Let’s get real, shall we?
I’m a bit off kilter today. Some of it may be related to seeing ‘The Last Jedi’ last night. No spoilers from me, I loved it. Even if I’m still feeling a bit of shock from the ending. To be honest, that’s a sign of excellence. The team – actors, writers, producers, director, all of them – elicited a huge emotional response from me. The author side of me is in awe, and appreciative of what kind of work that took.
I want to get real, though, about the current state of publishing. This is 2017, almost 2018. It is not 1983. We no longer have to wait a year between hard cover and paper back releases. We don’t live our lives at a leisurely pace. It’s go-go-go, do what you need done, move on.
Authors are still seen as celebrities, yes. There’s that sense of glamour associated to the job title. That hasn’t gone away.
What needs to go away, however, is the overly entitled, egocentric, petulant attitude of authors who think they’re running the show. When, in fact, they are not.
Don’t be the diva. Don’t email publishers and agents, demanding that your every whim be granted. Because you haven’t earned it. No one in this business gives a crap if you have appearances in your local area and sold over 1,000 copies over the course of five years. You know why? Because anyone that actually TRIES to promote can do those things.
You want special treatment? You want to have publishing executives cowering in fear if they upset you? Then go sell 1 million copies on the first day of your release.
I did the math. I’ve sold over 2,000 copies of my books over the last 5 1/2 years. I KNOW how little money that actually is. I know that, the reason I did get that much is because I worked my fingers off and promoted. I kept writing. I worked WITH my publisher instead of making unreasonable demands that I didn’t have the sales to back.
What sells books, beyond a good story, is name recognition. It’s that magical moment when readers look at your name and recognize it in relation to books. That. Takes. Time.
So, no, I’m NOT going to quiver in my boots if you scream at me via email that your book needs to have a certain font that’s not our standard. Or that us not promoting your book over the 1,000+ other titles we have is treating you poorly. The industry is now built on the success and instant availability of ebooks. It’s built on home shopping that makes it possible to order a book today and have it on your doorstep tomorrow. Your title is competing with up to a thousand others that got put up for sale on any given day.
The successful authors of modern fiction. The J. K. Rowlings and Stephen Kings. They’re not jerks. They are the top 1% of the business and don’t scream and make threats to their publishers or agents.
What the Hades do you think gives you any right to be verbally abusive to someone simply because your expectations were unrealistic?