – or trade publishing for short. In this article I’d like to give some idea of what this industry really looks like from the inside.
One of the biggest challenges an author faces in today’s publishing landscape is just trying to understand what’s what. So what actually is what? This article is going to attempt to offer some clarity.
The centre of all publishing is the author. Without the author, there is no art form. There are no manuscripts for agents to pitch, no covers for publishers to design, no books for stores to sell. Without the author, the publishing ecosystem would not exist. So why is the author at the very bottom of the food chain?
Writing is a platform for me to be me, without disguise.
We as writers have a uniqueness of spirit, which is often misunderstood but should be embraced. A writer gives life to things others cannot.
In June of 2000, I woke to find myself partially paralyzed on the left side of my body. It was as if someone had drawn a line down the center of my body and one side worked while the other didn’t. That started a round of hospital and doctors’ visits and tests.
“The best subject,” writes Richard Rhodes, “is always the subject that possesses you once you find it, that you can’t stop thinking about,” but what to do when that subject becomes a disruption? What then? Can an overbearing subject really be considered a positive force?
Final thoughts: stop thinking and start writing and let the story come to me. Based on who these people are they will do what they know how to do and have always done even though it may not be in their best interest.