It is easy to forget that traditional publishing is a business. And businesses are run by people doing a variety of tasks. Sometimes those people change tasks … and even change companies.
Our agency keeps a living document in a shared folder that allows us to keep up with the various editorial changes in our industry. There are times when we make adjustments every week.
This past week I was asked by an author about a particular well-known imprint at a major publisher. They thought the imprint was still in place and acquiring new books, not knowing that it had undergone multiple management changes and been all but shuttered.
We also recently discovered that a long-time marketing director had taken a job at a new publisher. A long-time senior editor at a major house had taken the job as head of an entire division at a new publisher. Two editors we know received major promotions within their companies, which meant there were changes at the top of their respective organizations.
And that wasn’t all during the month of July.
There are frequent personnel changes in all businesses. Publishing is not exempt. In other words, the news is rarely earth-shattering but should be considered normal.
Why Should You Care?
Often these changes have no effect on you. But what if it is your editor who leaves the company? What if their promotion means they will no longer be working with you?
This can be unsettling, to say the least. I have a client who is currently working with a fourth new developmental editor in only six years. We jokingly say, “It takes a lot of work to break one in, only to have to do it again!”
I remind every author that they are professionals. Their “job” is to write the next book. The rest will get sorted. Sure, it can be frustrating and upsetting, especially if that treasured editor has become a lifelong friend. (I know of some authors who ended up following that editor to a new publishing company because of that relationship.)
When a long-time friend in the industry retires, I bemoan the loss. A considerable amount of “institutional memory” goes away. But, at the same time, it means new relationships and new opportunities are to begin with incredibly talented people.
The cliched phrase “Keep calm and carry on” should come to mind when contemplating the publishing environment. Thus I created the variation above.
Lean on your literary agent or professional advisors. We tend to stick around. 🙂
Keep writing. Obedience to your calling is a powerful thing.
[If you want to make your own “Keep Calm” poster, go to the Keep Calm-o-Matic site.]