Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Politics and Publishing

Politics in business. We all hate it (or like it if we are on the winning end). Publishing, like every other business out there has its share of politics. We see it in how publishers deal with agents, selecting some over others depending on likes and dislikes. We see it in how agents deal with publishers, avoiding some over others depending on the politics. We see it in publishing organizations. It is everywhere.

My grandfather was in the Methodist ministry and we always talked about the level of politics that happened within the church as well. His comment however, in an attempt to avoid getting bogged down with all of the politics, was simple. He kept his eye on the prize.

With publishing, that prize is to be published. Writers want to see their book in print. That is the end goal. That is the prize we shoot for. If writers take the time to focus on that prize, and spend time each day pursuing that prize, the chance for that success becomes even greater. Now, when I say pursuing that prize, I am talking about building your craft. I am talking about promoting your writing. Not getting involved with politics.

What am I referring to? Simple enough. The endless chatter on loops about people playing favorites with someone else. The quiet meetings at conferences talking not about the books and the industry, but people. The personal blogs, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter chats and the like, that always end up spreading rumors like wild fires. Although the conversations are always in the tone of "just inquiring" or "just between the two of us" we all know that it never stays that way. The other thing we forget is it has nothing to do with "OUR" writing.

When you sit down at that computer today, or when you go to the next writing group meeting, consider what you are doing and why you are doing it. Before you say, write, or do anything, take the time to ask "What is this doing to promote MY writing, or to improve MY career." Taking someone down a couple of notches, or slamming someone else does not advance you in the least bit.



  1. Very true. I hate dealing with politics in any form. I'd rather just write. Good idea though, keeping our eye on the prize and working hard to obtain it.

  2. Odd when you say it this way, but the extremely large world of punlishing really does have that small town curse. Everyone knows everyone.

    It's because we're a specific group and everyone is interested in what everyone else is doing/writing. You can go from one loop to another and see the same names popping up.

    You're so right about wasting time with gossip or bad comments. Kind of like in the small towns - if you ignore and refuse to participate in the gossip, sooner or later it stops being offered, and more often than not, you gain some respect along the way.