Wednesday, January 09, 2008


As the new year came and left I found myself counting my publishing years; and to my horror I realized that I have been in this industry for now over 10 years--I signed my first picture book contract in 1997. So the time of me being a fresh face or a promising new talent is over.

But I'm not old pro, a master guru with pearls of wisdom either. In fact, many a times, even after ten years, I feel pretty much the same as I did when I began-- I think that of feeling floating aimlessly, hoping that there is a buoy somewhere never really leaves. But I've gotten a lot better at pretending to swim. So this is what I think I have garnered in my 10 years:

1. Creating a book is personal, publishing it is not.
2. Talent is nothing if passion, perseverance and discipline does not accompany it.
3. Making books makes you gain weight. It's all that sitting.
4. You know you have to make changes in your career when you realize you are talking more about making books (ie school visit, promotion) than you are actually making books.
5. The allure of a large advance is intoxicating, but like getting drunk, perhaps not good for your career's overall health. Especially on the first date.
6. No one understands that when you are staring into outer space, you are working.
7. Getting caught up in "making it" is perhaps the stupidest thing in the world. There will always be someone more talented, who makes more money and gets more publicity. Jealousy is poison. Cut it out as much as possible, tourniquet if necessary.
8. Sometimes good is enough. Great is better, but not even Barry Bonds hits a homerun every time. And he had steroids to help him.
9. Agents are good, but before you let someone else clean your house you should know what is in it.
10. Books only have value when they are read.

Here's to hoping I have another ten years!


Anonymous said...

Happy 10 years! Brilliant post. I need to post your "10" onto my wall. Thank you!

Meghan McCarthy said...

Great list, Grace!

Anna Alter said...

You are so wise. I especially like the last one.

laurasalas said...

Congratulations, Grace. Thanks for sharing in a funny and honest way!

Laura said...

Congratulations Grace! Great lessons learned.


Anonymous said...


An excellent list. Going to post it on my wall.


alvinaling said...

Happy Anniversary! And yes, I love your list.

Hmm, I guess I must be celebrating 10 years from when I first actively decided I wanted to work in publishing...I started working at B&N in February of 1997, I think! Time flies.

NanC said...

Grace, I've also celebrated my tenth year and you've nailed it! Great list!

MotherReader said...

That was wonderful. I'm going to print it for my wall too - even though I'm not even on my first year yet. My favorite is #8, which applies to blog posting as well. And, frankly, if you think about it, to almost everything.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Grace!

All 10 ring true, but my favorite is #6. :)

Jennifer Thermes said...

Congratulations to you! This is a list worth keeping.

(And oh-- #3, the gaining weight... so sad! So true!)

gail said...

Great list! And I was blaming #3 on getting old, now I now the truth. Love #10, but #8 has a lot of weight.

Here's to the next ten!


Anonymous said...

Love this!