You know, the more I look at the publishing industry, the more it seems like the great adventure we all face besides not going “bug fuck” (Blame Chuck) is the nature of the business side of the relationship.
Hang with me here.
We are writers, we make product. (This part is non-negotiable. If you cannot write, for whatever reason you are not a writer, you are an ASPIRING writer. Much like I am Aspiring Immortal Pharaoh.)
We are represented by Agents and trying to sell our product to Editors, (From what I can tell Agents & Editors are very close to writers or at the very least readers whom have an astounding understanding of writing and storytelling.)
They work for Senior Editors and Agencies, who are like them with the same caveats as above as well as tremendous industry experience.
They work for/with parent companies “run by” or at least heavily influenced by MBA’s whom very well may be readers but based on the current confusing state of the industry do not understand writers, the writing process or readers as a market very well. I am NOT in any way denigrating them, they are managing a business and while I am not an MBA, after running an 8 figure business in my day job, I can play one on television. The math has to work, 1 + 1 must = 2 or you get replaced pretty quick.
Try as I might I cannot think of an another industry that works like this. Normally there are those who have industry acumen at every level in places of power who also understand the vagaries and oddities of their business. Publishing feels like it has come unhitched from that process. I acknowledge a layman’s understanding and I could be so VERY wrong.
A friend pointed out that MOST professional sports are run just like this. A GREAT example. Also a very depressing one, when I try to take it into context of being a published writer. Two words. Jerry Jones.
Of course it changes nothing, but it makes for an interesting ponder how the model evolved into the state it is in. Much like every ridiculous statement in a contract, it is there for a reason. Someone/s out there putting their dick in the mashed potatoes messing up for the rest of us. Somewhere along the lines this evolution was driven by market forces and demand. If there were a book about it, I would be reading it. Personally, I would like to make sure I am never one of those people who are putting their member into the starchy tubers.
Unless you’re into dick’taters…
– Seamus (is hiding now)