On not just surviving, but thriving in hard times.
I just returned from a wonderful and inspiring writing conference sponsored by the Published Authors Chapter (PASIC) of RWA.
"Wonderful and inspiring" might seem like the wrong word choices given the universal doom and gloom messages that the industry professionals on the panels gave us.
Publishers, editors, agents, publicists....they all spoke about how these were hard times for anyone supporting themselves with a writing career. And that we should expect things to get worse before they get better.
And that all us mid-list, non-blockbuster-superstars will probably need to accept even less money for our work than we already are. And that we should seriously consider trying to write more books, better books, faster. Oh, and that we need to take over all our own publicity and promotion (and pay for it) because our publishers, well, they're spending all their money on the blockbuster-superstars and don't have any to spend to get our books noticed....even though our books often make them more money than those over-priced blockbuster-superstars.
Wait. Did I say "inspiring?" I sure did. And here's why.
This group of authors, around 75 of us, accounting for millions of books sold worldwide, sat and listened to all the information the industry pros gave us.
And then we smiled. And laughed. A few even broke out into song. (Hey, I never said there wasn't a little wine involved!)
Because we know something the industry pros had overlooked in their doom and gloom assessments.
We know that especially in tough times readers are going to turn to books for entertainment. We know that we all pour our hearts and souls into our books and always turn in the best book possible.
We know that the reason the publishing industry is in dire straits right now has nothing to do with the quality of our work. Although the industry pros seemed desperate to blame it on us--hmmm....do they not realize that without our books, they would have no product?
We know that humans have turned to storytelling in good times and bad for thousands of years and no new technology is going to change that.
So yes, this weekend was wonderful and inspiring.
It was fantastic sharing my own passion, vision, and commitment for my writing with other authors who felt just as strongly about their work.
Too bad the industry pros couldn't take a step back from their doom and gloom to see the opportunities they're missing with their tunnel vision and need to play the blame game.
Because if they don't learn to be as passionate and committed to excellent story telling as these fine writers are, then their industry is indeed going to go the way of the dodo bird.
But our stories? No matter the technology used to tell them, they will survive. And thrive. And sustain and inspire and empower our audience during their own time of need.
Because that's why we do what we do. And history has proven that there's nothing more powerful than powerful stories.
Thanks for reading!
As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge suspense novels. Her debut, LIFELINES (Berkley, March 2008), became a National Bestseller and Publishers Weekly proclaimed it a "breathtakingly fast-paced medical thriller." The second in the series, WARNING SIGNS, was released January, 2009. Contact her at http://www.cjlyons.net