Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category:
When you’re a writer you know better than anyone else that things are subjective. And while we’re forced to accept that and encouraged to understand it, it’s not always easy to remember. We read about best-selling authors being rejected a gazillion times before selling the same block-buster they pitched the day before. While we believe it, we don’t like it.
We’ll never like it.
In a way the incongruity of the publishing industry leaves room for the breadth of books and authors out there. I read books and pass them on to both accolades for my keen sense of picking a winner or snares and snarls for not. Our appetite for books vary – and none is wrong. But it is reassuring to see that professional editors have made mistakes – that they’ve turned away books they wish they had not.
On Betsy Lerner’s blog today she gives current examples of this. And while she might be referencing books that did sell and do well, it’s still a testament to the subjective nature of the publishing business.
That’s a reminder I never tire of. Truly.
I was reading Publisher’s Weekly and learned that Amazon had mysteriously refunded Kindle owners for their purchases of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 because the e-books were illegal copies.
Can’t have illegal e-books floating around the Kindlesphere. I get it.
What I don’t understand is why the publisher of these titles doesn’t make the book available – legally – to Kindle users. Would all these same readers have purchased paper copies of these books? Probably not. Would they be rereading these classics on the train, in their backyards or carpool lines? Probably not unless they were in eighth grade.
I don’t know the process a publisher goes through to do this, and I’ve read the arguments against e-books. I don’t own a Kindle and have never read an e-book — but I know that it’s a driving force in the future of publishing. If When I publish, I’ll want my book available to anyone who wants to read it, no matter their preference of how to do so.
I tend to think of technology as only taking us forward, but in this case technology people back — back to classic books. There is no down-side. Nothing negative. I know e-books take the heart and soul of book publishers and trample them. I know that industries will suffer if there are no more paper books. I’m not talking about getting rid of books – I am just curious why ‘older’ books would not be available on Kindle and if it’s a philosophical or business decision on the part of the publisher.
What would some of our own favorite, classic authors would think of that? So many writers were trailblazers. Countless authors charted new territory. They took risks with their words. They made people happy and angry. Authors, over the course of time, have ruffled many feathers and set the course for changes in history.
So, perhaps the future of publishing should have a new motto.
In my mind it would be…
What would Jane Austen do?
I think she’d want to set a precedent for something new. I believe she would gleefully agree to do something no author had yet done.
And considering the futuristic nature of George Orwell’s novels, I have to think he’d be on board as well.
(I know that the author isn’t the publisher, don’t worry, I’m just sayin…)
I got two — count ‘em TWO rejections this week for short submissions to literary journals. I’ll be honest the rejections don’t impact me much as I go down my list of where to send next, and instead of chalking it up to writing that sucks, I assume the piece wasn’t right for that pub or that editor on that day. And I move on. I think when I query my WIP it will be a whole new world of rejections. Really looking forward to that. Not.
But a new blog friend of mine has taken rejection to new heights. Culinary heights. With every rejection she posts a Rejection Recipe – complete with pictures. Who could ask for a better way to get out of the rejection section of your brain?
So not only do she and I share a middle name, and not only is she a librarian — two facts that would endear her to me without food — but she has artfully combined gorgeous and delicious in one place. Gorgelicious. (Pun unintended, but delightful, nonetheless, yes?)
When I query I plan to tell all right here — changing identifying details of course. I don’t know how I’ll feel or what I’ll do with each one, but I do know I won’t bake — although those days might very well involve chocolate.
I started watched American Idol Season 8 like millions of others — during the horrible, embarrassing audition process where tens of thousands of wannabes lined up in cities across our fair nation waiting for their time, their turn, their shot at the big time.
It’s a little like the slush pile aspiring authors hear so much about — or even know about first hand. Where we write and write like so many others, hoping to hitch our wagon to our publishing star.
As we write and rewrite and edit our books, and then labor over query letters, we send them/ourselves off to our own type of auditions with tens of thousands of other query letters. And just like the auditioning singers are horrible, so are some queries. Just like some singers shouldn’t even be singing in public, some writers shouldn’t really be writing for publication. Some are just not ready. Some will never be ready.
But of course there are those who rise to the top of the slush pile or the front of the audition line.
They get that golden ticket to move forward and go to Hollywood, or in a writer’s case, they’re invited to send their partial. There’s a lot of celebration, yet it’s just the first step. In a way, it’s the second level of slush piles.
The singers go to Hollywood. The writers spit and polish their stories. Everyone is under even more scrutiny than before, the stakes are higher. This is where you must be even better than you thought you had to be.
This is where you find out you might not be as good as you thought.
This, we hope, is where the cream begins to rise.
On American Idol it comes down to a final 36, 24, 12. In publishing it comes down to submitting your full manuscript. On AI you need votes to stay in the game. In publishing you must keep the agent’s attention and make him or her fall in love with your book. Similarly, American Idol contestants work hard not only to be the best they can be, but to make America fall in love with them.
Contestants want votes. Votes are not only part of a popularity contest, but a show of faith in a singer’s ability and potential. Writers want agent representation — it’s a show of faith in our ability to write a book that will sell.
They want more votes. We want an offer on our manuscript (hopefully with an advance).
The singers want to be the next American Idol. We want to be published authors. (To writers it might be the same thing as being American Idol, by the way.)
And just like surprise endings on Idol (I really thought Adam would win) — books often have surprise endings. And just like some voted for Adam and some for Kris, we gravitate to different authors based on personal taste.
American Idol is public, and the journey to publication is often private — but they both embrace artists with talent, drive, determination — and a little chutzpah doesn’t hurt either.
The American Idol gets a contract and now a trophy as well. A published writer gets to hold a book in his or her hand.
And while a writer’s journey might not include KISS or Lionel Ritchie or dry ice — we can write at home in our pajamas.
And that rocks in its own way.
I tried four times to describe it. I couldn’t do it justice. I, yes I, was at a loss for words. If it happens again please alert the media.
Originally I followed the link from Literary Agent Janet Reid’s blog, but just needed to scoop it for myself — and all of you!
Having writer friends who write books you can read and enjoy – if only you could get it away from your kid.
Congratulations on Magickeepers, Erica! And thanks, as always, for everything.
Those who know me well might be surprised that I could tell a story in six sentences. Apparently, I can. I found out yesterday that my six sentence submission will be included in Six Sentences, Volume 2, available on Amazon.com on March 31st.
Here’s one of Amazon’s description of Six Sentences, Volume 1:
“Six Sentences (6S) is a webzine dedicated to the art of microflash fiction, a difficult art in the world of prose. Stories are told in just six sentences only – and what a wealth of stories: tales that evoke awe and beauty and sadness and outright guffaws. This is the first print anthology of these little gems by dozens of authors, some well-known, others hoping to be so.”
Here’s a little promo for 6S, V2.
I’ve pointed all of you to Jackson Pearce before — she makes/has/produces funny and informative video blogs about writing. She’s so good at those vlogs, I have forgiven (but not forgotten) the fact that she is 24. Yes, 24.
Her first book, a YA novel called As You Wish will be on bookshelves on August 25th.
This vlog is a sweet peek into the real life of an almost-to-be-published-in-a-minute author. I couldn’t help but smile and laugh right along with her. It was a great way to start my Saturday.
Literary agent Nathan Bransford posted Ten Commandments for a Happy Writer on his blog as part of his “week of positivity.”
I agree with all of them completely, except #8.
Park your jealousy at the door. Writing can turn ordinary people into raving lunatics when they start to believe that another author’s success is undeserved. Do not begrudge other writers their success. They’ve earned it. Even if they suck.
I am not a jealous person and let’s face it — I could be — I live in an affluent married suburb and I am neither affluent or married. If I was jealous, I would not have time for anything else. I’m not jealous of other writers who are successful because most of them have earned it and in my opinion there is room on the bookshelves for everyone, there are so many kinds of novels and non-fiction books that without a variety of genres and styles, someone would get left out of the reading loop — and I wouldn’t want that.
But has a writer really earned it if they — in the eloquent terminology of Mr. Bransford — SUCK? I don’t care about the celebrities or the Octomoms who get book deals. They’re NOT writers and I want more than my name on a book cover, I want to be a career writer/author.
But what about the authors who don’t write well — or the ones that stumble into publishing without any sweat or toil or angst?
Yep, I must admit that bugs me. Green with envy? Not really, because I don’t allow myself to be. In the end they’re not what I want to be — someone intimately involved in the world of writing and publishing; storytelling and building a readership. I don’t want to be known as The Accidental Author. I want to have earned it.
How about you?
Yesterday was my son’s 17th birthday. I bought a cake much too big for the three of us, but the itty bitty cakes just didn’t appeal to me. They didn’t seem festive. But this one? You bet. Even if it could have served the entire block and even though I’ll throw it away tonight by putting it at the bottom of a very stinky trash can.
Freeze it, you say? Ha, silly bloggers. Frozen cake is no match for me.
When I took the cake out of the bag I noticed it had not gotten dinged or smudged. It was perfect.
“I’m a pretty good cake-carrier,” I thought. And then I contemplated a future in the delivery of cakes, perhaps on one of my favorite shows, The Ace of Cakes or Food Network Challenge.
I took off the plastic dome cover and saw there was a thin plastic strip around the sides of the cake. Very smart and very tricky making me think I was some kind of guru at not smashing cakes. I felt a little deceived, but relieved nonetheless. Something important was duly protected.
Then, believe it or not, I thought about writing and protecting things – and people – I care about. I take that very seriously. That is why I suggested Debbie remove parts of her novel she posted on her blog. That is when I was divorced, I told my friend if anything ever happened to me to come and get my jewelry so other people did not descend upon it with supposedly rightful arms. It’s also why I don’t — or I try – not to gossip. Not partaking in that mishegas – craziness, in Yiddish — protects not only the person who is being talked about, but me from being part of it and falling into that abyss.
The plastic wrapper around the cake reminded me that there are many ways to protect what we hold dear and that not everyone reveres the same ideals, people or things. It also made me think that if Debbie wants to put her novel on her blog – who am I to even voice an opinion? Plenty of writers post snippets of unpublished works on their blogs. Maybe they attach a virtual sheet of protective plastic, or a copyright symbol or a warning with a skull and cross-bones or a photo of a scary dog.
Or maybe they just aren’t concerned at all about unpublished work available to the cosmos — maybe they wouldn’t care about the smashed side of a birthday cake.
Hey, anybody want a piece of cake?