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.