Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Hope For Children's Writers

Almost weekly I receive queries from would-be children's writers asking me to represent their work at my literary agency. These requests continue to come even though the agency submission guidelines clearly say that I’m not interested in representing children's books.
Many writers have no idea about the reasons or what to do about it. They've decided to write children's books because they are reading lots of them to their own children--and believe they could do a better job than what is out there in the marketplace. There are several business realities these would-be authors never consider:
First, children's books are a high risk area for most publishers. Full-color printing for children's books is expensive. I've seen a number of printing statements inside the publishing house which is well over $150,000. Children's writers believe because there are few words on the page, they don't think about the actual business expense involved for a publisher. The publishers who last make careful decisions about what they print--and even then they are surprised. I can recall a specific series of books where one of my former publishers put a lot of money and energy into marketing and producing full-color, graded picture books. These books came out with great fanfare--and have since faded from the marketplace. I did a simple search and found them in the used book market--but not on the publisher site. It means they are mostly out of print and involved a huge loss for the publisher. Almost no author thinks about this risk when they propose their little children's book idea to a publisher or a literary agent.
Second, many children’s advances are modest (read small). Literary agents work on commission or a percentage of the deal (typically 15%). OK, take off your writer’s perspective for a minute and look at your children's submission from the literary agent's view. Understanding the average first-time children's author with a traditional publisher may receive a $500 or $1,000 advance for their book--and that 90% of nonfiction books never earn back that advance or earn additional funds, which would you want to be selling as an agent? Would you rather sell an adult novel or a nonfiction book proposal for a larger advance (even for a first-time author) or a modest children's book writer? Simple economics are one of the reasons that it’s hard for any children's writer to find a literary agent which will represent their work.
Third, book packagers produce many children’s books. I've written a number of posts about packagers. Look for many of these posts in September 2006. Many writers do not want to write for these packagers because they are typically work-made-for-hire yet it’s another reality check about the children's book market. Publishers are turning to book packagers to produce these books. So if you want to write them, then you need to be working with the packagers.
OK, if you are still reading this post, you are probably wondering where is the hope for children's writers. I’m getting there. The first step as a writer is to face the realities of the marketplace so you know what you are facing. Then you will increase your chances for success.
The children's marketplace is alive and well. If you want to write this material, you need to arm yourself with knowledge, insight and good information. Here's a new 2008 resource which is available for you from the Institute of Children’s Literature, the nation's oldest home correspondence course for children. I'm a former instructor in this company and know they produce quality materials.

If you follow this link, you will see the 2008 Book Markets for Children’s Writers
which contains more than 50 completely new markets and 574 updated and verified listings. More than the publisher information, this book contains detailed feature articles to help you craft the right pitch to the right publisher.
Many children's writers have tunnel vision. They only want to write children's books yet they need to build their visibility and reputation in the marketplace over in the magazine market. Also I recommend 2008 Magazine Markets for Children's Writers. This comprehensive book includes more than 65 completely new markets along with 676 updated and verified listings. Beyond the listings, children's writers need to study the feature articles and learn about animal and nature writing, holiday and seasonal needs along with multicultural markets.
Writing for children is a noble and good idea--but you have to be armed with good information or you will simply collect rejections. I wish you well in the learning process and the publishing journey.
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Not Your Usual Ebook

Over the weekend, I read an ebook called 6 Figure Freelancer by David Drake. It's a tricky balance to have personal stories combined with practical information for any freelance writer to earn additional income. From my perspective, Drake achieves this delicate balance in 6 Figure Freelancer. I meet many different writers and all too often they attempt to enter the writing world through a highly competitive area of the market such as writing a novel or writing a children's book. There are many different types of freelance writing and ways to increase your income. I like how Drake tackles the online world with practical information. While it's encouraging, it combines common sense tactics to show writers how to increase their income through the online marketplace. The specific how-to information was loaded with sound advice such as how to avoid scas and specific websites to examine.

I reviewed this entire ebook as well as the bonus books. It's an attractive package which I recommend you consider this guaranteed product.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Are You Thankful For The Thorns?

Maybe you've seen this story but it was new to me. In this season of thanksgiving, I wonder if you are thankful for the difficulties and the rejection that comes your way? Writers hear the word "no" a great deal in their career. That is if they plan to actually have a career in this publishing business.

The following story came through my email. A google search revealed that it has been often used in many places. Maybe it will be new to you as well:

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor automobile accident stole her ease. During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss.

As if that weren't enough her husband's company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What's worse, Sandra's friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her to empathize with others who suffer. "Had she lost a child? No, she has no idea what I'm feeling," Sandra shuddered. Thanksgiving? "Thankful for what?" she wondered. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?

"Good afternoon, can I help you?" The flower shop clerk's approach startled Sandra. "Sorry," said Jenny the shop clerk, "I just didn't want you to think I was ignoring you."

"I -- I need an arrangement."

"For Thanksgiving?" Sandra nodded. "Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Thanksgiving Special?" Jenny saw Sandra's curiosity and continued. "I'm convinced that flowers tell stories, that each arrangement insinuates a particular feeling. Are you looking for something that conveys gratitude this Thanksgiving?"

"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted. "Sorry, but in the last five months, everything that could go wrong has." Sandra regretted her outburst but was surprised when Jenny said, "I have the perfect arrangement for you." The door to the shop once again opened.

"Barbara! Hi," Jenny said. She politely excused herself from Sandra and walked toward a small workroom. She quickly reappeared carrying a massive arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Only, the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped, no flowers.

"Want this in a box?" Jenny asked. Sandra watched for Barbara's response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems and no flowers! She waited for laughter, for someone to notice the absence of flowers atop the thorny stems, but neither woman did.

"Yes, please. It's exquisite," said Barbara. "You'd think after three years of getting the special, I'd not be so moved by its significance, but it's happening again. My family will love this one. Thanks."

Why so normal a conversation about such a strange arrangement? She wondered. "Ah, said Sandra, pointing. "That lady just left with, ah" "Yes?" "Well, she had no flowers!" "Right, I cut off the flowers." "Off?" "Off. Yep. That's the Special. I call it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet." "But, why do people pay for that?" In spite of herself, Sandra chuckled. "Do you really want to know?" "I couldn't leave your shop without knowing. I would wonder about nothing else!"

"That might be good," said Jenny.

"Well," she continued, "Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you feel today. She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she faced major surgery. That same year, I lost my husband. I assumed complete responsibility for the shop and for the first time, spent the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel," Jenny said. "What did you do?"

"I learned to be thankful for thorns."

Sandra's eyebrows lifted. "Thorns?"

"I'm a Christian Sandra and I believe God gave us all things in life, but I never thought to ask Him why good things happened to me. But, when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time to learn that dark times are important. I always enjoyed the 'flowers' of life but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God's comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're afflicted and from His consolation we learn to comfort others."

Sandra gasped, "A friend read that passage to me and I was furious! I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've lost a baby and I'm angry with God." She started to ask Jenny to "go on" when the door's bell diverted their attention.

"Hey, Phil!" shouted Jenny as a balding, rotund man entered the shop. She softly touched Sandra's arm and moved to welcome him. He tucked her under his side for a warm hug.

"I'm here for twelve thorny long- stemmed stems!" Phil laughed, heartily. "I figured as much," said Jenny. "I've got them ready." She lifted a tissue-wrapped arrangement from the refrigerated cabinet. "Beautiful," said Phil. "My wife will love them."

Sandra couldn't help but ask, "These are for your wife?" Phil saw that Sandra's curiosity matched his when he first heard of a Thorn Bouquet. "Do you mind me asking, Why thorns?"

"In fact, I'm glad you asked," he said. "Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but we slogged through, problem by rotten problem. We rescued our marriage our love, really. Last year at Thanksgiving I stopped in here for flowers. I must have mentioned surviving a tough process because Jenny told me that for a long time she kept a vase of rose stems-just the stems-as a reminder of what she learned from "thorny" times. That was good enough for me. I took home stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific thorny situation and give thanks for what the problem taught us. I'm pretty sure this stem review has become a tradition." Phil paid Jenny, thanked her again and as he left, said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"

"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life." Sandra said to Jenny.

"Well, my experience says that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, Sandra, Jesus wore a crown of thorns so that we might know His love. Do not resent thorns, actually be thankful for them."

Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident she loosened her grip on resentment. "I'll take twelve long-stemmed thorns, please."

"I hoped you would," Jenny said. "I'll have them ready in a minute. Then, every time you see them, remember to appreciate both good and hard times. We grow through both."

"Thank you. What do I owe you?"

"Nothing. Nothing but a pledge to work toward healing your heart. The first year's arrangement is always on me." Jenny handed a card to Sandra. "I'll attach a card like this to your arrangement, but maybe you'd like to read it first. Go ahead, read it."

My God, I have never thanked you for my thorn! I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed to you by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow. ~ George Matheson

Jenny said, "Happy Thanksgiving, Sandra," handing her the Special. "I look forward to our knowing each other better." Sandra smiled. She turned, opened the door and walked toward hope.

Whenever you read this entry, take a few minutes to be thankful for the trials of life and what you are learning from it. It may give you a new perspective on your writing life.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Familiar Writer Sounds

I belong to several online writers groups. One member sent out this YouTube video called Writer Montage. It struck a solid chord of truth with me as I've watched it. It's a rare day that I watch anything on YouTube so I hope you will enjoy this brief look at some familiar writer sounds:

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Are You Listening To The Music?

Occasionally in these entries about the writing life, I write about a recent movie. For weeks, my wife and I have watched the trailer in the theaters of August Rush. From the first time we saw it, this movie looked like one we wanted to make sure and see. The tag line for the movie says, "The Music Is Everywhere. All You Have To Do Is Listen." In a word, this movie delivers on the promise and is well-worth adding to your movie plans.

Last Saturday night, we caught a "sneak preview" of August Rush and every seat in the theater was filled. For almost two hours, we were held spellbound with this moving story. Two musicians meet and spend a night together (which is tastefully portrayed). Lyla is pregnant and goes into labor. Her controlling father implies the baby died but actually he forged her signature on the adoption papers. Eleven years later when the father goes into the hospital and is dying, he tells his daughter that her son is alive. It sets her on a search for her son. Three strands of human experience are woven into a rich storytelling experience.

Evan Taylor searches for himself and his parents. In many ways I saw the story parallel to the parable Jesus told about The Prodigal Son--yet in modern day circumstances and situations. I was fascinated with the experience of Evan and his genius talent with music. For any film like August Rush, powerful screenwriting is the foundation and this movie has such power. Original music is woven into the storytelling and combined with solid acting. It's a film that I will want to see several times in the days ahead.

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Monday, November 19, 2007

One In Millions

It's the stuff of self-publishing legends and the hope of each self-published author--yet it is one in millions. I'm referring to The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans. He tells a bit of his story in the biography page from his personal website, "When Richard Paul Evans wrote the #1 best-seller, The Christmas Box, he never intended on becoming an internationally known author. Officially, he was an advertising executive, an award-winning clay animator for the American and Japanese markets, candidate for state legislature and most importantly, husband and father. The Christmas Box was written as an expression of love for his (then) two daughters. Though he often told them how much he loved them, he wanted to express his love in a way that would be timeless. In 1993, Evans reproduced 20 copies of the final story and gave them to his closest relatives and friends as Christmas presents. In the month following, those 20 copies were passed around more than 160 times, and soon word spread so widely that bookstores began calling his home with orders for it."

Many writers who want to follow in Evans footsteps miss the fact that his manuscript was excellent and compelling. It had that word-of-mouth pass along quality that publishers are looking for from writers--yet rarely finding. Ultimately Evans sold the hardcover rights to Simon and Schuster for a $4.25 million dollar advance. He gives more of the results of this sale on his personal site saying, "His quiet story of parental love and the true meaning of Christmas made history when it became simultaneously the #1 hardcover and paperback book in the nation. Since then, more than eight million copies of The Christmas Box have been printed. The Emmy award-winning CBS television movie based on The Christmas Box starred Maureen O'Hara and Richard Thomas. Two more of Evans's books were produced by Hallmark and starred such well-known actors as James Earl Jones, Vanessa Redgrave, Naomi Watts, Mary McDonough and Academy award winner Ellen Burstyn. He has since written 10 consecutive New York Times bestsellers and is one of the few authors in history to have hit both the fiction and non-fiction bestseller lists."

Here's my question for you: how to you get a book simultaneously #1 on the hardcover and paperback bestseller lists? Usually publishers control the release of the hardcover and paperback. The hardcover is released first, then when sales decline, the paperback is released. Evans held both positions. The answer is another point to make: Evans was wise about how he negotiated his publishing contract. He contracted with Simon and Schuster for the hardcover rights but kept the paperback rights and continued to sell them—and control the elements with this part of the book.

Many years ago I met Evans at the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Association Trade Show in Denver. He autographed a copy of the paperback version of The Christmas Box which I have on my bookshelf (third printing, 1994). A little over a week ago at the Florida Writers Association in Orlando, Evans was the keynote speaker and I saw him briefly again. He donated a copy of The Christmas Box paperback to each person at the conference. His message to the conference was inspirational and encouraging. I appreciated the opportunity to see Evans again and hear him speak.

Let me finish this entry pointing to a fascinating article from Carolyn Campbell at Writing-World.com about Evans. Buried in this article is something that many fiction authors miss--but they should be thinking about for the promotion of their novels. Evans said, "Along the way, I discovered it's very difficult to get national media attention for fiction. Talk show hosts feel that fiction isn't intriguing or relevant enough for them to sit down and talk about it. Eighty percent of the books featured on talk shows are nonfiction, where they can talk about relationships or dads or near-death experiences. They feel that asking a fiction author to "tell me what your book is about," doesn't make a good interview. Luckily, I had a story behind my book (his mother losing a child to death) that made it interesting to the press."

For fiction authors, it is your nonfiction topic which you are going to be talking about in your interviews with the media and to promote the book. It is not your novel. Through writing your book, you've become an expert in this particular topic and need to emphasize it to catch media attention.

There are valuable lessons from Evans story for every author--whether you write fiction or nonfiction. First, the entire publishing process is based on having an excellent, compelling manuscript. Second, you need to be wise about how you handle the business details like your book contract. Finally, be aware for the promotion that you will need to be the expert in a nonfiction topic to get media attention.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Answer The Question

Over the last week, I've had limited opportunity to add new entries about The Writing Life. I was traveling to the Florida Writers Conference in Orlando. For me, I was with a new group of writers and always brings some interesting interaction and dynamics. Each writers conference has it's own rhythm and personality. Throughout the past year, I've been to almost a conference each month. During June, I spoke three weekends in a row--which was a bit intense especially zigzagging around the country from home to Amarillo, Texas to home to Roanoke, Virginia to home to Charlotte, North Carolina to home.

At the Florida conference there wasn't a faculty meeting or occasion to meet the various leaders of the local group so I had to pick up this information throughout the conference. Some conferences begin with a faculty meeting which provides this type of information. I taught two workshops and as the weekend progressed, I learned my volunteer room monitor was the Vice President of the Florida Writers Association, Chrissy Jackson. To get feedback about the individual workshops, each participant was given a simple evaluation slip when they came into the room. After the workshop, they filled out the slip and returned it to the registration desk. Why? Because when they turned in their feedback, they were given a numbered raffle ticket. At various points throughout the conference, these numbers were drawn and the winners received some nice prizes. This system gave the participants plenty of incentive to fill out the feedback forms and gather as many raffle tickets as they could collect.

At the end of the conference, Chrissy promised to send me my feedback from the registration forms, then she said, "I've seen your evaluations. It was very positive."

The way she said that statement made me think it was unusual and I said, "Isn't it supposed to be that way?"

Chrissy said, "Your workshop was different because when someone asked a question, you answered it for them in a way they could understand and apply."

As someone who has been attending writers conferences for many years, I was a bit confused. It didn't seem to me like I was doing anything unusual in answering the questions of the participants. "What's so different about that? Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do if you teach a workshop?" I inquired.

"You'd be surprised at some of the other workshop leaders, Terry," Chrissy said. "Yes, they give an answer but it doesn't connect to the question nor does it answer their question?" I was a bit surprised at the reaction and grateful that my teaching was well received.

Tomorrow I will continue to write about my experiences from this workshop. I met some fascinating people at this conference and formed some new and valuable friendships. It's another one of the benefits of going to different conferences--something I recommend.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It's Not Rocket Science

The question seemed like a simple one to me, "Do you work with children's publishers?" I found it on the network LinkedIn. It allowed me to send a question and learn more information about the need. It turns out this person worked in television and reached a large audience. He wanted to reach a children's publisher to explore a publishing relationship. I had never met this person.

I regularly answer all sorts of writing and publishing questions to help new and professional writers. Often I answer questions or respond with my opinion at a couple of different writing related forums. Some times it leads to some business opportunities and some times not. It's not why I'm answering the questions. Repeatedly I've seen as I engage people in the publishing process and help them with their need, then the business and work will come my direction. I’m in the middle of the mixture.

With this person that asked about children's publishers, we've just engaged in some conversation. I'm unsure where it will lead but without LinkedIn, I would never have had the connection in the first place. I'm beginning to learn the power of this connected network.

Several months ago, someone approached me and asked me to join their LinkedIn network. I glanced at it and refused. It was just one more "thing" for my involvement and at the time I couldn't do it. Then a few months later, someone else approached me about LinkedIn. This time I put some additional effort into exploring their system and adding to my profile. I filled out the request and slowly added my resume information and background to the online system.

View W. Terry Whalin's profile on LinkedIn

Let's face it. People tend to move around from position to position. Some times that person is good about notifying their network about the move. But many people are not skilled at such communication and lose part of their network with a move to a new company or a new location. Through LinkedIn, I've reestablished a number of relationships in the publishing community and in other places such as the tech community. You can control how much or how little information you include in your profile. I've found it another area that is good put into circulation. You never know what can happen from it--if you are using it.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

An Attention-Getting Book Title

Over the years, I've seen many book titles and most of them are not memorable and easy to forget. Then I was reading the Soapbox called "Shock and Yawn" by Jeff Gomez in Publishers Weekly. His new book is called Print Is Dead. He is definitely stirring some discussion in the publishing community. Here's one paragraph from his excellent article:

"The cold shoulder is especially evident at work (I'm employed at a major book publishing house). One co-worker, after I got into the elevator with him and a female colleague, said to her as we started to rise to our offices, "Don't talk to him, he's writing a book called Print Is Dead." The tone of his voice was that I'd betrayed them by writing a book that went against everything they stood for (or, at the very least, called them obsolete and put into motion an idea that would cost them their jobs). A second later, of course, he started to laugh, adding, "Just kidding." But his initial comment was telling. This was six months ago, before anyone had seen a galley of what I was writing. He was reacting purely to the title, to the idea."

Gomez is senior director of online consumer sales and marketing at Penguin Group U.S.A. so he is daily involved in working for a major book publisher. His book title is stirring discussion--which for any book author is a good thing. With a tiny bit of online research, I dug a bit deeper into Gomez and his efforts. I located his PrintIsDeadBlog. Also I was intrigued to see that he is podcasting some of the content of his forthcoming book (about a third of it according to Gomez). Here's the first of three excerpts. The technique reminds me of another wise book marketer Greg Stielstra and his PyroMarketing audio.

It's critical for writers to put energy into getting the right title for their book. As the author, it begins in your hands.

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Saturday, November 03, 2007

Find Your Own Way

For many years I've been listening to writers as they pitch their ideas and manuscripts. As I've written about in these entries in the past, each one believes they have hit on a "hole" in the marketplace with their idea and it's bound for the bestseller list. I admire their enthusiasm then often I look at bit closer at what they are actually doing to make that idea a bestseller. It's one of the places that the process has broken down for them. They have created something--a manuscript, a book proposal, a novel. In the next breath they tell me they have no visibility in the marketplace. It's normally where the conversation breaks down in my view because the writer begins to tell me they have no interest in marketing or they have no money or they have been focused on writing their book or _________ (you fill in the blank).

If there was a one, two, three point formula, then the publishers would have figured it out a long time ago since they have to create a financially viable business to keep their doors open. It is not an exact science and each person has to find their own way toward success (however they define success).

Some writers are stuck in research mode. You know if you are one of these folks. You've read every book, purchased almost every product and attended almost every writers conference. Your commitment to learning and acquiring information is admirable and applauded but you have not put your shoulder to the wheel and written or submitted your work or marketed your work. These writers plan on launching a website but have only gotten as far as purchasing the domain. These writers are thinking about a newsletter but haven't launched one. The key is to get moving into the marketplace and find your own way.

In the last few days, I completed reading Stephanie Chandler's excellent book, From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur, Make Money with Books, eBooks, and Information Products. She points to some different resources than I've used in the past and has solid information. I liked her focus as she says in the preface, "My goal is always to exceed my customer expectations and this strategy has served me well in every business endeavor." I identified with this goal because it's also been my intention as I've created products or magazine articles or my teaching at writers' conferences (like this coming week at the Florida Writers Association). It was good to read Chandler's line, "There is an eager market of buyers out there. My goal is to show you how to develop and market your own products. One of the greatest advantages of selling information products is that they can essentially become passive income--money you make while you sleep. Once the work is done and you’ve created a high-quality product, and you’ve automated the product sales and delivery process, your primary role will be to continue marketing your products. That's where the real fun begins."

Here's several basics that Chandler highlights for the reader saying, "There is no single secret to success, though there are many tips to help you along the way…

Everyone is an expert at something: Whatever your expertise, whether it's fly fishing, yoga, parenting, knitting, sales or customer service, you have something to teach others who know less than you do.

The Internet is a powerful venue for reaching customers: Learn to maximize your reach in order to run an efficient and profitable business.

Marketing is an investment in your business: Rare is the business that succeeds without marketing. Try a variety of strategies and repeat the ones that work best.

Don't be afraid to ask questions: Nobody has all the answers and most people are willing to help. Just ask!

Invest in other people’s information products: Not only will you have the chance to learn something new, but you can evaluate the content and begin to understand the formula for success. It's also good karma to support people whose work you admire.

Persevere: My favorite word in the English language. There will be days when you feel as if you are spinning your wheels for nothing. But eventually, with enough effort, something magical happens. It all starts to come together.

Never stop learning: I don't care what industry you are in. Things change. Rules change. People change. Stay on top of your area of expertise. Learn about new technology. Remember how much fun it can be to learn something new and how rewarding it is to succeed." (page xi to xii) I recommend From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur. Read it and you will be sure to learn something.

I love what Armand Morin says repeatedly about success: "Success leaves traces." If you want to succeed in publishing, then you need to continually work at finding your own way.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007

Keep Those Edits Behind The Curtain

In the last few days, someone asked me how I handled the editing process. The question was searching for a particular response--and I didn't give it. They wondered if I was one of those writers who fight over every phrase and sentence when someone changes it during the editorial process. You know the folks (or maybe you are one of them). These writers are overly focused on the details. Instead I look at the edits and see if they further the larger goals of producing excellence. Also I consider the experience of the person who is editing and my relationship with them. In 99.9% of the cases, the edits are improvements to my writing and I incorporate these changes into my finished work.

Whether you have been much published or never been published, you want to think about--and position yourself as someone who works cooperatively throughout the publishing process. Yes there are prima donnas in this business who balk at almost every word change but in the long-run, publishers and editors will not want to work with these people. I can think of a fiction author where I loved their initial work. This author has changed publishing houses and literary agents multiple times in recent years. And from my perspective their work has suffered for these changes. They are no longer dominating the bestseller list. Behind the scenes I wonder how much editorial polish was poured on those early novels which I loved--and those novels kept me reading until the early morning hours to complete them.

Every now and then there is a proper time to push back on the editing process. For example, several years ago I submitted a requested article to an Internet E-zine editor. When I saw the edited document, it had kernels of my writing but overall the tone of the entire article had been changed to match the editor--and not my voice. I balked, pulled the article and silently promised never to work with this editor again. In some circles, she has a voice and prominence--and while she may have written a series of ebooks, I've never seen a printed book from a traditional publisher which this editor has written. Nor has she published in print magazines and her work only appears online. From our exchanges, she understood how she over stepped her role as an editor. It's one of the few times I balked at the editorial process in my years of publishing in many different mediums.

I would encourage you to read Sara Nelson's Editorial, Stet the Edit in the October 22nd, Publishers Weekly. (If you don't know Stet means "leave it as it is.") I would not be interested in seeing any of my material re-released pre-edited. I'm not in favor of it happening with some of these literary classics. To teach writers, there is merit at times to showing the edits. James Michener before his death published James A. Michener's Writer's Handbook and shows in detail the editorial process on his manuscripts. It's a fascinating lesson for writers.

For my view, I'd just as soon keep those edits behind the curtain where no one sees them.

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