How to stay sane during the fall book season.
Heads up, writers: this is the time of year that our dear writing industry (bless it for existing) starts its economic hustle. Take a deep breath: creativity, meet capitalism.
It’s fall book season.
What an exciting time for bookstores, readers, and arts media.
It’s good for writers, too. But if you’re not shortlisted for a prize, or if your book doesn’t have an agent, or if you haven’t written the story you want to have written, then the feelings that come up for you in this atmosphere might be…mixed.
Here are some reminders to keep you sane:
1. Fall book campaigns mean you’re going to be seeing more publicity, promotion, and sales and marketing from publishers and authors than usual, and you’ll hear more about holiday shopping and book prizes.
2. Fall books are released in a storm like this on purpose, so they make money for the industry that prints them and sells them.
3. Remember that book prizes are also about selling books. It’s not a coincidence that the book prize lists come out before people have made their holiday shopping lists. This is an economic decision that benefits our writing economy.
4. Selling books is what keeps our bookstores and libraries and publishing industry healthy. We need book sales.
If you’re feeling prickles of professional jealousy or if you’re hanging out in the low puddles that come from comparing yourself to other writer’s milestones, remind yourself that those feelings are just telling you want you really want to do, deep in your heart.
You want to write.
Good! When you know that, and make decisions based on that, you can change the direction of your energy and put it into your own work.
You might choose to lean in and support the economy that will soon support you: buy the hardcover editions of new releases and celebrate the wins.
Or, you may choose to simply hide out until this season is over, avoid reading the writing news, and focus on writing what you want to read.
I’ve taken both approaches, and they both work!
Just as long as you remember that this is a weird time for writers. If you are feeling jangly feelings about your career right now, it’s totally normal. And it will pass. By January, you’ll feel your equilibrium come back.
Take this time to look back and see your own milestones. Stack them up.
What have you accomplished already? So much. If you focus on what you haven’t finished, you’ll only see the lack. Make a list right now.
Did you do writing practice once a week for a month? Did you submit a query to an agent? Did you read something that taught you how to approach POV differently? Did you publish a story in a magazine? Did you make a date with a writing buddy?
What promises have you made to your writing? Which ones have you kept?
WRITE THOSE THINGS DOWN SO YOU CAN RECOGNIZE THEM.
When you’ve written your list, please share one of the items on your list with me here.