Sunday, December 7, 2008

Clearing, and Thoughts on the Industry

As of last night, my second accepted story, Clearing, is online! You can click here to get to it directly (with no way to back out to their main site...I think Abandoned Towers is one of the last of the heavily-frame-laden websites in the web-o-tron), or you can go to the Abandoned Towers site, and click on the Science Fiction section on the left.

I tend to be pretty laid back with a lot of things in life: for example, I program in PHP as a hobby; I know a little bit and can build most any functional thing, but I have no desire to become the best programmer that I can be; it just doesn't mean enough to me to take classes, read books, and stay up late for months-on-end and become a world-class über-programmer...I don't need to see the matrix, I just want to make a button that will generate a report.

Writing, however, isn't that way for me. It's become one of those things that, at least once a decade or so, I will become obsessed with (business was that way for me once, and that took me from being jobless and homeless during a chilly Oregon winter to seven years in business school and, eventually, a VP-level job in banking). I really, really want to do it as well as I possibly can and hope to do it for a living someday, and I love studying other writers' work and sponging up industry knowledge to learn what works and what doesn't.

To that end, as I mentioned to CJ earlier, I have been stalking agent and publisher blogs for a couple of weeks now. This has been a very valuable exercise. In that short time, I've gained some insights into what is selling, what seems to be declining, and general gut-check info from folks who are elbow-deep in manuscripts and New York publishing house drama (First Five Pages-type info). One thing I've learned, which I'm sure is no surprise, is that the publishing world is getting slayed by the economy, and some publishers have stopped, more or less, accepting manuscripts. And that sucks. So, I guess I could have picked a better time to try and get published for the first time; but, I guess it's tough all over (banking is no picnic right now, for sure). But, as one agent wrote, it's a good opportunity to wait out the recession and knock out a couple of manuscripts, submit to agents for, if nothing else, feedback, and keep grinding the axe.

But, I suppose I'm not all that worried about the selling part now, as I am yet to complete a full manuscript. That is definitely putting the cart first, but I guess it all becomes part of the long-term strategy. The important part of writing is...well, writing.

And, like Steve Martin said: talking about music is like dancing about architecture...same goes with writing. So, I'm off to the Land of Words...

13 comments:

Thankful Paul said...

Hello

Catherine J Gardner said...

Powerful story, Jeremy and quite poignant too.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

Thanks Cate...

Hello, Paul, and welcome...

Aaron Polson said...

I second the powerful. The last bit hit me in the gut. Nice story.

Aaron Polson said...

Oh-and as for the industry. Dinosaurs are extinct. I think we will see a sleek, newish publishing industry when the dust clears. More of a speedy little rodent, not the lumbering giant of old.

Natalie L. Sin said...

Sheila was wonderful : )

Jeremy D Brooks said...

Thanks Aaron and Natalie...very kind.

I agree with your assessment, Aaron; it seems to be closely akin to what's happening in the music and film industries. They can't seem to shake off the 50-plus year old business models that served them so wall in the good ol' days. I for one would relish a model where more than a handful of authors could make a good living at it, and the New York Times aren't the only Kingmakers in town.

Robert said...

It's good that you're already investigating agents. Most writers don't, and then complain when said agent rejects their pitch ... usually because the pitch was for a historical romance when said agent only represents sf (or pick any variation).

Anyway, I wouldn't let the doom and gloom of the publishing industry get you down. At least not yet. Me, well, I was supposed to get my new book to my agent last week, but I've been putting it off, because right now I don't see the point ... and I figure (and hope) that the new year will bring some hope once everything gets settled.

What you need to do right now is clear your head of that junk and just write. Don't worry about what's selling, or what you think might sell -- just write what's close to your heart. It's cheesy to say, I know, but that's what you have to do -- write the book that only you could write.

THEN you worry about all that other stuff. :-)

Jeremy D Brooks said...

Agreed, Robert...it can be an unhealthy distraction from what's important. Working in banking, one learns that business is very cyclical...all you can do is keep your hands up, chin down, and keep working the body.

Rob Brooks said...

I'm in the same boat--I don't really have anything to submit to an agent at the moment anyway, so I'm not going to overly concern myself with it. But hopefully I'll still make it to that point one day...

Jamie Eyberg said...

congrats on winning the story critique from Apex! Woot to us.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

SWEET!!! What awesome news! I bid on I think four of the critiques, and it looks like I won the 30k one from Mari Adkins!

happyhappyjoyjoyhappyhappyjoyjoy

Jamie Eyberg said...

That is kind of what I thought!