I like to share what some of my students think about the world of publishing. I try not to project my opinion on to students and clients but rather provide them with information so they can form their own opinions, regardless of my thoughts. Here's more from Charlene, a student who has taken not only writing classes from me but from other teachers as well. She is also trying to get a children's book published and working on a novel. She is a GREAT writer and has a sharp eye for whats what in the word of publishing. Read on!
Some of the publishing business stuff doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. I thought about it in terms of money/profit. They say publishing companies will publish what they think they will sell – bottom line. So, when they say ‘your work doesn’t fit in to what we are looking for’ or ‘we don’t have room on our list for your work’ – I wonder if they look at ‘their list’ and only expand it if they think what a new author is presenting would be a ‘big hit’. It is certainly their opinion and we know about editors/publishing companies who have missed the boat on some books/authors.
If I look at an example of a well known author who is published now and self published previously –this author’s books were published and started to catch on and by the time they went back and published his first ‘self-published’ book I think they did it at a time when anything that came out in his name was selling. They knew they couldn’t lose!
I dislike the fact that they only care about money but I know that is how business works. I understand we all need to get paid and we need money to live….but the creative piece is lost in there somewhere.
First, I had a great time in class. I am so happy to be in there and have writing assignments! Sounds sick! I know! And I don’t care!
Next, I thought about Erika’s question about theme and getting stuck figuring out or verbalizing what the theme of a story is. You used an example last night and said here is a story you know – what was the theme(s)? That helped me clarify if I get it or not. I found if I do that several times, as an exercise it helps me to be able to pick out the theme and then do it with my own story. Ex. Wizard of Oz – one theme is ‘there’s no place like home’.
Next, another angle on those self published books you have - I spoke to my friend who is a student at URI in the Masters Library Science program. She is in a class called Rare Books. She shared some good news with me about books and authors. You know the box of books you referred to in your b-l-o-g not that long ago? Well, Elaine says that you should store some of those self published books away because when you become a well known author, collectors will want to get their hands on a copy of every book you wrote. The self published copies will be the most valuable because they will be the hardest for collectors to find and purchase. She told me I need to hang on to my copies of your books, since you signed them for me.
So, let that agent work your deal and you make sure you store some of those books away.
On to writing the next one!