Having Options

Sep 24, 2018 | Business, Me, Writing

On my publication journey, I’ve found it useful to have many irons in the fire.

Oh, those poor cows.

Until an agent asks for exclusivity (usually by requesting the full manuscript), I have the luxury of keeping my options open.

In other words, I can build bridges with a lot of different people…for the moment.

And that can be useful if progress halts in one potential direction. It’s not so much a hedge against failure as it is a buffer to protect me from bad days when I can’t see any way forward. And I’ve got to admit: it feels nice to have several people interested in your book at the same time.

And Other Irons in Other Fires

Work on the next book is going well, also. The beginning is always the hardest part, of course. I have trouble figuring out who these people are until I’ve forced myself to live with them for a while. But it’s going to be something amazing, and I can’t until I can put this one on the market.

Recent photograph of the actual book publishing market.

I’m not going to say that I’m sure of anything, or even that I’m hopeful. But I can say that I’m happy with the work, in a way I haven’t been before. I’ve been at it long enough that it seems normal, even natural, to be getting more opportunities with some pretty amazing people.

Not Done Yet

I’m sorry I can’t give more specifics. So much could be said for individual agents and agencies—their unique approaches to the industry, their personal philosophies and preferences about books, the kinds of experiences I’ve had with each of them—that it would be fascinating to explore in detail and helpful to record all those details here.

But a certain amount of discretion is called for. Writing books may be an art, but publishing them is largely a business. And in business, it’s often best to not tell people what you’re doing until you’ve done it. That way, you can always answer their questions with examples of your success.

It might not be a lot of fun to play the waiting game, but, like I said, I’ve begun to be happy while doing it. I find myself unafraid of whatever might happen and more eager than ever to greet whatever is ahead of me.

This is exactly the feeling I want to have when I arrive.