Sunday, April 14, 2013

Gone, Baby, Gone

Remember the record store?

In the wake of Writer's Guild Pres Scott Turow's death of the great American author rant printed this past week in the NY Times, I thought I would take a roll call of those professionals and professional organizations whom I had the pleasure of working with back when I was first published by one of the Big 6 Mega-Houses more than ten years ago now.

--The agent...GONE
--The acquiring editor...GONE
--The acquiring editor's boss (the editor-in-chief so to speak)...GONE
--My marketing manager...GONE
--The office in the Bertlesman building...GONE
--The imprint...GONE
--The independent bookstore where I did my first signing..GONE
--The major chain bookstore where I did my second signing...GONE
--The other major chain bookstore where I did my third signing...GONE
--The other, less popular major chain book/CD/DVDs store where I did my fourth signing...GONE
--The post office from where I used to snail mail my queries and manuscripts...GONE
--The book page in the local newspaper...GONE

...Okay you get the point...I'm sure there are a few people and things I've missed here, but when you look at the evidence in bulleted fashion you begin to understand the ever changing nature of this business and why authors such as Mr. Turow (and he is a great author for certain), who more or less cling to tradition, are a bit glum about the future.

But be it the climate, geography, society, technology, the orbit of the earth around the sun, or simply the recipe of Coca Cola, things change. Existence is not static. It's always moving one way or another. We don't read off of cave walls anymore. We have Kindles for that.  

Some of the people I've worked with, published with, played with, laughed with, gotten gloriously drunk with, even played music with along the way were pretty great, and many have moved on to greener pastures, mostly in other industries. I'm greatful for the opportunities extended to me back then. Only one person I know of remains an editor at a big house. So you see, as writers, we must always be flexible and willing to adapt. Or, in the words of a fellow author, we must find ways to survive.

I'm an American author and I've survived and then some.

I'm still here. Gonna be here for a while longer.




  1. Yowza. Told like it is. I was once published by traditional publishers. As a mid-list author, I was dropped as if I'd contracted a bad case of herpes. I was sent back down to the minors where I toiled in obscurity for years. Five years ago, I started my new series with the goal of getting an agent and getting back to The Show. The publishing landscape radically changed almost overnight. By the time we landed a deal with Thomas & Mercer, self-publishing had become de rigeur for authors who care about making a living and controlling their own destiny. I'm now about to join you, and them, and venture into the unknown.

  2. Great comment Michael...You are a true success story and even more important, a survival story...