Monday, February 1, 2010

Up To Speed

With the Vancouver Olympics starting, I've been thinking about the figure skating competitions. Seeing our athletes on the medal stand, especially for a gold, always brings tears to my eyes.

Years ago, when a figure skater did a triple, it was a big deal. Now, they're expected to do multiple triples and sometimes quads. There's a constant push to do what's never been done before. The scoring has changed, as well as the required elements. Technical ability must be matched by artistic expression and fabulous costumes. If an athlete wants a shot at the gold, they've got to be up to speed on what's happening in their sport.

Writers also need to keep up with current trends in the industry. What are editors and agents looking for at this time? What changes have publishers made in their guidelines regarding platform, genre, and marketing? Let's not forget social media and websites.

Once upon a time, the field was wide open. Not many people wrote Christian fiction, and even non-fiction offerings were limited. We're no longer getting in on the ground floor, folks. It's a long climb up to the publisher's office. Our craft and business savvy must be top of the line. It's quad time in the publishing world.

How about you? Are you staying up to speed with the publishing industry? How do you keep tabs on the changes?

36 comments:

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

I read writing magazines, blogs, websites and chat with other writers, especially those who are going through or have been through the process of publishing.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Donna -

I find author interviews helpful, as well as blogs. Michael Hyatt is another good resource.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Katie Ganshert said...

Have you read Rachelle Garnder's post today? It's all about the changing industry, especially as it relates to ebooks. Things are definitely moving and shaking!

I try not to get too caught up in all the changes and just write, write, write. Of course, we still have to stay savvy. But I think, for me, it's easy to become too savvy and let that knowledge turn to worry.

Jody Hedlund said...

Wonderful analogy, Susan!! It's so true that the competition has increased and so we must constantly be pushing the edge of our own excellence in order to succeed.

Karen Lange said...

Good post, thanks! I am not as in tune with the market as I probably need to be; something to aim for this year. I do read publications, blogs, and such, but should probably focus more in specific areas.
Blessings,
Karen

Faith Imagined said...

Your blog is sure helping me!!!!

-Alisa Hope

Heather Sunseri said...

I have found that reading blogs and the latest book releases on the bestsellers lists a great way to keep up with industry cahnges.

Sharon Ball said...

I'd say reading is the biggest key to my keeping up. I read blogs, magazines, ezines...everything I can to keep up to date with what's going on in our industry.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Katie -

I haven't made my blog rounds today. I'll have to check out Rachelle's post.

Keeping abreast of the publishing industry is necessary, but I don't allow it to become all consuming.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jody -

Your comment triggered a memory. When computers first came out, data was input via keypunch. I know people, who took courses and worked as keypunch operators.

With technological advances, that job no longer exists. In the computer field, people constantly upgrade their skills or find themselves left behind.

Publishing companies are scrambling to keep pace with technology, which impacts writers.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Karen -

Good point. Honing in on our particular area of expertise is essential. A non-fiction writer, freelance writer, technical writer, and fiction writer will all have varying concerns.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

I'm so glad. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Heather -

When I go to the Philly Conference, I pay attention to what people are saying. One agent noted my chapter titles and informed me they were no longer used.

When a professional gives me advice, I give serious consideration to it, as well as much prayer.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sharon -

Reading provides the bulk of my information. There's so much to cover that I no longer worry about retaining it all. Most blogs have archives, and search engines can hone in on a particular subject.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I'm trying. Rachelle's post today about the ipad has my mind spinning. So much to think about! I'm really trying to stay on top of it!

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Btw, loved this post!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

I'm happy I have a cell phone. Twitter has been gnawing at the edges of my brain, but I'm loathe to add more social media to my schedule.

You'll all be happy to know I pulled my MP3 player from under a stack of papers. Now, if I could only get the package open.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Kristen -

Glad you enjoyed it. :)

Blessings,
Susan

Jill Kemerer said...

I learn a lot from fellow writers, but I also read publishing magazines.

Jessica said...

Wow, excellent post Susan. I didn't know that about Figure Skating, that three twirls use to be great.
I try to stay in touch by reading agent blogs and being a part of writer's organizations/loops.

quietspirit said...

Susan:
At present, I follow the blogs and receive some emails on the subject of the writing world.
I need to subscribe to a writing magazine again.

Jean Fischer said...

I network; read articles, journals and blogs; and I Google "publishing" several times a week in Google's "news" section. It's a good way to find up-to-the-minute publishing news.

I think it's important for writers to keep up with trends and changes, but we have to be careful not to let it constrain our writing. Publishers are always looking for something fresh.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

Skaters were also required to pass a compulsory figures segment. During that part of the competition, they showed how well they could perform their figure eights and other skating a, b, c's. Now, they have a short and long program.

Hah! I should be on Jeopardy with that bit of trivia.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Quiet Spirit -

My writers' magazine subscription lapsed. At this point, I get the bulk of my education via the Internet, blogs, and craft books.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jill -

Those are great sources. Right now, magazine subscriptions aren't in the budget, so I rely on blogs and Internet articles.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jean -

I never thought of Googling (or in my case Swagbucking) the word, "publishing." Great idea!

Thanks for the advice. I remember an author telling me her book was rejected over 40 times because of the content. When the timing was right and the market ready to receive it, her book was published.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

Susan: As much as I try, I don't feel I'm up to speed on the publishing world. I do pray for guidance; that works best for me. I ask God to put me in the right place at the right time doing the right thing with the right motives. He's done a great job so far: i met you!!!!

Love, Jen

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen -

Thank you! Our meeting was definitely a "God appointment."

Yes, I agree with you. As one commenter said, it's not good if following the trends makes you worry. Like everything in life, we need to strike a balance. (Remember the jar with the rocks?)

Blessings,
Susan :)

Terri Tiffany said...

I try to read everything I can get my hands on. I've seen too many writers who are ignorant of the process and then get frustrated. It's best to know what we need to do.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

I agree. Doing our homework before submitting enhances our possibility of success.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Nancy said...

No, I'm afraid I don't keep up much anymore. There's a world of difference since when I used to send things out. Writer blogs help me see what I need to know and I appreciate that.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Nancy -

When you're submitting to publishers, there's a greater need to stay up to date. I'm glad you're still blogging. :)

Blessings,
Susan

patti lacy said...

Sigh. I rely on my agent for much of the "skating" news! It's fun to chat with author friends on line via blog--and on the phone, too!

I could definitely grow in this area.

It doesn't help that the industry morphs every couple of days.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Patti -

The industry has seen dramatic changes even in the last few years.

I recently disposed of two rather old Sally Stuart Christian Market Guides. It hurt to put them in the trash, but I know the information is outdated.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Denise Miller Holmes said...

Hi Susan. I belong to a writers' group and we inform each other of whatever we learn. Guest speakers keep us up-to-date, too. A guest speaker last night told us about a new publisher who publishes Christian speculative fiction, which was encouraging because I'm interested in writing Christian sci-fi. Christian speculative is a new-but- growing market.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Denise -

It's great your writers' group can bring in speakers. We're too small at this point.

I'd be interested to know the name of that publisher. I'm also interested in Christian Speculative Fiction. Thanks.

Blessings,
Susan :)