Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Staying positive in tough times
I recently came across a post at BookEnds LLC, Literary Agency that got me thinking about how our attitudes affect our actions and the implications that may have further down the road. Those of us who write have been hearing for awhile now the dire straits the publishing world is in: how fewer new authors are being taken on or how established authors are being directed to focus on their better selling material. In my critique group and on other writers' forums, the topic often arises of whether we should write the stories that most inspire and interest us, or focus on what is commercially viable in order to increase our chances of publication (that's another sizzling topic for a blog post that Anita Davison covers in her post, Should Authors Write for the Market?).
It's so easy to get sucked into the pervasive doom and gloom atmosphere of the current economy. But as Jessica Faust says in the BookEnds post, instead of worrying about things we can't control, perhaps we should focus on those things we can? She sees the decreased numbers in book sales as a precursor to change. Rather than not taking on new clients at all or foregoing submissions, she's proceeding business-as-usual. However, she is being pickier and demanding more perfection in what she takes on or submits.
While we're all waiting for the logjam to clear, maybe we should take this as an opportunity: to write more entertaining stories, become better at the craft of writing, ask ourselves what people want to read, and explore new possibilities for reaching readers?
Movies, TV and computers still have not killed books. They continue to exist and will indefinitely. What form they will take and how publishing will operate in the coming century remains to be seen. Meanwhile, keep on writing!