Monday, June 29, 2009

The World Is Not Fair

I am sorry to break this to you, but the world of publishing is not fair. I know, this comes as a shock to many of you, but it is true. I am bringing this up today because of recent conversations floating out there in cyber space. Writers complaining "But Writer X got this and I didn't." or "How come that agent is able to do this and this other agent can't." or "My book is just as good as this other writer's story."

It seems that I can't go a single day without a new comment that flitters across my twitter (had to use that line, it worked so well) of some new complaint. Look, the world is simply not fair.

One thing we have to realize is that every situation, and I really do stress, EVERY, is different. There are a lot of circumstances that we simply do not see or hear about in any element of the process of the book getting to print. The key word we are working with here is VARIABLES. You remember that math term that discussed a number that would change from one situation to the next. The same thing happens here.

For example: An author pitches a book to an editor but, only has one book and a couple of follow up ideas. They may get an advance that is less than someone who might have 3 books ready to go. This doesn't mean that the second author gets a higher advance, but it might simply be a different re-structuring of the contract. Both might get a three-book deal, but the dollar figure is different since the publisher doesn't have to wait on the future projects.

For example: Agent Z seems to be able to get stories to Publisher G on a more regular basis than Agent W. Does this mean that Agent Z is better, or has better authors? Not necessarily. Agent Z may have been around longer and has done more work with that publisher. That agent might just have the knack for knowing the right voice specifically for that publisher.

What we have to remember is that we don't know all that goes on behind the doors. For that reason, we can't just assume that everyone is starting from the same place or heading in the same direction. Now, is it frustrating when you see someone else getting what you want? You better believe it, but it is not a reason for getting angry about it. Remember that there are others that are looking at you the same way.


1 comment:

  1. You’re right. The publishing industry is not always fair. Agents/Editors don’t always make great choices. Sometimes terrible writers get published. Sometimes they even become New York Times bestsellers (i.e. Stephenie Meyer, Sherilynn Kenyon, Cathleen Coulter.) A lot of great writers get over looked for months, sometimes years (Jack London, Stephen King.) Sure they are famous now, but it took years, and several rejections, for them to reach that level of success. Should that upset you? No. That’s just life. If you can’t accept that, then you don’t need to be in the industry.