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We are not talking about books. We’re talking about book deals. You know they are not the same thing, right? One is the art you create by writing like a motherfucker for a long time. The other is the thing that the marketplace decides to do with your creation. A writer gets a book deal when he or she has written a book that (a) an editor loves, and (b) a publisher believes readers will purchase.
I feel compelled to note these facts at the outset because my gut sense of your letter is that you’ve conflated the book with the book deal. They are two separate things. The one you are in charge of is the book. The one that happens based on forces that are mostly outside of your control is the book deal.
If you are a writer, it’s the writing that matters and no amount of battery acid in your stomach over who got what for what book they wrote is going to help your cause. Your cause is to write a great book and then to write another great book and to keep writing them for as long as you can. That is your only cause. It is not to get a six-figure book deal. I’m not talking about the difference between art and money; creation and commerce. It’s a beautiful and important thing to be paid to make art. Publishers who deliver our books to readers are a vital part of what we do. But what we do—you and I—is write books. Which may garner six-figure book deals for the reasons I outlined above. Or not.
27 notes (via elliottholt)