Sunday, February 12, 2006

letting someone else drive

So I have made the big decision and have decided to hire a publicist. This conclusion was not made quickly…my internal and external debates have been driving colleagues, friends, web boards and Robert crazy for the past month.

But can you blame me? It was a big (and costly) question. But a necessary one. I’m proud of how far I’ve gotten on my own, but I look at the road ahead—one income, expensive medical costs, dreams of starting a family—and I know I need to get to the next rest stop faster.

And, I faced the realization that I'll probably never win the Caldecott or a Newbury airplane ticket (my novel just got lukewarmed by School Library Journal, sigh). So, my best bet for financial security and keeping my books from going out-of-print is cold hard sales. Or at least good sales.

Though, honestly, it's the fear of the out-of-print junkyard that is the true impetus for the move (as increased wealth is actually quite questionable). As my first book just went out of print (rest in peace, Okie-Dokie, Artichokie!) and sales have begun to lag and sputter on my other books, I knew it was time for a tune up.

So then came the question of how? Do I hire an agent or a publicist? Do I get a new car or let someone else drive?

Most authors go with the agent-- equivalent of trading in and getting a red sports car. An agent gets them higher advances, movies deals— shiny, glamorous and oh, so fast! Very tempting. But sports cars can be tricky things—sometimes your fuel’s not right, sometimes you get a lemon.

And sometimes, you just like the car you already own. Which is my case. Comfortable, trustworthy and dependable, I’m quite attached to what I’ve done, the relationships I’ve forged and the projects I’ve already created. And I'm proud of it-- every nut and bolt has been hand fastened for my unique engine. I don't want to write new, glitzy books, I want to keep writing the books I've been doing--books that mean something to me. I just want them to sell better.

And I've realized that I’ve been driving my career without a map, just hoping to run into some destination areas. So a publicist made sense. She’ll know where to take me and maneuver the road bumps with more skill.

Though, that doesn’t mean I don’t eye that new car at all. But right now, I'm just window shopping.

1 Comments:

Blogger Connie said...

Continued success and best of luck, Grace. I hope you will update us on how this arrangement works out for you.

11:08 AM  

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