Thursday, May 21, 2015

Carpe Diem in the Publishing World

Things change. In publishing, things change overnight. When you least expect it, when you thought things were going one way, the industry suddenly shifts and takes off in a new direction. It is, at those moments, that the successful writers make that quick shift and take advantage of being in the right place at the right time.

Paying attention to the things going on around you in this business is key. We listen to what the professionals are say. We watch trends happening in the world around us (outside of publishing), and when that shift happens, we jump.

But there is a catch to this.

The successful writers are not "starting" a new project when that shift in the industry occurs. IF they have something that works. IF they are in a position to move with the industry, they will move. These successful writers know they are not always going to have something or be ready to move right there and then. But if they do, they are ready.

I bring this up because I do see far too many authors who try to "seize that moment" and move with the industry, but the problem is that they are starting projects when that shift occurs. Take, for example, the sudden rise in YA and New Adult. All of a sudden, publishers saw the need to jump on this market. There were buyers of these books and the issue of supply and demand came into play. The supply of authors was low. Some authors had books that could easily be shifted to this market. A few tweaks of a current work in progress, and they were ready to go. But the vast majority of authors had nothing, but figured they would "start something."

Now many of these authors are probably not "banging out a book" in 30 days, so when they finally get that book ready for market, the editors and agents already have shelves of books ready to go. These newer authors are confused. "But I thought they wanted these new books and now they say they are already flooded with projects? What happened?"

The thing is that it took these authors too long to seize the moment.

So how do we remedy this? We go back to what all of the editors and agents have been saying for some time. Write what you know. Write what you are good at. If the market is not ready for it right now, just hang on. The odds are it will shift soon and your books will be ready to go.

It also requires you keeping an eye on things going on around you. Be ready to make those moves, and, as you are drafting that next work in progress, think of how the books has some flexibility.

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