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After all, no alert writers who negotiate good contractual terms with a house that has published many fine novelists expect to receive a document advising them to sign for new, egregious contractual terms or else see their publishing rights tied up in bankruptcy for years; but it happened to dozens of them. Shrewd writers who sign with a major house don’t expect to get shafted on their earnings because the publisher plays corporate shell games with authors’ earnings in a country known for its secret banking laws; but it happened to hundreds of them.

The many Bad Things that keep happening to writers in traditional publishing these days evince why it’s delusional when someone says they want to stick with traditional publishing, rather than self-publish, because they don’t want to think about business, they just want to write.

There are a lot of good opportunities these days for a writer, including (yes, really) many paths in traditional publishing; but there are no circumstances in the contemporary landscape in which the writer can survive— let alone thrive—if she’s only willing to “just write.” If you “ignore business” in this industry, then Bad Things will certainly happen to you—simply because they’re happening all the hell over the publishing industry these days.

Laura Resnick recently celebrated (so to speak) her 25th anniversary as a full-time, self-supporting career novelist.

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