Sunday, March 13, 2005

Their Questions Are Amazing

On my Right-Writing.com website, I have a submission form. People can use this form to ask me any question about writing or editing. I make no guarantees that I will answer them.  As much as possible, I try to send short responses.

Here’s a recent example of what I’ve received, “Where can I get it done at and for a book that only has two pages how much would they pay you?”

From the question, I assume that I’m dealing with an unpublished writer and likely a young person (but it’s hard to tell). The question is valid but shows such a lack of education about the publishing world that I hardly know where to start and could easily write a lengthy answer that no one would read or care about.

Here’s what I sent the author, “A traditional book publisher is going to invest between $50,000 and $100,000 in pure production costs to produce a book and get it into the distribution system (at the bookstores). No one is going to produce a two page book with that sort of investment. As far as what they pay--it varies. The more experience you have the higher the paycheck. It's negotiated. Hope that helps you understand--publishing a business--a huge one.”

Each day, we are involved in the business of publishing. Because writing is a key part of the education system, it’s something many people feel like they could do—if they were given the right opportunity. Publishing is a business. The more you learn about it, the more you realize you have to learn. I’m constantly learning new aspects and techniques for this business—and I’ve been actively working at it for many years.

Some people may wonder, Why do you bother answering these questions from the new writer?  Each of us have to begin somewhere.  Not too many years ago, I didn’t know anything about the magazine world, then I started writing magazine articles and eventually became a magazine editor.  Years ago, I didn’t know much about writing children’s books, then I had the opportunity to write a number of them and I’ve learned a great deal in the process. My writing moved into the adult area of nonfiction and I gained additional experience. Finally I’ve grown in the area of fiction writing. Have I completed my education in these areas? Not even close. It’s a part of the journey and why I’m committed continuing to answer the most basic of questions.


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