I have 539 unread queries in my email in-box right now. Since the beginning of January, the number of emails in my in-box has not dropped below 300 for more than a day. Last night, I read and responded to 63 queries and by the time I went to bed, my in-box total had actually gone UP, not down.
So what does this tell me? That the vast majority of you out there haven't been daunted by the seemingly endless stream of bad news coming out of the publishing industry these past four months.
And that's a wonderful thing.
As I've said here repeatedly, and as my colleagues Ron Hogan and Jason Boog over at GalleyCat have been saying: publishing isn't going away anytime soon. Is it going to change? Sure. It has to. Is it going to get smaller? Possibly. Will publishers start getting pickier about what they buy? If they're smart, they will. Will acquisitions slow down throughout 2009? Absolutely. The fact of the matter is that there are currently more projects owned by publishers than there are editors to work on those projects. Manuscripts are getting shuffled around. Authors are reassigned to other editors. And books are being pushed further back in the publishing schedule in order to give those remaining editors the breathing room to take care of all the new projects that have been assigned to them.
So what does that mean for you, the aspiring author, right this very minute?
It means that - now more than ever - you'll need to learn the fine art of PATIENCE.
Everything in publishing in 2009 is going to take longer. It's going to take longer for editors to read and respond to pitches from agents. It's going to take longer for editors to find the time to read the manuscripts we're sending them and get back to us with a decision. A lot longer. It's going to take longer for a manuscript to get sent to an editorial board. It's going to take longer for your newly acquired book to get scheduled. It's probably going to take longer to get contracts and checks. Everything is going to take longer, period. Because there are a lot fewer people doing all the same amount of work right now and those people aren't superhuman.
So starting today? Cultivate the art of patience. It'll be the best thing you can do for yourself as a writer.