Saturday, July 14, 2007

No complaints from me!

Over at Pubrants, the site of a very sensible and entertaining literary agent, Kristin from Denver says in part:

Tip of the Day: In the course of your publishing career, know that one or all of these things might happen to you at some time.

1. A Bad cover
2. A low advance
3. A book that doesn’t quite reach its projected sales potential
4. Writer’s block while on a deadline
5. Another author being jealous or spiteful of or to you
6. An editor leaving
7. A contract cancelled

I have been receiving some commiseration about the fact that I have not signed a new contract for a new book, so I think I ought to say this - I am not upset or worried or alarmed. In the publishing world things often happen slowly. I can remember Trudi Canavan mentioning to me at one stage how she was without a new contract ... and just a month or two later she was signing a 4-book contract that would make any writer's bank manager swoon in delight.

Bad things do happen on a regular basis to authors and their books. They are just as often balanced out by the good things, as Kristin points out in her blog post.

I have an excellent series coming up with The Random Rain Quartet. It will sell.
Next month, The Mirage Makers comes out in UK with Orbit Books.
I have The Isles of Glory trilogy coming out in trade paperback in France soon.
Russian readers seem to love my stuff even if the publishers do seem capable of wildly inappropriate covers.
In Australia, the feedback coming in on the Song of the Shiver Barrens seems 100% positive.
I have more than enough positive feedback from all over the world to know that I write good books that readers love.
Hey, with all that, I'm over the moon! Who wouldn't be happy?

I loved Kristen's list, though. Let's take a look at it from the perspective of my personal history...

  • Bad cover
Oh, boy, yes... Bad in the sense that it gives the reader the wrong impression about the kind of book they are buying (chicklit swords and sorcery anyone?), or just plain dull (Havenstar cover).
But I've had terrific covers too. Just wait till you see the Orbit ones...

  • A low advance
Yep, also had that one.

  • A book that doesn’t quite reach its projected sales potential
Yep, all the time...but I am patient.
Besides, not every author can say that they have had some of their out-of-print mass market paperbacks selling for over 110 US$ on the US market and more than 92 pounds sterling in UK!!

  • Writer’s block while on a deadline
No, I can't say I've ever had writer's block exactly. But I have had a book that just wouldn't come out right until way past the deadline.

  • Another author being jealous or spiteful of or to you
No, I can't say I've struck this one yet. Maybe because I haven't been successful enough? Generally, I've found other authors to be tremendously helpful and kind and generous and fun. I've stayed in their homes (thanks Trudi!) and had numerous invitations to do so that I haven't yet taken up. I've had them publicly praise and/or promote my work for no reason except that they liked my writing (Karen Miller, Russell Kirkpatrick, Kate Forsyth, Jenny Fallon, Alma Alexander, Juliet Marillier, to name a few. Thanks guys!). I've had them write blurb for my books with genuine delight (Trudi Canavan, Kate Elliott).
I have heard cases where authors were less than generous to others, regarding them as competitors rather than colleagues, but my experience tells me that is rare, rather than common.

  • An editor leaving
Yes. The publisher of Havenstar had a perfect rash of editors leaving.
And an editor's departure is why my German translation of Isles of Glory is languishing.

  • A contract cancelled
Hmmm...not yet. I am wondering what will happen with the German translation, though. Keeping my fingers crossed it will be rejuvenated.

Getting published is a wonderful up and down ride, never dull. I'm not complaining.



No comments: