Monday, February 25, 2008

Kindling Words Blogroll and Question

I'm a bit bleary-eyed after a fun and satisfying Blue Rose Girls weekend in Mystic, complete with rollerskating! Awesome. Pictures and videos to come. And then, of course, there was the Oscars. I think Jon Stewart did a great job, and I especially loved that the actress from Once was able to come back and give her speech after being "musicked" off the stage.

Anyway, another short post today before I go to work. I think most of you know that I generally attend the wonderful retreat Kindling Words (although I missed this year for the first time in four or five years due to the China trip). Well, author Amy Timberlake has just compiled the blogs of Kindling Words attendees using Google Reader, and has shared the link here. Pretty cool. And yes, the Blue Rose Girls blog is on there--we've all attended KW at least once, with the exception of Meghan and Elaine.

And then I'd like to leave with a question to those of us who are in publishing, or published. If you could have done anything differently, what would it have been? One common example that I took from this weekend was that many of us wished they had known how important doing school visits are.

For me it's different, because as publishing is an apprenticeship, I learned most everything I needed to know on the job. However, sometimes I wish that I had been an English major or at least an English minor, because I think that would have prepared me more for the critical reading/editing aspects of the job (I was a mass communications major--but perhaps that made me more well-rounded).

If you could do it over, what would you do differently? What do you wish you knew then?


Amy Timberlake said...

Interesting question... I'm still pondering it.

I would have loved to have more preparation in handling my emotional/head stuff that came up in publishing my 2nd book. I am still working through how you maintain the quiet inner life (crucial to my writing) and be a professional writer. How do you keep your eyes away from the reviews, award lists, etc? How do you keep your writing life untouched by all that? That's been the hardest for me.

BUT that being said, I'd love to hear WHY you guys think school visits are so important. I probably have an inkling of some of it, but you guys have been out there a lot longer than I have -- so please tell!


Anonymous said...

I was wondering the same thing. I don't do school visits. My publishers have always said that's not a problem. But it would be interesting to hear your perspective on this.

Daniel Mahoney said...

I think school visits are very important on two fronts.
Firstly, they provide an excellent source of supplemental income if freelancing is your only other source of income.
Most importantly, it gives you a chance to meet the people who read and love your books. And it's also important to these young people to meet and talk with you. It's very rewarding for all involved, really.
I for one absolutely love doing school visits!!!

Anonymous said...

I wish that when I first started out, I knew how important and rewarding it was to network with other writers. I wasn't in a critique group. I didn't know any other writers. I didn't even know about the Blueboard or LJ or conferences or anything.

Anna Alter said...

As Daniel said, school visits are a great source of additional income. But more importantly you get to meet the kids reading your books AND you sell a ton of books. If the schools run a book sale they will sell 10 times what you might sell at a book store signing. Its a great way to get your books in kids hands.

I think if there was anything else I wish I knew starting out, its that publishing is first and foremost a business. I think I went in pretty naive about the bottom line.

Daniel Mahoney said...

I second that, Anna. When I was offered my first book contract I almost just signed on the dotted line with out even reading it! I was so elated that I was going to be published, I felt that if I questioned anything about the contract I would "rock the boat" and they wouldn't want to work with me. I learned that you must speak up if your not comfortable with something a publisher offers, and that they will respect you for doing so.