Thursday, May 2, 2013

Being Published Is Not Simply A Privilege

I wanted to start with a definition today. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word privilege is defined as follows:

A right, advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by an individual, corporation of individuals, etc., beyond the usual rights or advantages of others; spec.  (a) an exemption from a normal duty, liability, etc.;  (b) enjoyment of some benefit (as wealth, education, standard of living, etc.) above the average or that deemed usual or necessary for a particular group (in pl. sometimes contrasted with rights).

So, why am I bringing this up when it comes to publishing? I started really thinking about this when I was thinking about authors who have been contracted to write and have been published. Now it is time to consider looking at future books and contracts. I have actually heard authors being totally shocked when their new books are not picked up. What happened?

We have to remember that as authors, we have to continue to produce for our publishers and to make sure that the work continues to be good. Just because you have been published before does not immediately guarantee an author future contracts or different deals.

This same idea also extends to an author considering moving to a new publisher or a new line. This might also be the case if an author has had to step away from the publishing scene for a while. For authors in these situations, they need to expect that there is a pretty good chance they will have to approach this new venture just like brand new authors. Not always, but you cannot expect that special privilege. 

As an agent, if we have an author coming to us that has been previously published, we do look at that work. We do consider how much they have done in the past and when that work was done. But, we will often want to see something new from that author to make sure they "still have it."

In the end, the expectation is still whether or not the author has a great story, with great characters and so forth. The writing still has to be good. 

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