Friday, September 18, 2009

Beyond and Above Platforming

This week, a good friend of mine, Lance Thompson, a script doctor will be presenting at the Idaho Writers' League's 2009 Writers Conference: Paint with Words. As well as teaching some excellent workshops, he'll be on a panel about "The State Of Publishing Today." He asked a couple of days ago for my thoughts on same, having gone to a major conference recently.

My recent experience at the conference and elsewhere is that the bottom line is (and will always be):

Like any major business, the publishing world is always in flux. At this time, two major factors are in play. One is the recession and the other is electronic publishing. So there's a lot of "It's harder than ever to sell" out there. But I've been writing and submitting and selling for a long time and that's always been the publishers' lament. In my experience, a recession helps the publishing business, which is usually slow and reluctant to change. And the electronic revolution provides a wealth of new opportunities for publication (I was published on Twitter, for heaven sakes!).

Every agent/editor who I spoke with or who was on a panel said the same thing: "We want to see the writing. It's only the writing that truly matters. Yes, we talk about platform and the publishing world and what's hot right now, but the quality of writing is everything. And as long as some people somewhere still read, we'll still be looking for good writing to publish."

It's the writing. We all need, in our desperate desire to publish, to remember it's the writing that sells.

Do you put the writing (often the most difficult part) first? Do you write first? Write every day? Or set aside times for concentrated writing and then work on other parts of your career by working on your platform or attending workshops or conferences or? Is your focus correct? Is there something you'd like to change?

Writing of workshops, Lance is also giving one of his excellent workshops, "Lance Thompson’s Screenplay Story Structure Workshop," in Eagle, Idaho on October 10 and 11--comment if you want more info.


Kathy McIntosh said...

I too often feel overwhelmed with the competing priorities, as I've mentioned here and in my blog. You're right to remind us that it is the writing that counts.
I need that, particularly now that I'm once again working on a synopsis, the bane of fiction writers.
It's writing too, but so specialized and so hard (whine, whine!)

Dave King said...

I am afraid that rightly or wrongly, apart from following other bloggers and replying to their comments, I just write. All the rest is something of a distraction for me.

Swubird said...


Great article. I have a terrible habit when it comes to writing. I write when I am in the mood, and I rarely write because I should. Not exactly a strategy for success.

Happy trails.

Conda Douglas said...

Is there a writer anywhere who doesn't struggle with synopsizes? Keep remembering it's the novel where the writing really counts!

Lynda Lehmann said...

The publishing world is fickle and profit-driven. Many of the great writers of the past would not be published today, because their particular style or subject matter doesn't/won't sell.

Just as in making art, we have to write (doing our very best) for the LOVE of it!

Helen Ginger said...

It sounds like a good workshop.

I've discovered that I work best under deadline. If it's got to be done by such and such deadline, then I get it done.

Straight From Hel

Conda Douglas said...

Dave, I believe you're doing what most needs to be done: the writing.

Conda Douglas said...

Yes, but, SWU, you're very productive, so it obviously works for you to write whenever you want.

Whatever works!

Conda Douglas said...

Lynda--and that LOVE of it will show through in all our creative works and make them more sellable, I believe.

Conda Douglas said...

Helen, I'm with you and that's why I love contests--they come with deadlines.

Enid Wilson said...

Sadly, I've spent more time on marketing than writing later. It is also a problem because I used to write more funny stories in the past but lately, humour seems to desert me.

Steamy Darcy

Conda Douglas said...

The marketing/writing balance is tough, Enid--and easy to see how it could trash the humor instinct--which will return, possibly stronger than before!