It’s that time of year again! Not only are the kids back in school, but publishing is jumping into high gear. Editors are already complaining about the submission bombardment (they also complain when you don’t send them something, but I digress), I’m getting even more queries than I did a week ago (which boggles the mind), and my fall travel schedule kicks into high gear with the SCBWI conference in Las Vegas this weekend (there’s still room to sign up!). Considering that publishing has become much less seasonal and things stay busy year round, it’s all a bit artificial, but I love it.
It was 11 years ago tomorrow that I started my full-time career at DGLM as a wide-eyed, idealistic (or was it self-righteous?) 22-year-old hungry to find the next great writer. It felt so appropriate to begin my adult professional life right after Labor Day; it felt like the beginning of a new school year. So the beginning of a new publishing year always gets me a bit nostalgic and thoughtful. So much has changed, yet so much has stayed the same. There was a lot of talk in 2000 about ebooks and how they were going to revolutionize the industry. The pundits were right, even if they were a bit off in their timing. There was a lot of talk about declining advances/ridiculously large advances, and that certainly continues to this day. We were predicting the fall of Borders even back then, though it took a while for the company to finally succumb. There were layoffs, shrinking staffs, and merging publishers and imprints, certainly something we’re still dealing with today. And of course, there was the usual talk about the death of publishing, which, far as I can tell, has been going on since the written word has existed. All just goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Over the next 11 years, I expect there will be some pretty significant changes. Clearly, digital publishing is reshaping the publishing landscape in ways that we can’t yet entirely understand. And the closing of bookstores (there are more to come) will have great effect on how we market and sell books. We’ll still be complaining about many of the same things, as advances decline/grow, publishers shrink and combine and everyone and their brother declares that books are dead. In the end, though, it’ll still be about what really matters, what I was looking for the day I started and continue to look for to this day: great writers and great books.