Confession time: I’m having a frustrating day. But hey, it completely goes with the territory. This is a frustrating business. There are more books than slots at publishing houses, and that’s the case now more than ever. Frustration happens. It’s the nature of life in the book funnel.
It’s also just built into the business. When you hear about a publisher jumping from $2.5 million to $3 million in an auction for a celebrity book, it’s easy to think, “Uh… that publisher just nickle and dimed my client and refused to give them even $1,000 more when they really deserved it. And they passed on another project because they didn’t want to take a risk on a debut. But they won’t even blink at jumping $500,000 in an auction for a book about Paris Hilton’s chihuahua?” (Okay, it is kind of a cute dog. Also I’m kidding, that’s not an actual book. Yet. UPDATE: Oops! Yes, it is.)
Depressed? Don’t be!
Here’s the only way to deal with the frustrations of the publishing business: don’t become fixated on the publishing business.
You’ll. Go. Mad. if you place all of your eggs in the basket of publishing, following the ins and outs, letting it consume your entire being, and living and dying by your rejections, reviews, and what mean anonymous commenters are saying about you on any given day.
It’s soooo easy to let publishing become an all-consuming force in your life. It takes so much time to write, and then there are the blogs to follow, the agents to research, the publishers to keep track of, the industry news, the rejections to track… it takes a lot of time. Combine that with a day job and there aren’t many hours in the day left.
But it just can’t be everything.
The best way to deal with the frustrations: ignore it for a while. Take a walk! Spend time with your friends and family! (Remember them? It’s okay to ask them to remind you what their names are. They’ll just be glad to have you back.). Take up a second, less frustrating hobby, like sunflower photography. Better yet: start rooting for the Sacramento Kings to see what frustration really feels like. The publishing industry has nothing on being a Kings fan.
If you find yourself becoming down in the dumps about your prospects or the business or the state of things: It’s probably a sign you’re spending too much time focused on it. It’s perfectly okay to tune out for a while. When you clear your head and come back: all of a sudden the industry will magically seem like a place of hope and possibility.
Because the difference between seeing opportunity and frustration in this business is all in your head. It’s just a matter of how your brain is looking at it that day.
Please share your favorite method of distraction in the comments section!
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Art: Ludwig Knaus – Mein Napf ist leer