Tuesday, August 25, 2009

On the Reality of Publishing

Time for a reality check today writers. Let's crunch some numbers, OK? And , for the sake of the argument, I am only going to deal with the romance genre today so you fiction, non-fiction, photography book authors, just bear with me. The numbers sort of work for you too.

Think first of the number of people who are writing books around the world. I'll just leave it at that since figuring that number is pretty tough.

In the Romance Writers of America Alone there is a membership of roughly 10,000 writers out there. I am sure that number varies a lot.

Remember also, there are a ton of other writing groups out there Romance Writers of Australia, Mystery Writers, NINC and so forth. Sure some of these people are in multiple groups but many are single memberships.

Now let's talk agents - A single agent may represent 25-30 writers. Sure an agency will have more but we're focusing on that one agent. With that agent, they are dealing with reading and editing their writers' work, writing proposals for their writers' and so forth.

Now let's talk editors - An editor is going to be seriously multi tasking. Many are working in multiple lines and genres. For each of their authors, they are working with agents, the business department on different types of contracts, the art departments and the final copy editors for each of their authors and finally, if they are a senior writer, are advising their junior editors.

Now let's add in submissions. Regardless of who the editor or agent is, there are submissions coming in on a daily basis. I just read that Nathan Bradford expects 100 new e-mails alone each Monday. Add in snail mail submissions and you have a huge read.

And in all of this, is your manuscript. You may be a published author working with an editor or agent so please remember that there are others around you.

No, I am not trying to bring down people's feelings about the business and no, I am not suddenly on someone's case for harrassing me. I have to say this last one because I have heard from some of you about this. "Wow Scott, you were really tweaked at someone about something after reading that last post?"

This is just a reality check.


1 comment:

  1. I'd add in piracy, Scott, because that's sucking time from writers, editors, and the legal departments of various and sundry publishers. Also, the care and feeding of writers worried about numbers in this economy. Not to mention interfacing with agents and writers about proposals, upcoming option books, etc. Editors and agents are really swamped and my respect for them goes up daily.