By Sue Ann Jaffarian
It’s 7:45 California time. I have a fresh cup of coffee and am sitting in my office at the law firm crazy enough to employ me as a paralegal. Yesterday afternoon I flew back from the East Coast where I attended the Malice Domestic conference, a signing in Annapolis, MD, with five other authors, and the Festival of Mystery in Oakmont, PA where fifty authors dashed about, signing books and speaking with the five hundred attendees.
I’m sure you expect me to say I’m pooped. But honestly, I’m not. Of course, getting ten hours of sleep last night certainly helped, but rather than feeling exhausted this morning, I feel invigorated. I just spent six days networking with other mystery authors and speaking with hundreds of mystery readers – some already loyal to my Odelia Grey series, others just discovering it. It was exciting. I also had the wonderful opportunity of meeting many of my fellow Midnight Ink authors, some for the first time, which is always a treat.
I love being a writer. I love the writing process. I love the editing and re-writes. I love the launching of a new book and getting out and meeting readers across the country at conferences and book signings. And I adore networking with other authors. Most of what I learn about the business of writing I learn at the bar at these conferences, clustered around small tables with authors from other publishers and other parts of the country. I have learned to keep my ears open and to ask questions. This trip I also learned a lot waiting for planes and tables at restaurants. Like most knowledge, there is bad mixed with the good, but all is valuable. This trip I learned of a publisher cutting its entire mystery line and of several other authors being dropped by their publishers. Some of these cut authors were celebrating new contracts with other publishers, some were planning proposals to pitch to new publishers. On the flipside, there were those authors celebrating the expansion of their series and the launching of new books and stand alone novels. It was definitely a seesaw of emotions.
Just before traveling to Malice, I learned that Midnight Ink was buying books 4, 5 & 6 in my Odelia Grey series. I also learned that they had already slated a new series that I am in the process of pitching to them. And Friday at dinner, I learned that my novel Too Big To Miss was a semi-finalist for an Ippy. I was one of the authors riding high at Malice. But I’m no dummy (contrary to a few opinions). I know that I could just as easily have been one of the authors being knocked down by the brutal business side of writing.
It would be easy to obsess and worry about the future of my writing while trying to produce quality work. But even as I sympathize with the authors having to start anew, I will push forward, continuing to write, create, market and publicize my work, until I, too, find myself being dumped by the seesaw that is the world of publishing.