ten things...

Cynthia Sterling (aka Cindi Myers) has a great market news newsletter aimed at writers. In the latest one, she’s summarizes the Spotlight on St. Martin’s Press from the Romance Writers of America annual conference in Washington, DC. I thought I’d share some of it, because it’s good general advice for writers:

The 10 Most Important Things You Need to Know About Publishing

1. Publishing is a labor of love
2. We want to be transported (to the world of your story.) We want “the words to fall away…and for it to become a movie in our mind.”
3. Getting published takes talent, hard work and luck.
4. We want to find brand new author. Nothing is more exciting to us.
5. The most common reason we don’t buy a book is not because it’s bad, it’s because it’s average.
6. You shouldn’t pay too much attention to trends.
7. Publishers and authors both have to do their part for things to work.
8. The most important person in this process is the reader. If you write for yourself rather than the reader when you see a lot of overwriting in the book. The author is entertaining herself, rather than the reader.
9. You have to be both left-brained and right-brained — analytical and creative.
10. Attitude is everything — don’t be bitter, jealous, grudging others’ success. You have to learn to move past that.

Anatomy of a trend spiral
1. Someone writes a really great book.
2. Readers snap up anything remotely like that 1st book
3. Publishers and authors sense a trend
4. More people write in that area and publishers buy in that area.
5. A few of those books sell well also.
6. Publishers start to creates lines and imprints in this area.
7. It becomes easier to sell in this area. The temptation is so strong to sell your soul and write in the area that people think is hot at the moment.
8. Publishers have slots to fill and lower their standards.
9. The quality of the books goes down.
10. Readers catch on become cynical and jaded.
11. Contracts aren’t renewed and authors become bitter.
12. Lines fold.
13. No one is happy – publishes, authors or readers.
14. Readers look for anything new and different.
15. Someone writes a really great book.

Her rule of thumb — “Once you see someone creating lines around a certain book, I, personally would head for the hills.”