Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Writer J.A. Konrath: WATNS

Writing: The Temporary Career
I'm not going to name names in this post. Partly because it would be mean. Partly because I'm only speculating on the reasons why, and have no real proof.

But I still wanted to talk about something that's rampant in the word of publishing. It's also rampant in other media like radio, TV, movies, and music.

It's Where Are They Now Syndrome.

The scariest thing about WATNS is how quickly it seems to occur. When my first novel, Whiskey Sour, was published in 2004, I did as much self-promotion as I could. Going to writing conventions, signing at bookstores and libraries, I met dozens of writers who also had new books out. Some were debut authors, like me. Some were veterans who seemed like they'd be around forever.

But here it is, a scant four and a half years later, and I can name more than thirty of these authors who didn't publish anything in the past year, and in some cases the past two years.

It's strange that I came across this post today.

Just last night I was wondering about a writer who made a Big Splash: Jane Mendelsohn. According to that wikipedia link, her last book was in 2000. Eight years have passed. What gives?

And then there's this ongoing publishing mystery surrounding an infamous Salon article: The confessions of a semi-successful author.

In my reading, I've come across books I've loved by writers who didn't go on to publish anything else. It's been a frustration of mine for a long time.

This is why I am an eBook militant. It's your work. It's your life. It's your career. It's your calling. Be in charge of it.

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