Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Be Prepared For Change

A lot of authors will often ask editors and agents about what they see as trends in the near future. Of course this question always results in giggles and laughs from that panel. For you see, we cannot predict the future and we cannot tell you what trends are going to work and what trends are not going to work. But, today, instead of focusing on that issue of trends, I want to look at this industry from the standpoint of the writer.

This industry is always changing. Literally, what was happening at the first of the week can be different than what is happening at the end of the week. OK, maybe not that fast, but you get the point.

Now, in some cases, the changes will be like those sudden shifts in the weather. You just can't do anything about it and you get stuck in the eye of the storm. An author I represented a while ago had a great book. In fact, this book sold to an editor in 11 days from when I put it out there for consideration. Things were looking really good. Yes there were a couple of bumps in the road (she changed editors in the middle) but everyone at the publisher had been on board with this so it wasn't an issue. What happened, however, was something she just didn't see coming (nor did the publishers or the authors). Her book had already been shipped out to the warehouses of the major book stores and was slated to go on schedule... And then Borders shut their stores.

In a short time, the outlet for her book, the places where people could buy that book dropped by over 50%. That sucks.

But there are other changes that authors can be prepared for. What happens when the genre you are writing is simply not a hot commodity anymore? Do you have a back up. What happens when your publisher shifts marketing plans (because of a sudden shift they saw on their end). Do you have some additional ways to compensate for that change?

The point is simple. This market is going to change. Things will happen along the way and you need to be ready for anything. Again, some things you can control. Some things you can't. But the more you can be ready for, the better off you will be.

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