Thursday, September 11, 2008

what to write...

It’s Thursday, Blog day...
Toss the baby into bed after an exhausting time being social at playgroup (which is on at her usual sleep time.) Mum potters around tidying breakfast dishes still on the table, folding laundry and thinking...Eeek Blog...what to write... what to write...
Should I write about Lloyd’s comment when accepting very generous PMs shouldn’t give beginning writers any money- they have to find their own time to write, if they want to write...
(huh! finding time... to be that lucky...)
Behind every successful male writer there is either a bloody amazing woman or
NO ONE....Who could stand the slog deep into the night...juggling work and family. The anti-socialness of the committed writer to their craft...(or just needs committing...)
I Liked Elizabeth’s comment much better... Writers are grateful for any money at any stage of their career.
Yup! The advance I got for Bones (small that it was) paid for two terms gym, one terms Irish dancing, the book launch and $100 went to three nights away so I could write my Mars story-oh and there was tax. So let’s see children... promotion... tax and a little writing time for me...Is that ok Lloyd? Of course I can see that you would use the $60,000 so much better than I.

I could write about meeting the editor of the Horn Book Guide who was here in NZ on vacation, at an exclusive (sorry librarians) pot luck dinner. Those gathered enjoyed the evening and she recorded it for a podcast on their website. That was interesting. What she wanted to say and what she did say depended on whether the recorder was switched on or not. Her big question of the night “Why don’t we (America) know more New Zealand children’s writer’s?
Sadly we had to tell her that the publishers don’t think NZ stories will travel overseas...We are often more vigorous in our writing and it gets translated into American and the guts ripped out of it...(was one famous NZ writer’s comment.)

I could write that I got to Mars twice this week and did some research on radiation. I feel good about my writing week if I get to Mars. Of course my usual writing week consists of lots of emails trying to tee up a conference group meeting time...and other must reply to get to Mars is a bonus. (funny I am trying to get this writing career off the emails count Lloyd?)

I could write about finding out that my mother in law was too sick overseas to get the market book I I had to order it myself... which was really bad because then I saw lots of other books that might be useful (but I restrained myself... sort of) racking up nearly $90 on the credit card.
Sorry Honey!
For the writers out there who may read this...
What is the one indispensible craft book on your bookshelf?
Let’s start a list....

In the meantime I'll figure out what to write on the blog...

Postcard 5. Up from the ashes and into the dust.
Soil samples from Martian Arctic.
Another cool image from Jacob Egan.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

writing is a business...

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 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 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.)

Competition ongoing....

Come up with a nice short pithy slogan for the National Conference of Children's Writers and Illustrators.

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