1. Gwinevere on #

    I ALWAYS love reading your musings Justine. They are so helpful. Everything from – do you need an editior to the avarage advances and now this latest one *claps* mmmm very helpful.

    Anytime I get upset about a point in the publication process I feel guilty, because like you said there is that opinion that says “be happy your published in the first place.” Well I think you can be happy and also have higher expectations.

    Keep musing !!

  2. deborahb on #

    A smart & sensitive musing, Jazza, thank-you. 🙂

    (And finally, a blog within which to leave comments like this!)

  3. ben peek on #

    i kinda wanna know what goes on in that room now. i kind of envisage drum beating and hugging, but maybe not.

  4. Mary Anne Mohanraj on #

    We go around in a circle and introduce ourselves and our current concerns. The moderator picks a few concerns that seem common to several folk and we discuss them, offering each other advice.

    Time management is a big issue, as is learning to prioritize and getting help when you need it. Those have come up again and again. Also discussions like ‘when to leave your agent’ and ‘what happens when your books are remaindered’ and ‘what can you do when your sales are dropping precipitously, and you don’t think your editor will ever buy a book from you again.’ We don’t generally have simple answers for any of these, but it’s good to know you aren’t struggling with these questions alone.

    There has been some weeping — this time, I was the one crying. We pass tissues around as necessary, but we don’t hug until after the meeting breaks up. At least so far. It’s not the most formal thing. It can be intense.

    Hope this helps de-mystify.

  5. Justine on #

    gwinevere & deborahb: thanks! it’s going to be interesting getting comments on the musings.

    ben: me too.

    mary anne: Really? There’s absolutely no ritual sacrifices to pagan gods, or charles darwin?

  6. Mary Anne Mohanraj on #

    Oh, sure, ritual sacrifices, I figured that was taken as a given. Though it’s not limited to pagan gods — some of us are particularly fond of invocations to Saint Jude. A typical invocation follows:

    Saint Jude,
    glorious Apostle,
    faithful servant and friend of Jesus,
    the name of the traitor has caused you
    to be forgotten by many,
    but the true Church invokes you universally
    as the Patron of things despaired of;
    pray for me,
    that finally I may receive the consolations
    and the succor of Heaven
    in all my necessities,
    tribulations and sufferings,

    particularly… [State your intention here, i.e. ‘that my agent/editor/publicist will actually call me back someday,’ ‘that my book be read by more than ten friends and family members,’ or ‘that those idiots on Amazon who are resentful that I didn’t take their crappy stories for the anthology I edited stop bashing the book and driving down the ratings’]

    and that I may bless God
    with the Elect throughout Eternity.


  7. Jenny D on #

    That’s a great post, Justine. Very sensible and illuminating. The equivalent in my main line of work is talking about “life on the tenure-track”–I hadn’t thought of the closed session idea, but it’s a really good one (though possibly impractical at academic conferences). The last “life on the tenure track” kind of panel I went to had someone really weeping in the audience because she hasn’t been ABLE to get a tenure-track job, and some terrible flame-y-type comments of the “I don’t know what you’re complaining about, you’re obviously a lazy bastard trying to squirm out of hard work” kind.

  8. Ted on #

    Last summer Pat organized a similar session up here in Seattle, and invited me to attend (although I’ll be the first to say I didn’t really belong there). The discussion ranged from practical business matters to jaw-dropping horror stories. There were tears.

  9. David D. Levine on #

    I attended that session, though I’m not quite at the “publishing for five years” mark and I’m just in the process of selling my first novel now. It was extremely worthwhile to me because it warned me of the problems I will be facing in the next few years. I also hope I was able to provide a few insights from my personal experience that were useful to the other attendees. I’d encourage you to attend next year.

  10. David D. Levine on #


    — ARCHY

  11. Justine on #

    jenny d: I guess it is very like the US academic scene which makes sense—it’s perfectly natural for those starting out to be envious of those who in their eyes have made it. That’s why a closed discussion is so necessary. The whole flame thing gets very tedious.

    ted & david: thanks for sharing. since you’re both sort of kind of at my stage of the game (except with more awards). did you feel like it helped you hearing from people further along in the game? was hearing the horror stories useful?

    david: I don’t think I’ll attend until I’m further along in my career and less of a publishing naif (however you spell that). Hope the lowercase experience wasn’t too freaky. I love it.

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