We have train tracks that come up from the south, travel right through town and then exit our little burg heading across the prairie to the northeast. Our house is situatuated in such a way that it sounds like the train chugs through our living room and out our bedroom window.
It doesn’t really bother me. I don’t mind the whistle and the rumble. What I don’t like is being railroaded.
In my real life (as opposed to my imaginary, writing one), I feel like I’m being pushed “hastily or without due consideration” in a business transaction. Thanks Webster.
I think it’s because I’m a female and all the other players are male. Or maybe it’s because I’m blonde or short or 38. Regardless, the “neutral” party in this matter is anything but neutral.
Back when I started writing, I subbed directly to editors a handful of times. Picture books and chapter books aren’t lucrative and finding agents willing to take on a big project with big risk and low returns was difficult at best. I figured it would be just as easy to deal directly with the publishers.
And back then, it might have been. However, technology has changed so rapidly and so drastically I realized that having an advocate for my writing would be in my best interest. I didn’t want to get railroaded into a contract that favored one party (the publisher) significantly over the other (me).
Because even when I know what’s going on (my real life), people still try to take advantage of others. And I certainly don’t know enough about the publishing industry to sufficiently safeguard my assets. Nor do I want to settle for a lesser deal simply because I’m blonde, short, 38 or female.
Instead, I want someone firmly in my corner. Biased toward me and my writing. Passionate about what I have done and can do and knowledgable enough to keep my train on the right track.
I’ll leave all that up to Agent Awesome.
How about you: do you want a publisher or an agent? Are you afraid of being railroaded in an industry you lack sufficient knowledge about, or are you comfortable enough with your skills to navigate the train tracks on your own?