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16 October 2008 @ 09:50 am
Winter all around.  
It's cold outside, and while that is literally true today, I'm not just talking about the weather.

I've been reading 'industry blogs' (meaning the publishing world) for awhile. I'm not sure exactly how long, but for as long as I've had various authors, agents, and editors friended on LJ, or had their non-LJ blogs bookmarked for my morning coffee. The list has grown over the last year, and they're among my favorite blogs and journals to read. Reading about the writing experience from other authors, or the road to publication from agents, has been invaluable. Sometimes things I already know are reinforced, sometimes I learn new things, and sometimes it's just fun reading.

But as with many things in these frightening economic times, the last couple of days' reading has been....depressing. Yesterday, pubrants talked about the possible effect of the economy on publishing, though it was still a hopeful enough post, I read it and thought "okay". A lot of commenters brushed off the doomsday attitude of the article she had linked to as part of the discussion. See, I thought, not so bad.

This morning, Jessica Faust of Bookends posted her thoughts on the economy and how it will affect publishing. It was a much dimmer view. Some quotes, which particularly pertain to writers like me - as yet unpublished, but actively looking for an agent:

"Authors are going to start to seeing lower advance numbers and, yes, lower royalties. And everyone is going to take fewer risks. It was hard to sell a new unpublished, unproven author two months ago, imagine what it must be like now."

"In plain English, it’s going to get a whole heck of a lot harder to get and stay published. Agents are going to take fewer chances."


Let me preface this by saying I completely respect Ms. Faust, and I love reading her blog every morning. I don't think she's wrong. I think she is stating some cold, hard truths, or at least strong possibilities of truths, for the coming months or possibly years. I think it's something people don't necessarily want to hear. I know I don't want to. I want hope. I want to be told "Oh, the economy won't change your chances of being picked up by an agent, or getting published." But realistically, that's probably just not true. The economy will change a lot of things, and I'm sure publishing will be among them. I hope Ms. Faust is wrong. But I don't think she is.

Which started me thinking. I've really had a good feeling with Nemesis. I've had more of a positive response with this one, early on in querying, than I had throughout the query process for Dark Vision. I feel very strongly, very fiercely about it myself. I was feeling pretty hopeful, daring to dream some pretty big dreams. Then I read things like that and think "Wow, so what does this mean? The longer this economic crisis continues, the farther my chances fall?" My plan, such as it is, is to finish draft one of Consort for NaNo this year, or come darn close. (Unofficially, since as an already in process draft, I won't be able to officially participate.) Then I'll have the first two books in what I've always envisioned as a space opera series completed.

So, this morning as I drove in to work, I asked myself the really tough questions. "Rhien, what if nothing ever comes of them? Seriously, what if worst case scenario, you don't ever get an agent, and never get published?"

Well first, that would suck, no lie. It's been my dream since I was twelve and decided I could write books. I don't remember the book I was reading, but it severely disappointed me, and in my head, I rewrote the ending. I was always making up stories in my head, anyway. From there, it was an easy leap to think "Hey, I could write books, too!" So I did. It was awful, of course, but we don't need to talk about that right now. The point is, being published has been a dream for nearly two thirds of my life. Accepting that it might never happen has NEVER been an option. I've kept confident that if I just keep going, keep trying, keep writing, it will happen. But this made me stop and think - "Okay, worst case scenario, it doesn't. What do you do?"

To my surprise, the answer was very quick. "Keep writing, of course! Maybe take up podcasting the books, or something, so you can share them with people. Being published and successful is of course the ultimate goal, but sharing your stories and entertaining people with them is the largest piece of that goal. But you'll keep writing, and telling stories, and trying to get published. Eventually the economy will shift the other direction, and things will open up again."

My inner voice was surprisingly cheerful about it all, while the rest of me was biting nails and cringing at the bleak possibility of the future. So yes, apparently I will keep writing no matter what, and one way or another, will be sharing that writing with the public. I guess we'll see where the current queries and the like take me, first. Meanwhile, don't panic and keep working on Consort.
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Nuquiet_rebel on October 16th, 2008 05:00 pm (UTC)
Rhien, what if nothing ever comes of them? Seriously, what if worst case scenario, you don't ever get an agent, and never get published?

I've had that thought this whole week! Thinking about what if nothing comes from all my writing, going back to school to get my masters, attending workshops, etc. But like you, I just keep writing because that's all I can do. I can't control the economy, but I can control what I do with my time and energy and if I choose to write, I'll do it!

Don't forget e-books too. That's another alternative.
rhienellethrhienelleth on October 16th, 2008 10:07 pm (UTC)
Indeed! I'll keep writing even if only my core group of beta readers ever cares, I think. :)

E-books are definitely on the rise. Though I doubt I'll ever let go of the dream of holding my bound book complete with glossy cover in my hands. :-)
The Proverbial Bull in a China Shop...: Cameron hopesabaceanbabe on October 16th, 2008 05:20 pm (UTC)
That is a very healthy attitude. And you should keep writing because you're good at it, regardless of whether or not an agent or a publisher ever picks you up. (I'm confident that you will be picked up, though. For Nemesis. Which will make it that much easier for Consort. Yes.)
rhienellethrhienelleth on October 16th, 2008 10:09 pm (UTC)
FROM YOUR MOUTH FINGERTIPS TO GOD'S AN EDITOR'S EAR.

Or an agent's. I guess that's usually the first step, and it's who I'm currently querying, so yeah, we'll say an agent's ear. ;P
xlanaxlana on October 16th, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC)
i've had an agent since january and nothing's happened. i think i've stopped hoping on Maggie and her red pillow.

with your writing, i think it's a case of not being able to NOT do it. no matter how exhausted or in pain i am, i have to dance. it actually takes concentration to sit still. in your case, it's probably the same with writing. if you were to stop writing for a day or two, the words would find their way out somehow. sleep-typing, eating alphabet noodles, something.

can't wait to read Consort.
rhienellethrhienelleth on October 16th, 2008 10:13 pm (UTC)
i think i've stopped hoping on Maggie and her red pillow.

Oh, honey - I think it's the agent, not Maggie, you ought give up on. She still has The North Wind on her to-be-read pile after what? Two years? Two and a half? Add that to the evidence of your situation, and she is clearly not a proactive sort of agent. You should politely dissolve your association and query others!

I don't want this situation to break your writerly heart. :(

Mmmm, yes. I tried not writing for about a year and a half once, after MY writerly heart was broken. I ended up writing fanfic. The words, they must come out, and they find a way to do so.
"Connoisseurs of Difficulty"kistha on October 16th, 2008 07:04 pm (UTC)
Well, I'll keep reading for sure!
rhienellethrhienelleth on October 16th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC)
Hee. :D I knew you would! If all else crumbles, I know you, xlana and sabaceanbabe, my friends L and Paula, and my Mom and sister, will all still read what I write.

You hear me, girls? If publishing collapses, I'll be relying on you for an audience to pester write for!
Naive, but cuteschneck128 on October 17th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC)
i think that's a great outlook. There may be multiple paths to the same goal, but they can be equally as fulfilling as the one you went in with. Actually, I think it's quite mature to see that. So there! ;o)