A Childish Response to Publishing News

You know how some kids invent imaginary friends to help them cope? That’s what I’m doing to deal with all the sky-is-falling news about the publishing industry.

I didn’t have an imaginary friend when I was a kid, though I made one up for my son a few years ago when he asked me one too many times to play Monopoly. I hate Monopoly. It goes on and on until whoever bought Boardwalk and Park Place wins, thirteen hours of your life later.

So, I invented Fred to play Monopoly in my place. My son likes Fred. I like Fred. Fred is a good sport. He doesn’t whine or throw hotels when he doesn’t win. He doesn’t yell, “no fair!” and stomp off when the banker is less than honest counting out the money. Not that the banker would be less than honest. I just find it suspicious that Fred rarely wins a game of Monopoly.

From what I hear and read, there’s another game of Monopoly being played right now in the publishing playground. People are taking sides, pointing fingers and throwing sand.

As a writer I’m supposed to keep abreast of these trends, so I can make informed decisions about my career. Sigh. I’d rather play Monopoly. Reading articles, opinions and predictions about the maneuvers of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, the Big Six and all the Indie Cowboys just makes me want to shove my fingers in my ears and run off to play with my imaginary friends.

In fact, that’s what I’m going to do. While the changing landscape of publishing is important and affects me directly, it’s also a distraction from my Work In Progress. So when it comes time to make a business decision, I’ll do my due diligence to get informed, likely reading the publishing pundits until my eyes blur.

For now, I’m going to focus on the imaginary friends in my manuscripts.  Without them, I wouldn’t have anything to publish anyway. And no matter what happens on the publishing playground, I have a lot of fun when I’m with my imaginary friends. I get to watch them solve the problems in their messed up lives. I wonder if they know Fred.

What distracts you from the task at hand? How do you refocus?
How do you handle the barrage of information and opinions available about any industry, including publishing?

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  • Dandelion Head

    This is my situation exactly. Publishing seems to be in such an upheaval that it’s hard to tell what to do. Writing is my biggest comfort, but actually getting published? Too scary, too chaotic, and too inscrutable!

    I think a good way to refocus would be to focus on one agent or one author–any one goal, until the rest of the clamor dies away to my ears.