Saturday, March 26, 2011

Can't Complain...

Well, I can, but I (Donis) shouldn't. I'm an author who is actually published by an actual publisher who is actually very good to me, and that's a thing much to be desired these days. Last week I moaned about having to do so much PR, yet the truth is I don't do that much in comparison with many other authors. One of my blogmates on the Fatal Foodies website, Gayle Trent, whose new book Murder Takes the Cake comes out tomorrow, just posted a schedule of her upcoming blog mega-tour, and I nearly fainted from exhaustion just looking at it. I feel as though I spend all my time writing as it is, and not on a new book, either!

On this very blog, Rick most convincingly argued that internet promotion is infinitely more cost-effective and probably more effective altogether than personal touring. Amen to that, though most of us agree that conferences and touring are a lot more fun. Yet if you spend more money traveling than you make in royalties, how is that good?

It's been brought home to me quite forcefully in recent days that the fast-changing landscape of our business and the poor economy have just as badly affected those of us who write as they have musicians or teachers or house builders. Even the very well-known and well-established among us are running scared. Will we be able to carry on doing this thing we love? Who knows? The future feels like a dark and threatening place right now. There seems to be no help for us in the Business, nor loyalty. Publishers drop your wonderful series because it doesn't "sell to expectations." (It might sell to expectations if you had supported it in the smallest degree, you knuckleheads.)

Those of us who are hanging on are so happy to be published at all that we're afraid to complain about anything, even ill-treatment. Late royalties? Bad covers? Disadvantageous contracts? Have to get your own reviews, buy your own ARCs? At least you're published! (No pension, reduce your salary and benefits, no health plan, no union? Kwitcherbellyachin! At least you have a job!) It's hard not to be depressed about the whole thing.

So what to do? It's not like I have an answer. All I know to do is do the best I can, enjoy the ride while it lasts, and count my blessings. If nothing else, I have the pure joy of storytelling, which I had long before I ever was published. And after watching the little French storyteller in Aline's post of yesterday, I'm reminded that that is certainly the happiest, and probably the most important, reason to go on.


John R Corrigan said...

AMEN, Donis! Thanks for the pep talk. We all need it.

KD said...

Wow, there is so much publicity over self-publishing and kindle, that it's also good to see the flip side of that from an author who's published by a traditional publisher.