Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Map is not the Territory

Abstract map, painted by Lara Mukahirn and photographed by Nicolas Raymond, used under cc license

The Map is not the Territory is an interesting expression. It derives from the work of Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski and illustrates the difference between our beliefs about something and that something, itself.

For the past ten years, I've been traveling the landscape of the world of publishing, following a map inherited from a rich history of authors and publishers. But that map doesn't fully represent the lay of the land anymore.

So much has changed in publishing, I'm not sure anyone has an accurate map anymore, if they ever did.

For the past 5 years, I have been in an author-agent agreement with Nephele Tempest of The Knight Agency. It has been a good working relationship and I have learned an enormous amount about publishing and my own writing in the process. Unfortunately, Nephele wasn't able to successfully complete a sale, despite going out on submission with several of my novels. 

In conversations that have spanned much of the past year, we have come to realize that we are not on the same map. My vision of what I need and want to write isn't congruent with what she believes she can sell.

It doesn't make her map wrong and my map right. (Remember, the map isn't the territory it attempts to represent.) However, it does make it impossible to journey together.

So we have dissolved our agreement and gone our separate ways amicably. 

I appreciate all the hard work Nephele has done on my behalf.  I have fellow writer friends who are represented by her and her agency and I wish them well.

I have not yet decided if I will return to the landscape of agents and submissions and query for another agent representative.

For now, I have a book launch in less than three weeks to focus on, and another SF&F anthology to co-edit. As things continue to unfold in new and uncharted ways, I will study the maps, all the while reminding myself that the map is not the territory.

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