Steph Swainston, critically acclaimed fantasy author is giving up her day job to teach chemistry. Why you ask? Well, it seems the publishing world is changing and trying to keep up with a lot of faster media. The end result is publishers expecting one book a year, expecting the author to become a celebrity via Facebook, Twitter etc. The end result according to Stainston and I would have to agree somewhat, is poorer books and a somewhat unrealistic expectation of authors.
Writers write. We do stuff with words that go (hopefully) into our final project. Sometimes that takes time. Sometimes the book is not great and needs to be greater. Authors love our books and we want to see them go out into the world as perfect as possible. Yes, deadlines are a part of reality, yes we all have to make a living, yes publishers have deadlines and bills to pay as well. But is it really helping the literary world when we force authors to conform to our own subjective timelines rather than allowing them to work in a buffer that is more conducive to their own creative process?
Writing is a long process. It is also largely an organic one. Sometimes you find yourself lost in a forest with no escape route. Sometimes you have other shit that needs to get done. Sometimes you have a day job. You want the book to be done this year? So would I. I would fucking love it if I could pump out a novel every nine months and have it be worthy of publishing.
John Scalzi also wrote a good article on 10 things you should know about authors, the most important thing being that they are people with fucking lives and sometimes life doesn’t adhere to deadlines. Forcing the author to squeeze out work when they aren’t ready just makes for poorer novels.
Bleh. I have been drinking so here is a good place to stop. I have shit to write.