I hope that sound is not me falling and landing splat on my rear end on a New York City sidewalk, trying to get somewhere in a hurry and failing to maintain my dignity (wobbly as it is to begin with.)
As I get ready to leave for ALAN, I am thinking about failed and fallen books. I've read maybe three new books published this year by favorite YA authors that did not, in my opinion, measure up to past work. At first I was surprised--I could fail, and have, but surely not them! I felt vaguely shocked, not to mention disappointed. Then I thought, "Eh, so what." I will still eagerly await their next books.
Every author (with a few golden exceptions) walks a tightrope over a chasm of failure with each book, and even good authors occasionally tumble in. I am not sure if that is forgivable in today's YA market, where so much emphasis is placed on buzz buzz buzz and sales sales sales.
My books live in pretty much a buzz-free, sales-free zone, so I suppose I shouldn't go around saying "in today's market," as if I knew what that meant. I don't, really, except it sounds big and scary. In truth, it probably isn't much different from "yesterday's market" or "tomorrow's market."
Here, though, is something I can verify as true: despite my experience with failure, I still write each new book in a state of renewed innocence, believing I am standing firmly on the ground, ignorant of the long, pitiless fall just below my feet.