...has me confused, terrified and kind of excited at the same time.

When I first started learning about the publishing industry, I compared it to the ball in Cinderella. Getting that invitation was like being offered a contract: the chance of a lifetime. Once you entered the grand ballroom, dreams would come true. Sure, you might lose a shoe, have your carriage turn back into a pumpkin and go home and hang out with your dreaded stepsisters for a while, but once your book came out, the prince (book sales) would arrive and propel you into a new, fantabulous life.

Yeah, everything I knew fit on a pinhead.

Then I learned a little more, thanks to joining the Romance Writers of America and the Toronto Romance Writers and attending some workshops. Hey, I had to go, they have raffles at meetings!

Forget Cinderella -- I then compared the publishing industry to the Finding Nemo, where fears could become a reality despite the opportunities out there. Finding the right agent or editor for your manuscript would lead an author through schools of sharks, angry fisherman, rough coral, etc. And once you discovered your agent/editor/book deal, you could find yourself trapped in a tank (contract), unable to pursue more comfortable or beneficial ponds.

Then I started hanging out with published authors -- ones who'd experienced all sorts of awesome and not-so-awesome situations and had pretty colourful comparisons of their own -- and asked them about what a new author should be aware of in this ever-changing industry. Drinks may have been involved. And cupcakes.

The result? At the end of the day, it's all about writing the best story you can. Yes, it's good to be aware of your options and what to be aware of when it comes time to negotiate a contract, but without that great novel to sell, self-publish or whatever, you're no further ahead.

So now, I compare the publishing industry to The Princess Bride -- full of common themes, new twists and the opportunity to have your own version of a happy ending. Sword fighting optional.

How about you? What film would you compare the publishing industry to?

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