Friday, July 10, 2015

Five years

My first book was published five years ago, and I got to know many authors whose first books also came out that year. I belonged to four debut groups (two that focused on 2009 releases because my book was originally supposed to debut in 2009, and two for 2010 releases), and I've followed the careers of many of those authors with interest.

What I've seen is a variety of paths since then. Many of those authors have published again under their own names: some traditionally, some independently, some both. Some have published under pseudonyms. Some have switched genres; some have tried work for hire. Many have taken breaks from writing, and returned to it. There have been changes in agents, editors, publishers. Some of those authors have had bestselling books; others have vanished from my radar.

Most of us hoped, when we were starting out, that we would beat the odds and become the major bestselling authors, the household names. We knew most of us wouldn't, but that any of us could. Failing that, we hoped to do well enough that we could keep on publishing what we wanted to write.

After my debut novel came out, Borders closed, ebook sales increased, and self-publishing became easier. Social media platforms have mushroomed. My first agent left the business. My first editor left my publisher. I've received negative reviews and starred reviews. I've had a book translated into German. Like many other authors, I have now self-published a book (Loner in the Garret: A Writer's Companion). My first book is out of print, except for the ebook version. My second book didn't sell as well as my first initially, but does better than the others nowadays.

Most of this stuff, I didn't predict and couldn't have seen coming. The funny thing is that publishing is a very slow business--it can take a long time to write a book, and even longer to see it through the publishing process--and yet so much has changed in just five years. I wonder what the next five years will bring?

9 comments:

  1. Jane Yolen has written that no one wants to call their book "midlist," but that's the reality for most authors.

    Among the changes in the industry was the economic crash of 2008-09, during which many publishers folded or were swallowed up by bigger publishers. Lots of editors lost their jobs. Also there were fewer slots for new books on the downsized lists.

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    1. Yes. It felt like the (publishing) world was shrinking by the month.

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  2. Wow! Five years have passed since I first met you online? It's been great watching how things have evolved.

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    1. Believe it or not!
      Here's to more good years ahead for both of us. :-)

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  3. Wow....has it really been five years since I read The Secret Year?

    I don't know where I'd be in five years...but I hope to still be writing, whether I'm published or not.

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    1. I suspect you will be. Writing is a famously difficult habit to break!

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  4. Wow....has it really been five years since I read The Secret Year?

    I don't know where I'd be in five years...but I hope to still be writing, whether I'm published or not.

    ReplyDelete