Happy New Year, everyone!
I’m not going to bore you with resolutions that I’ll a) forget about or b)blow off. To me, this is the perfect time to look back on what I’ve done and make plans for the coming year, kinda sorta how businesses do at the end of their fiscal year.
Authors are worried, feeling like they’re being laid seige to with lines and houses closing and consolidating, e-piracy, used book sales, and mean girl reviewers. Oh, and the economy. Now I could easily sink into the mire and wail and gnash my teeth, but I’m not going to. Why? ‘Cause I can’t control that crap. It’s too easy to focus on the negative and get all Eeyore on life. But Goddess, doesn’t that just make y’all tired?
Publishers are not going to stop buying books. That’s how they make money, by buying manuscripts and putting them out there for the reading public to purchase. Maybe they won’t buy as many as they normally would, but when you have folks ponying up 6- and 7-figure deals, you realize publishing as we know it will still continue for a while at least.
Case in point: I found this blog today which I heartily recommend you adding to your daily or weekly industry reading. (And if you as an author aren’t doing any industry reading, please navigate to another webage now.) Mr. Rinzler’s December 31st post was all about two major deals he was outbid on, and why writers should keep writing:
Those of us in the book business are both the beneficiaries and victims of an authentic passion. Editors literally fall in love with books, authors, ideas. It’s our job. I’m always prowling, scouring the print media and internet, stalking writers and creative thinkers at parties and conferences.
I still wake up every morning with acquisition anxiety. If I don’t sign, I don’t thrive.
Mr. Rinzler takes a long view on the publishing industry. The publishing world is changing and it’s an overdue change. As the old saying goes, “Adapt, or die.”
Which brings me to my goals for 2009. I have three titles on tap for this year, all shorts. The first is in the Coming Together anthology that will be out in a couple of weeks. It’s a erotic scifi romance short that I think you’ll enjoy, and the proceeds go to a good cause, Amnesty International. Then I’ll have Carnivale Diabolique, an urban fantasy romance about a travelling carnival that protects us regular folks from the big bads that go bump in the night. That will be late spring. And of course, I’ll be in the next White Boyz installment coming in April.
I’m sure some folks have noticed my swerve into paranormal romance and are either alarmed or encouraged or just curious about it. So I’ll come clean. I’ve been a fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal reader since I started reading. Fairy tales fsacinated me, then comics, then fantasy. Some of my favorite books are books I read as a kid: A Wrinkle in Time, The Left Hand of Darkness,Asimov’s Foundation series, everything by Anne McCaffrey. The Death Gate Cycle by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman is one of my all-ime favorite series. Honestly, the first novel that I tried to write happened when I was 12 and was about three sisters who were protectors of a mystical land–while trying to navigate school: The Seneschals of Kirin. Where my 12 year-old self picked up the world seneschal, I have no idea. Now I’m wondering if I still have those pages in my old notebooks.
But yes, I love fantasy and paranormal. It’s what I read first. If there’s romance in it, it’s a bonus, not a requirement for me. So this year, I’m writing an urban fantasy. It’s a story idea I’ve been kicking around for a while, and I’m finally knuckling down and doing it. I’ve gotten some good feedback on it so far, and I’m hoping to make it my first New York sale. The story allows me to indulge in some of my faves: Egyptology, African gods and goddesses, History International. And I’m having a good time with it, which I think is the important thing.
Does that mean that I’m abandoning romance? No. It means I’m expanding my portfolio, my market. My goal is to be a career novelist, which means at some point having the income from being a writer outpace the expenses of being a writer. And as a writer, we have to push oursleves, and grow. Some venture into romantic suspense. Some try their hand at erotica. But the bottom line is the bottom line. So I’m going to adapt. Because the alternative isn’t something I’m considering.