Day 2 and our second question for our featured June 2004 Author of the Month:
2. Having had fifty-plus contracts, worked for a number of large publishing houses, been agented, and written for several major series, do you have any advice for writers regarding publishing as a business? Also, have you seen major changes in the business and noticed any new trends.
My advice for writers who are interested in writing as a business is to develop your technique. This will give you the confidence to say YES to every single opportunity. When somebody offers you work – TAKE IT! Don’t choke. Don’t get worried that you can’t do it because you haven’t done it before. Don’t panic. If you’re talented, and have worked on your technique, you will be amazed to discover how strong your abilities actually are. I never advise anyone to lie on a resume. First of all, it’s bad business. Plus, it’s too easy to get caught. On the other hand, don’t volunteer information that would make an editor nervous – like say, you have no idea what he or she is talking about. I once sat through an entire editorial meeting in which I was being hired to write an article for a music magazine about George Michael. We discussed the length, the topic, the style, and agreed upon a price and a delivery date. I actually had no earthly idea who George Michael was. But hey – she didn’t ask, and I didn’t tell. I walked out of that meeting and straight to the nearest music store. Three hours later, I was up to speed. I wrote the article, they loved it, and hired me to consult on a new magazine project.
New trends? Always. I guess the most significant for me is the trend away from mass market paperback series to single title hard cover trade issues that lend themselves to sequels.