I’ve been feeling lately like the tarot card The Fool. I’ve got graduation approaching, and as it comes I feel as though I’m ready to take that first step into a larger world. I also feel as though I have no solid idea of what’s coming.
No one ever does in my position, I suppose, but I think that in my case this feeling has been exacerbated by the Justice Department’s suit against the Big Six publishers (although I think three of them have settled, so now it may only be Big Three of Six, no relation to Seven of Nine).
Publishing is changing. The agency model is under attack, and maybe it should be. I’ve read a whole lot of public outcry from some major industry players (Authors Guild, American Booksellers Association for example on one side and Bob Mayer and Dean Wesley Smith on the other), and while a great deal of concern is being expressed about the what’s best for publishers and independent bookstores, none of them seem to address what’s best for writers or readers. I would think that last group would be the most important, since they far outnumber the others and thus seem the most likely to represent the public referred to in the phrase “public good.”
Of course, the justice department won’t call to ask my opinion, and the readership of this blog isn’t big enough to make a difference if I made a stand one way or the other. The point here is that I’m a writer with a manuscript to sell, and another in progress, and the ground is shifting beneath my feet. Presuming I could get a major publisher to make me an offer, what offer they make might vary from week to week right now as they scramble to figure out how the lawsuit and the evolving e-book market affects them. I have no way of knowing if I’m in a better position today than I was last week or will be next week.
I could let this stress me out. After all, this is the future of my chosen career. The thing is, though, all I feel is excited. I don’t know where my first step is going to land, but that’s all right. Unlike the fool, I’ve done my homework. If I don’t like the terrain, I’ll keep walking.
Submissions update: I finally went through and sent out almost all the pieces that had been piling up in my to-go-out pile. Since my last post I have submitted pieces to: Spinetinglers, the Fantasy-Faction Writing Contest, the Science Fiction Poets Association Writing Contest, The American Scholar, Prime Number Magazine, Dogzplot, Tales of Blood and Roses, Plasma Frequency Magazine, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Poetry Magazine, 42 Magazine, Shimmer, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Flash Fiction Online, and the Black Warrior Review.