Monday, April 4

The more things change...

by Liz Flaherty

My new book, Every Time We Say Goodbye, came out Friday. Which was, you will remember, April Fool's Day. Ahem. Really? It is up to you to prove that having a book released on that day is just the best thing ever to happen to a writer. Is that a broad enough hint? If you read it, I hope you like it. I will speak for all writer friends here and hope you review the books you read, too--especially if you like them. 

Saturday, Nan and I had lunch--are we the only people who have three-hour lunches?--and I drove the 75 miles home through 50-some mph winds. I now know the true meaning of the word "buffet." (Aside from Jimmy, that is, who has an extra "t" at the end of his name, and a really good meal where I don't know when to quit.) Earlier in the week, we had a couple of rainbows that Judy Garland could have rhapsodized over because they were so indescribably beautiful.

I've been whining pretty nonstop about what's being termed as Indiana's bipolar weather, but the truth is, it's always that way. Sometimes more than others. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Like publishing.

Not just lately, but always. I remember being unpublished and praying for the day I would learn the secret handshake that went along with having a book "out." I remember flinching from the terms "training our replacements" (huh?) and "pay your dues." (What did they think I was doing?--RWA membership was expensive, for God's sake).

Now it is trad and indie and hybrid. The Them and Us mentality goes on. I write sweet romance and am of a certain age and prefer traditional publishing, which means I'm once again wanting to learn the damn handshake, to find a place where I can be included in the conversation without being talked down to or having someone roll their eyes. Those who write erotica and LBGT romance have had to fight to have their work included with traditional M/F in the genre.

The names and the positions have been changed, but the game is still the same, isn't it?

But I remember talking about writing instead of marketing. About voice instead of marketing. About conflict instead of marketing. About theme and plotting and point of view and why some of us hated head-hopping and some of us didn't really care...yeah, instead of marketing. I remember when spelling and grammar were indeed BFDs.

While I complain about the way things are now and the fact that no one wants to talk about what I want to talk about, I am still a child of the 1960s--I cherish new writers' rights and responsibilities to change things to what they want and need from the industry.

If I worry sometimes that readers aren't properly respected because their wants and needs fall between marketing cracks, well, I guess that's my problem. But I'd like to talk about it with other people who share that concern.

I told someone the other day that I thought RWA needed to have an AARP chapter. I said was kidding--I wasn't. Because I still want a room with a coffeepot and a bunch of writing friends where we can talk about writing and voice and conflict. Somewhere I can say, oh, my God, I'm blocked! I'm never going to write another publishable word! and someone will pour me a (large) glass of wine in case the coffee just won't do it and talk me off the ledge.

And, yes, it's always been this way. Probably soon, for a couple of hours, it will all calm down. We'll all get along. Until another Them or Us jumps up and bites us in the butt. And all of us in publishing will be like all of us in Indiana on Saturday--getting buffetted around like nobody's business, but...oh, look, the sun's out.

Just as I love living in North Central Nowhere no matter how hard the wind blows, I love being in publishing no matter how hard its winds blow. Because, pretty soon, there's gonna be a gorgeous rainbow in Indiana, and come some important day soon, like April Fool's, there'll be a new book out, and I'll say it again--it's the best job in the world.


8 comments:

  1. Amen, sister! I also love writing and as an indie who would rather be trad, I'm in the same conflicted place as you--never sure where I belong or if I ever will. So I guess we'll be each other's place where we can whimper "Oh, my God, I'm blocked! Pour me a glass of wine!" And maybe not talk so much about marketing and more about story and storytelling... <>

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    1. Hi, Nan. Writing from the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago. No whimpering today!

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  2. happy new release, Liz! Have I told you yet that I love your new book? Because I do ... and my MIL (you're newest, biggest fan) is digging in to it today, so she'll be singing your praises, too. :)

    Hang in there - and don't stop talking about voice or conflict or heroes journies any time soon - those elements are so very important.

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    1. Oh, bless you and Sandy both--I need to hear that! (I know you understand that.)

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  3. Liz, congratulations on your release. I bought it on release day but have not read it yet. Busy weekend and not much time to read. Not only does RWA need an AARP division but there needs to be a publisher who focuses on works done by/for mature readers. There are lots of us and we still like to read! Good post! Happy spring in Indiana.

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    1. Yes, Carolyn, exactly! Not only do we like to read, tacky as this sounds, we have a little more money to spend on books. Windy here in the Windy City!

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  4. Good post Liz! I always have your back with a glass (or two) of wine, and love to talk craft! Unfortunately, you're right: the more things change, the more they stay the same. But Hooray for your book release!!

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    1. I count on you for my wine choices, Ava. You're really good about not snickering right in front of me! Thanks for the atta girl--they're always appreciated.

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