I like to think of myself as a 'glass-half-full' kind of person. Now, before those of you who know me fall to the floor in uncontrollable laughter, I'd like to clarify. I'm a glass half-full girl only after the full-blown panic attack that seems to be my first reaction to any new situation. It doesn't take long after my initial response for me to strap on my big girl panties and get 'er done. Whatever 'er we're talking about.
About a year ago, I was approached, along with many others, by USA Today's Happy Ever After editor, to become a contributor to their New Release section. In exchange for my hard work, I'd get a mention in the column each time books I'd found made it into the section. After my initial panic when I wondered how I'd ever find the time, I settled in and got 'er done. My 'beat' was historical romances set in America from the Colonial period through the Civil War. Later on, my role expanded to include pirate books and wild and wanton updates of the classics. It became a routine. Every Saturday morning, I'd scour NetGalley along with half a dozen publisher sites to find new releases for the coming week that fit my given criteria. It was an excellent way for me to keep on top of the industry, and to find the other authors who think the era in which I like to set my stories is as fascinating as I do. Glass half-full.
So imagine my surprise when I got an email from the editor at the HEA column saying they were eliminating the New Release section from their web presence, since it didn't get a large number of hits. I realize USA Today needs to remain flexible and adjust to the changing winds of the publishing industry, but I was now out of a job! Whatever was I to do? Full-blown panic.
Then, the reality of the situation set in. I had two more hours in my weekend now, to do whatever I wanted. I could peruse NetGalley for new releases, but only if I wanted to. I could now gallop to the finish line on my next historical. I could maybe write a guest blog for someone. I could begin to write the contemporary that's been banging around in my head for four months now. See? Glass half-full girl, panties in place, at your service.
Is it the end of an era at USA Today? Perhaps, in its current format. But more emphasis is being placed on in-depth stories from the authors themselves. My takeaway from the shift in coverage is readers feel a need to connect, not only with the characters, but with the author. Human contact in an increasingly technological world. Makes sense to me.
I don't know about you but I'm going to embrace the change and call it a new beginning. Perhaps, one day, I'll be that featured author that readers want to get to know. And, I'll graciously answer all questions put to me. Right after I have a panic attack.