Thursday, October 15, 2009

Celebrate The Brilliance, people...

So It’s New Zealand Book Month....the poor cousin to New Zealand Music Month....

Michele Powles, the unsung heroine Director of New Zealand Book Month (her budget barely covers her salary and she has to fundraise to get paid at all) together with a small but committed team have put together a series of cool events to get behind. You can contribute to an ongoing judge the Sunday Star times short story competition...attend free workshops...enter competitions etc etc. There is lots happening on their website...

ASB Bank have come to the New Zealand Book Month party with a cool competition for kids,

Read a Kiwi book, write a letter about it, deposit your letter in an ASB Wordbank and be in to WIN!

The competition opens in October so you can start getting ready by reading New Zealand books!
NZ Book Month
next - choose a favourite book by a Kiwi author

then - write a letter to the Kiwi author of your favourite NZ book. We want to hear what was so great about that book

And in October - get that letter to us between 1-30 October and you could win BIG!

Encourage any kids you know to Jump on the ASB website and download an entry form

(thanks ASB)

I was disappointed that my local Library had not done any displays about NZ Book Month...but they have beautifully printed flyers asking their patrons to tell them how they can I did just that by telling them to lift their game in New Zealand Book Month....and gave them lots of suggestions...including ‘and you could put my book on the shelf’...

It is embarrassing when local kids come up to me and tell me they can’t find it in their library.

I have been having a discussion today with various people about what writers are worth... Gavin Bishop at Spinning Gold made a comment directed at the Illustrators but it applies to the writers too...we spent years trying to get recognition and a decent fee paid to us for talks and workshops...don’t do things for free....

And he does have a point...but how do you go about asking for money?

On the other hand does your plumber work for free?

I am struggling with very negative feeling towards my child’s school who booked me to do eight workshops over two days after Spinning Gold...I presented to half the school and got paid...a small bunch of flowers.

So New Zealand Book Month....Get out there and support New Zealand writers...(and pay them...)


PS Here’s some maths for you...average print run in NZ. 3000...Writer gets between 3% and 10% of RRP....Most print runs barely sell out.....of course we are rich....not.


Tania Roxborogh said...

Maureen, many newbie writers innocently and willingly 'give up' their time for free to visit schools and libraries in the hope that it will generate interest in their writing.

We must strenously discourage such practice as it devalues the work of the collective. I have written a number of times in The English Teachers quarterly journal and on the lit serve saying that schools need to be prepared to pay and thank visiting authors and illustrators.

A few years ago, while I was the Dunedin College of Education children's writer in residence (2006) a local high school invited me to do a seminar with their gifted and talented students. I thanked them for the invitation and then sent them what my fee was. The wrong was appalling. The women said that schools are poor and cannot afford to pay for visitors and that ALL OTHER speakers over the years were happy to recieve a box of chocolate.

I responded that my time was precious and I was worth a hellova lot more than a box of chocolates. I too, used the plumber analogy. Time away from writing costs me. And, I'm worth it as are you and all our collegues.

When I have a visit that I feel is less than appreciated, I will let the school know. I suppose, as a teacher, I had quite a lot of confidence in dealing with schools.

I once was invited to speak at a Christian Writers' Guild in Auckland and spent most of the time defending myself - that I, as a Christian, included swearing and un-christlike themes in my books.

I was so angry. They did pay me but it left a very bitter taste in my mouth. Go the elderly gentleman, however, who stood up for me and reminded the audience about the changing nature of language.

Anyway, sorry about the rant. It's an area I feel really, really strongly about. When I host writers, I ensure that their transport, accomodation, food is paid for AS WELL as a fee. Ask Fleur, Bill Taylor, David Hill, Brigid Lowry, G Bassie and Jeannie Mclean how they were treated when I hosted them for our book week in 2005 - though they worked really really hard, and were exhausted afterwards, I think they appreciated they manner in which they were treated: like royalty

Maureen said...

Hi Tania,
Thanks for the rant...As a teacher myself I was annoyed by my treatment as well...I think that is the bit that hurts...My own profession letting the side down...There were two other writers presenting, one was paid her fee and the other works in the school...and was probably paid her salary... They could have swung a payment through the relieving budget as I'm still registered...which they know...Oh well I've learned...

As I was trawling the NZ Book Month Website I saw that the blogger has focussed on Banquos Son..and your rise to fame and fortune...(...yeah right...paying the bills what every writer hopes to do...)

yours in solidarity...

Fifi Colston said...

I decided that charging properly was what I should do when I found out what reliever teachers get paid...

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