We had an awesome Toronto Romance Writer's meeting this weekend. It was an author panel and the organizers selected a varied group of authors who, I felt, were all very honest and very real. The focus of the conversation was on goals - which in these changing times - is a pretty interesting and fluid conversation. Making money writing books used to mean New York houses and best-seller lists, but that's all changed and when I thought about what I would do if I was starting out in publishing right now - I honestly didn't have an answer. Would I still target Harlequin? Digital first publishers? Self-publishing? Man, the options make my head spin, and everyone you talk to has a success story and a cautionary tale.
But, I did say on Saturday that there is nothing NOTHING like working with an editor you trust and respect. The kind of trust and respect that comes from a track record of working with other authors that they have helped make into super stars, and the kind of trust and respect that comes from working together over years. If I was hiring someone would I feel the same way? I am not disparaging the many talented editors for hire out there, I am disparaging myself - I'm lazy and don't want to change things unless I have to - would I feel like I had to if I was paying someone? If I disagreed, as I often initially do with my editor, would I sort myself out until I agreed with them and did the right thing? I've got no answer.
And as I was thinking on the way home, part of publishing process that remains thrilling and affirming and special is being chosen. Being chosen by an editor or an agent. Getting the call, having a professional gush over your work, I tell you what - that shit never gets old. And there are a lot of writers out there who have worked hard to be chosen, never got the call and have struck out on their own with great success and to them I offer my heartiest and sincerest fist-pumping congratulations - way to own your decisions. Way to stick to your guns and preservere.
But to those authors who wrote one book that didn't get chosen and then they turned to self-publishing - you're selling yourself short, I think. Being chosen is still a very worthy goal, but it takes a lot of work.
I don't know what I'd do if I was coming up in publishing now and, honestly, I'm glad I'm not - too many options paralyze me. But being chosen is still a worthy goal.