The World Cup ended yesterday. Once again, Gryffindor beat Slytherin by 150 points after the snitch was caught in the final thirty seconds. Very exciting!
While this past month has had my very European neighborhood of Astoria, NY quite literally buzzing with excitement, I felt mostly bored. That is, until, I came up with this analogy. Soccer = Publishing!
– Winners. You know, those teams that will obviously make it far. (I’m told Brazil is one of these teams. And now apparently Spain.) In publishing, these teams are called the Big 6 (the top six publishing houses). Or they are stores like Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com, or agents like Andrew Wylie. (If you don’t know who he is, read this or this. Then feel free to be terrified.)
– Underdogs. The United States, for example, which is probably the only time we will ever be the underdog in anything, other than a “Can You Speak Two Languages?” contest. Publishing’s underdogs are the indies. The locals. The ones you root for and support even when it’s hard to do so.
– Competition. Publishing is insanely competitive (agents vying for clients, editors vying for projects, price wars, etc.). But, at its core, it’s really just all for the love of the game. I don’t think there is another sport as unifying as soccer.
– Divas. We call them “writers.” (But we still love you.)
– A Tiny Fan Base (if you are in America). While publishing appears to be our whole lives – with blogs and tweets and personalities who become like celebrities to us – it is still a very small, very specific world that most other people don’t know anything about, and care about even less. I’m pretty sure other countries still refer to us as the publishing industry though, rather than, say, football.
So, writers, when you get that request or sign that contract, sound your vuvuzelas because even though most people don’t understand the things that we do or the words that we say (query? recoverable? galley?), there ARE people who care! And we want you to win.