Monday, April 25, 2011

A Little Reminder

I’m well aware my decision to forsake traditional publishing puts a glass ceiling over any writing career I might have, and I’m good with it. I’m even better after what happened today.

I want to state up front this is not a diatribe about agents. Agents have it tough now. The foundations of their business are set in quicksand and they’re getting squeezed on one side by publishers who want more out of authors all the time and on the other side by authors who think a book contract will buy them a villa in Capri. The agent I’m about to discuss is highly respected by everyone I know, including me. We’ve met, shared a couple of drinks in a small group, and my writing has always received a fair hearing. This rejection was complimentary, written with tact, and I have no quibble with the assessment.

It did, however, take the agent seven months to get around to it.

To me, that says more on the state of publishing than it does about this agent, and I’m too old for this bullshit. I’m fifty-five, and life is too short to live on gossamer-thin hopes that take the better part of a year to spin out. I don’t burn like I did as a young musician. I enjoy my quiet time more than I used to, and I’ve paid enough life dues that I don’t feel the need to wait indefinitely for someone to tell me to jump so I can ask how high.

I understand my path is not the way to fame and fortune; I’m not recommending it to others who may have different goals than I.

On the other hand, I’ve never missed a deadline, and I doubt I will.


Charlieopera said...

Seven months?

You're a saint.

If that's the state of the industry (and more and more people keeping telling me what the Wall Street Journal wrote about last week--ebooks are putting big time pressure on the big publishers), then go for it. You, sir, are way to good a writer to have to wait seven months for anybody to respond.

That is a damn shame.

Declan Burke said...

Dana -

Not sure what you mean by 'glass ceiling'. Well, I do, but such things are subjective. The only real measure of success is to be found inside yourself. Were you to sell 10 million books via 'traditional publishing' and forsake your own principles in the process, would that constitute success? Would finding an audience - small, perhaps, but perfectly formed - on your own terms constitute a more satisfying success, regardless of how your stories get to them?

I'd be inclined to suggest the latter, but that's just me.

Gloves up, chin tucked in, keep punching ...

Cheers, Dec

Dana King said...

Thanks you, gentlemen. Your comments, and interest, are much appreciated.

Dec, my first sentence wasn't as carefully crafted as it should have been. You're right, of course, and I've phrased it better elsewhere. "Success" is a word defined in the mind of the definer, and I'm on the path toward mine.

Mike Dennis said...

Seven months? You're lucky he/she responded at all.

Nowadays, you know, it's all the rage among agents to refrain from any kind of response (it's way too beneath them, don't you know, and then there's that pesky time spent sealing and mailing your SASE). This absence of a reply is supposed to constitute rejection and you're just supposed to snap to that.

Is it any wonder that with a business model like that, their business is evaporating around them?

Welcome to the world of self-publishing, Dana, where you, like I, won't have to grow old waiting for these people to respond.

JD Rhoades said...

I hear you, Dana. I'm 49, got one kid in college and another headed there, and I haven't got time to wait for New York to get around to noticing me.

The downside of course, is that now i'm waiting around for readers to notice me, but I'm making a few bucks and having some laughs in the meantime.