Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Heartbreak (Or, On Losing a Beloved Author to Someone Else)

There comes a point in one's career as an editor at a small press when one's beloved authors are taken away from one by other more famous presses with more money.

One is both stupefied by the tragedy, and kind of flattered.

On the one hand, one loved that author as madly as one is wont to love one's authors. One feels horrifically jealous of the new editor who will be usurping this intimate creative role, and also feels (if unfairly) vaguely betrayed by this once-beloved author to whom little things like money, power, and career success matter more than your expert advice. One can't help but feel that way, even when one would have totally advised the same author as a friend to take the (much) bigger offer.

On the other hand, one can console oneself that one was a vital stepping stone in this author's career. If one had not thrown one's heart and soul into making the author's last book everything it possibly could be, perhaps the author wouldn't have caught the attention of this new, more moneyed publisher. Perhaps the author would still be a midlist, small press, or debut author. So this is in fact a triumph for one as well. One will be able to say, "Oh, Huge Star? I totally discovered Huge Star. Yeah, that was me. Those were the days." And it will totally all be worthwhile.

Yes. These are happy little tears. Sniff.

30 comments:

magolla said...

Awww. . . :-( {{HUGS}}

Uhm. . . you know, I'll be sacrificing a lot, but I'd be happy to be your new author 'project'. :-)

Ann Victor said...

Just think of the joy you'll get as you watch the seed you planted and watered and nurtured grow and grow into a mighty oak, which you watered with your tears.

Okay. It's nearly Christmas, so I'm allowed to be a bit sentimental when I read a story like this.

More seriously. The best teachers are those who encourage their most talented students to grow beyond them. I'm sure that applies to editors too.

WendyCinNYC said...

Aww, see, you're a nice person. I'd probably have a tough time being happy.

Anyway, good luck to the author and good luck to you in finding another beloved.

Lydia Sharp said...

Touching. *sniffles* Any author would be lucky to work with you.

onefinemess said...

Awwwww.

Susan at Stony River said...

Congratulations on seeing an author/friend off to bigger and better things... I think!

Sweet and sad, but maybe you'll get a whopper of a goodbye present out of it. Or good karma at least.

fairyhedgehog said...

Aww! That's so hard. You do all the work and then someone else reaps the benefits.

You're truly wonderful to look on the bright side.

Merry Monteleone said...

Awwwe, Moonie, I'm sorry you're losing an author you love, but I'd bet good money that the author in question is sad not to be working with you on their next novel, too.

Cyber hugs and strong coffee - always makes me feel better. (okay, cheesecake too).

Pamala Knight said...

I think someone needs to go have a huge cupcake, read Shel Silverstein's THE GIVING TREE (was it only me who thought that kid was a selfish little...) and then smile benevolently at the fruits of all someone's labor with chrysalis-turned-to-butterfly author.

Great work dear. [hugs]

Rebecca Knight said...

This sounds like a day for cake :). Cake is celebraty AND good for recovery!

Congratulations and condolences, Moonie! It's awesome that you're so passionate about your authors :).

Amy Allgeyer Cook said...

You must have been a great editor to HUGE STAR and you should be proud that s/he is going on to bigger things. Not better. Small presses rock! Just bigger. :)

Charles Gramlich said...

I've had this experience with faculty members. HIring good ones only to see them stolen away by bigger universities.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I love these glimpses into your side of things, Moonie. Is it hard, satisfying, or a little of both to be the behind-the scenes one in the publishing process?

Miriam S.Forster said...

Awwww... sniff.

I'm sad with you, but also proud of you. Sounds like you did an awesome job with that author!

Nishant said...

I'm allowed to be a bit sentimental when I read a story like this.


Work from home India

Chris Eldin said...

Money is fleeting...
She'll be in a different tax bracket. Her friends will want bigger holiday gifts. The dog will now expect weekly grooming. She'll be swept away by some young hottie who'll want to be kept in style.
It's just all wrong.
*shaking head at such madness*

Carolyn said...

There there. (Patting your shoulder consolingly)

Your author will remember you forever.

_*Rachel*_ said...

We're still here, Moonrat, and your author had better be fawning with gratitude.

Ebony McKenna. said...

oh wail and heartbreak and gnashing of teeth - and smile through it all.

*sniff*

Joe Iriarte said...

Awww.

(((Moonie)))

behlerblog said...

As an editor for a small press, I feel your pain. I recommend a pitcher full of margaritas.

megan said...

It's truly touching to see how attached to your authors you are!

While it's hard to let go, I hope you will find someone new and brilliant to love in their stead.

Do you ever keep in touch with writers that have moved on to larger publishing companies?

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I have one of those in my past. And now he's a great friend. So I got that much out of it. :)

Magaly Guerrero said...

I'll work as hard as I can, to see if one day I can be Huge Star, I like the way you talk about her. Strange, I never heard of sweet editor, I guess someone forgot about Sweet Editorial Ass.

Whirlochre said...

I appreciate the bittersweet conundrum — but it's better that birds fly from the nest than plummet SPLAT onto the pavement.

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Dawn Simon said...

You offer us so much with these posts. Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

Go get some cake or sushi. :)

Mike Lindgren said...

This happened to me years ago when I was an editor at a small press. We published a writer who had been rejected by every house in NYC. Went on to win PEN / Hemingway for us; eventually left and promptly won the NBA. Bittersweet, indeed.

Deb said...

What Amy said. Yes. Oh, very yes.

Maggie Stiefvater said...

*nostalgic sigh*

My first editor who plucked me from the slush pile gets Christmas goodies from me every year and he will always be Yoda. :D

Never fear, moonrat, we authors always love our first editors too.