Writing is a business....
It’s amazing how many people don’t know that.
Lately I have heard...
‘but writing is your passion’(tone meaning... it’s not proper work.)
‘Are you rich yet? You were on the best seller list!’
So you explain how the industry works...writers get 10% of the RRP and children’s writers get less than that... and you watch their faces fall and their look of disbelief.
‘So why do you do it? ‘
I have been asked so often I now have figured out a stock answer.
I do it because I love to tell stories. With teaching you have a captive audience. They have to listen to the stories you weave around your maths problems...having a book published and in shops means you are legit! I have always said that being a writer is the best job I know because you can ask anybody anything and say it’s for research!
Unfortunately the money is laughable.
In the weekend the New Zealand Society of Authors organised a lunch speaker in conjunction with New Zealand Book Month. The speaker was an Australian agent. New Zealand doesn’t have many agents... but they are standard on other parts of the world. In the UK and the US publishers only deal with agents...(that’s why the pitch slam was so amazing...a chance to pitch directly to an editor.)
The agent, Sophie, looked like she was on a steep learning curve.... In the room only two writers had agents and they were children’s writers. As Don Long (Chair Wellington NZSA) pointed out to her that 48% of the writers here in NZ were Children’s Writers.
Writers must have a web presence!(just like a business...)Also they are increasingly having to Brand themselves.(just like a business...marketing... promo etc)
Sophie did comment that children’s publishing was a whole different ball game. Children’s writers now were being asked to provide additional content to support websites and ongoing character blog sites.... It’s a brave new world out there and the grown up writers had better watch out....
Sophie also commented that writers have to do their own publicity....I have been hearing this so often...and I believe it now. I wish I had a box of my books... I could hawk them myself....as it is I refer to the children’s book shops.... If you look at some of the children author blogs, you will see giveaways...competitions... guest interviews...(when do they find time to write again?)
Fifi and I were nodding to each other, we understood to the fullest extent what Sophie was talking about.
So thanks Fi for propelling me into the brave new world!(i'm not sure if i was ready but too late now...)
Added content on the Bones blog.
Contact me if you want to buy a book! (or check out your local children’s bookshop.)
Come up with a nice short pithy slogan for the National Conference of Children's Writers and Illustrators.