Got advice?

Maybe it’s getting an eensy-weensy bit better, but overall the economy sucks. Which means it’s not such a great time to be shopping a book. Agent Nathan Bransford, one of the few bloggers I read regularly, recently put it like this:

“. . .there are very few sure bets in this business. So editors have to be really really really really really really convinced that they want to invest in a project in order to take it on, particularly for debuts, and particularly particularly for previously published authors with a mixed track record.

This means that editors are looking closely at fewer projects. It means that books that editors may want to acquire may not be cleared for acquisition or it may mean that the editor wants a revision and a perfect manuscript before making an offer. It means that authors whose sales have been respectable but not eye-popping may not have their contracts renewed, or if they are renewed the bookstores may only order half as many copies as they ordered for their last book.

No. Don’t… Don’t jump off the ledge! Come back! YOU HAVE SO MUCH TO LIVE FOR!!”

Whew. Thank heavens he tossed in that last bit. Because I know there are a handful of authors with stellar sales records, but if we absolutely have to put it like that, I fear most of us plop squarely into the “mixed” bin.

I started this year looking the economic reality square in the face (I’d tried punching its nose a couple of times, but this a really a big bad boy) and telling myself I wasn’t going to try to sell any manuscripts this year. I’d quit worrying about money, become better acquainted with Value Village, and devote the year to writing fiction I loved without caring whether it sold.

That lasted a few weeks. Then some freelance jobs rolled in, and who was I kidding, really, about turning those down? And I finished one of my fiction projects, a mystery novel for adults – new genre for me – and honest to Pete, I think it might be pretty saleable. Five years ago, anyhow.

So, dear readers, what next? Do I stick with my resolve, shelve my project, and move on to another till the economy and the publishing industry start showing real signs of life? Draft a query and shoot it out to all those new agents who used to be editors till they got downsized? Or follow the good example of writers I respect, like Nick Jans and Ned Rozell, and pub it myself?

I’m all ears.

3 thoughts on “Got advice?”

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  2. Andromeda Romano-Lax

    Deb, I just had this same conversation with another writer yesterday, re: how to deal with pitching a book (or not) at a time when a lot of doors are closed. I have no answers, but hope others pipe in with their own experience or whatever they hear from agents etc.

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