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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Birthdays, Babbles and World Domination

Today is my fortieth birthday, and believe it or not, I woke up this morning with an old Bangles song in my head. You know the one that goes something like this:

Time, time, time see what’s become of me, as I look around for the possibilities, I was so hard to please…hang on to your hopes my friends, that’s an easy thing to say, but if your hopes should pass away, simply pretend that you can build them againwww.youtube.com/watch?v=NFRx4PkXeVM (you can watch the video here if you feel so inclined)

This song conjured two distinct thoughts in my head about blogging.

Thank God, because when I went to bed last night I was still undecided on what to talk about. First, I feel lucky that my hopes for writing are intact. I had set a goal for myself that by forty I would have sold my first novel. Though I’m not quite there, one of my dearest friends reminded me, while we were jogging on the treadmill on Monday, that I’m so close and have come so far. My agent, who I really adore, called me Sunday to impart some bittersweet news. He’d spoken with the editor of one of my dream NY houses who has my first novel. They passed on the novel, but the good news is the editor loved the characters and my voice and she wants to see the next book.

I was happy about this, but I can honestly say I didn’t find it something to really celebrate until I ran into my friend, and she reminded me of where I started with writing and how far I’ve come. I will say, though I don’t have a novel sold yet, I am part of an amazing novella that will be released November 1st, and I’m pretty darn stoked about that. I’m also more than hopeful that my biggest dream, to see one of my novels on the shelf of Barnes and Nobles, Books a Million or even in the airport terminal, will come true this year. This leads me to the next thing I woke up thinking about – Amazon.

They’re poised to take over the world. Just kidding. But seriously, my dream to sale to a big NY house better come true soon because if this article I read about Amazon http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/17/technology/amazon-rewrites-the-rules-of-book-publishing.html?_r=1&bl yesterday is close to being right, they’re at the obliteration starting gate and the first people they’ll be taking out are the NY publishers. Next are agents and editors. This article and the song in my head started me wondering if the young writers, I’m talking the twenty-something writers and the even younger writers who will be coming down the pipeline, even care or will care if they get a big NY publishing deal. Maybe their dream is to be the next internet runaway hit. I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind being the next big internet hit so long as I can buy one of my books in the bookstore as well.

One of my children wants to be a writer, amongst other things, and I do really wonder if he pursues this dream will he someday be whining about how getting the attention of NY publishers is so hard or will he be moaning that competing on Amazon in a flooded writer’s market is so difficult.

So I’d like to part with two questions. What song did you wake up with in your head this morning? And do you think the younger generation of writers will give a flip about the big NY publishers in five to ten years?

Have a wonderful day!

Julie Johnstone, The Marchioness of Mayhem


  1. Happy Birthday !!!

  2. Happy birthday, Julie! And that's the scary thing (and the exciting thing) about being a writer, right now. We just don't know where all these changes are going to end up, and so it's kind of hard to know which tree to bark up. I'm sure someday it will all settle down and we'll have a better idea...but right now? There are too many questions and too few answers.

  3. Happy birthday, Jules!

    I agree with Catherine, we don't know where things might go next. The good news is wherever publishing goes the writers are going to be there. :-)

    I woke up to Lady Gaga's "So Happy I Could Die". I'm happy, but the other part would be an overstatment.

  4. Happy Birthday Julie!!! You've definitely come a long way baby, and it is only a matter of time until we're all popping into B&N to buy your latest. Have a wonderful day, darling, and keep chasing that dream!

  5. Happy Birthday, Julie!!

    My first song of the day - Elevation by U2.

    Publishing is such a contentious issue right now. Who knows what the future will bring. But you must have your books where the readers are buying and, with the closure of so many bookstores, digital stores, like Amazon, will dominate. One of the things I really like about the rise of independant publishing is the growing number of authors making a living wage from their efforts. It's a very positive development.

  6. Happy Belated Birthday, Julie. Yes, I'm late. I'll be late to my own funeral lol. I have to agree with Heather though we as authors have to grow and adapt to the changing landscape that is now publishing. We'll see what the future holds. I'm glad your day went beautifully. It was well deserved and I hope you have many more wonderful birthdays!