The other day, I heard a story about an author who had taken 35 years to publish her first book. However, that book has since been an overwhelming success, published in dozens of countries, and it recently secured a film deal.
What an inspirational story, I thought. This poor woman, plugging away for years upon years, never gave up, and was finally appreciated by the market. However, a friend of mine had the opposite reaction. He found this "success story" horribly depressing, and said had he known when he first started writing that the publishing industry was like that, he would've never gotten involved.
I've been thinking about inspiration and the publishing industry recently, as this past Saturday I co-taught a course on writing for children at Bristol's Folk House. Rachel Carter (whose book is coming out from Scholastic in 2013!) and I covered character, setting, voice, tense, plot, all the biggies, but we also spent a bit of time on the market, and how to submit work to agents and publishers (Rachel will be offering the course again--minus me--this autumn if any local people are interested!).
The course was a great success (if I do say so myself!), though I was amused that when it came to talking about the publishing industry, we found ourselves playing good cop, bad cop. Rachel would point out how competitive the market was, and I would chip in and say there's always a place for awesome stories. Rachel would say she recommends agents, and I would add that some publishers accept material directly.
In truth, we didn't know what our class wanted to hear. Different people are inspired by different things. Some people want to know exactly what they're getting into, while others need to hold onto hope and dreams.
What do you wish you knew when you started writing?
In other news, why yes, I am moving across the ocean exactly a week from today! So there definitely won't be a blog post next week, probably not for a few weeks, as I get my bearings in Massachusetts. In the meantime, be good, take care of yourselves, and please send positive moving thoughts my way!