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The Psychological Structure of the Publishing Industry: Writers and Authors are the Children, Literary Agents Are the (Good or Bad) Parents and Publishers Call the Shots

29 Apr

Today, we examine the structure of the publishing industry, trying to figure out why you may feel so lousy pursuing a literary career. (Unless you’re one of the anointed few making mega-bucks with your scribblings. I doubt that feels lousy.)

We’re going to take three different points of view, which add up to very similar conclusions. My fellow authors, Ruth Harris & Anne R. Allen, wrote a great blog article about Writers’ Masochism. That refers to writers taking personal garbage and ill-treatment that no one in any other industry would.

Except maybe law, our second point of view on this issue. Here’s a link an article by Will Meyerhoff, an attorney and psychotherapist. If you read Mr. Meyerhoff’s article, I think you’ll agree that the legal profession and publishing industry have much in common.
Professionally, I was an economist, negotiation coach, businesswoman, and horse rancher before entering the writing field. I have a couple of Master’s degrees, including one in counseling. I took my counseling degree in a program stressing family structure and systems––how the family’s unspoken rules work to keep some family members powerless and unhappy and allow others to be fat cats, throwing their weight around. This background served me well when I started writing seriously.

I entered the world of writing after an explosive personal experience back in 1995. I jumped into writing groups and editors and writing full time. Once I had written work and needed a publisher, I became acutely aware of of the structure of the literary/publication world. At the bottom of the triangle were hordes of wannabe authors––and they had to be published and traditionally, only. That’s all that mattered.