Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Facts of life (no, not the interesting type)

Speaking of John Grisham-- Everyone does understand, right? When you're a NYT bestseller, you can expect, uh, more deference from the publisher/editor/world than lesser-known authors? I just want to make sure everyone understands-- with NYT rank comes privileges. (Deservedly so.)

There are plenty of newer writers who misunderstood that fact of publishing lives and never got very far. I remember, when I was just starting out, a writer who sold 5 books in a single year, and refused to allow any editing at all. The publisher (as the contracts allowed) cancelled all the contracts, and the author was never heard from again, except as a lesson to us all.

What John Grisham can get away with now, he couldn't have gotten away with 20 years ago. And that makes sense-- he's made a lot of money for his publishers since, and they owe him. And he has proved that he knows his audience best, and can reach them and get them to buy. No new writer, however talented, has proved that. The new writer might be exactly right, but the publisher is being pretty sensible too. Some writers really just are more talented and/or more successful and should get a bit more allowance than most. But publishers can't necessarily know that early on.
Alicia

10 comments:

Leona said...

I think your commentors are lighter than usual cuz of the hot debate going on at Nathan Bransford's blog on reading vs. listening.

As for your post, I promise all publishers and editors to not do what that other woman did. I promise if you give me a five book contract, not only will I write my little heart out, I'll listen to, and do most, of the editing suggested.

Plus, I'm more than willing to add scenes to make it fit the appropriate genre. Need more mystery? Done. Action? Done. Sex? Done. LOL Whatever it takes to get my book out.

Bethany said...

I was thinking about that last year, when I read Stephanie Meyer had stopped writing her next book, Midnight Sun, midway through because some pages were leaked online. I mean, she had to have had a contract for the book, so it just shows how wealthy she made her publisher with the four Twilight books to get away with not finishing the next book just because she didn't feel like it or got her feelings a little hurt. Any newbie that happened to would have had to suck it up and write the book anyway. I think SM should have done so, too, but that's another topic. Think she returned that advance?

JenniferWriter said...

When I read the story about Stephenie Meyer, I couldn't help but think it was a publicity stunt. SM seems very genuine and I could see her going off in a huff about the leaked pages but the leak took you just close enough to the Big Scene in the book that it seemed awfully convenient. I'll bet you anything she "changes her mind" about Midnight Sun and finishes it just in time to coincide with hyping the movie release for Breaking Dawn.

That's what I would want her to do if I was her publisher anyway.

Murphy said...

What do they say? Beggars can't be choosers. When I first started my business a hundred years ago, well, maybe not a hundred;), I chased down every possible lead and as the saying goes: There was no job too small or fee too little - business was business. BUT, as I built a solid reputation in the business community the jobs and opportunities started to come to me and pretty soon I was able to pick and choose what I wanted because I wasn't begging anymore. (sigh) Those were the days! Now, I'm back to begging and worse than this? The people who are tell-, I mean asking me :D, to make creative changes are all of what? fifteen years old. Is that fair? I ask you, is it? Nope, but who ever said life is fair? Can it be, when I have gone from a place in my life where I called all the shots and made all the decisions, yes, where my reputation preceded me, to um, a place of relative obscurity? Hey, now that I think about it, it's actually the opposite of the theme song of Cheers. Yeah, cause nobody knows my name. YET. (hehehe)
So, my number one goal in the publishing industry? Is to build the kind of solid reputation I need to make the transition from beggar to chooser.
Wow, I get a shiver just thinking of the day when I can blog freely without someone lurking in the shadows to call me on the carpet for it. I thought I had you beat Marcy (I know you’re reading this) I started to blog late at night when all young children should be in bed. But um, I didn’t take into account (being the old lady that I am) that I wouldn’t be able to maintain that wild schedule for longer than a two night stretch. Crap!:P

Edittorrent said...

Do you remember when Anne Rice made a big deal about how much she hated the idea of Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt as her vampires in the film?

And then she endorsed them? Maybe controversy sells.

Alicia

frohock said...

Boy, Anne Rice should have stuck to her guns on that one.

Controversy does sell, but I don't think it creates sustained sales.

And finally let's look at what happened to Stephen King when the editors let him get away with every precious word and character. 700 page tomes that make the BEST doorstops ever.

If I am ever so blessed as to be published, I hope I never stop enjoying the teamwork necessary to make a good novel great.

Leona said...

Okay, okay, I'm addicted. Everytime I get on my computer, I look for updates from this site. It's only if there's nothing here to read that I look on twitter or other favortie blogs.

Not a problem so far, except I'll recheck my connections and make sure internets working if there's not an update!!

I enjoy a few blogs regularly, but this is the first one that I am almost religious about checking regularly.

Keep up the good work! :)

and can I please get another hit ;;) LOL

Anonymous said...

Fifteen? Flattery will get you everywhere Murphy, except an extended deadline.
M.

Edittorrent said...

Well, I'm not 15. Not in this life, that is. Not in this body. In my soul, I'm 24, but I wouldn't be 15 again, Murph, even for you. :)

Alicia

Murphy said...

Gee, M. I didn’t figure you for having a sense of humor;).

And Alicia, me neither! 15? The trauma, drama and heartache? I don't have the strength. But hey, after I read what you said it got me to thinking. Maybe I’m getting so old that anyone under the age of twenty four seems like they’re fifteen. That’s a depressing thought.