Well folks a few weeks back in an expression of exuberance I wrote that No News is Good News. I wasn’t at liberty to reveal I’d been sent a pub contract.
I heard what every author longs to hear: I love this!
With the state of publishing in flux and the Big 6 dwindling down to the Big 5 and Amazon gobbling up a chunk of the bookselling market and e-books at the point of outselling physical books (waiting for the most recent stats on this), I, the writer, the maker of “content”, am even lower on the literary food chain than ever. The writer above all is analog. Soon to be irrelevant. Akin to an antique.
Then on Thanksgiving weekend I received an e-mail informing me that the publisher was pulling the contract.
I know I’m not the first person this has happened to. I know of many writers who have even gone through revisions with editors only to be told their book project has been decommissioned, dropped from the list. Or, I’ve known writers who have gotten through revisions and their book is slated on the publishing calendar and then they learn through an e-newsletter that their publisher has been sold and the list is being “reconsidered”.
No wonder more and more writers are turning to Create Space or self-publishing through Smashwords, etc. Even when I had a contract (for those 2 ½ weeks) I knew that any and all promotion would be up to me. That’s how it is these days—unless you are the celebrity author with a ready-made platform.
Needless to say I was not thankful.
There are so very few tangibles in a writer’s world. Even words are nothing more than abstract letters on a page. The magic exists in a third dimension, along with the paranormal and miracles. I belong to the dwindling congregation that believes in the power of story. Books saved my life. I read to relax, unwind, and forget. Forget the world of commerce and financial aid and student debt. My contract certainly wasn’t going to release me from indenture hood, but for a few glorious weeks I carried a secret that buoyed my spirit, confirmed my passion, and gave me some inner confidence and credibility.
Okay, back to the grindstone. More than ever I feel like the Little Match Girl, peddling stick matches in a world of Bic lighters.