Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Reflections on Clueless Notions

I’m still clueless about many things. But I’ve learned a few things about the world of publishing, and specifically-- kidlit publishing.
Cleaning and clearing some old Emails from way back in ancient times of ten years ago, I found some amusing testaments to clueless thinking.


Clueless evidence #1: my first beta reader asks why proofreading is necessary as, surely, editors at publishing houses do that after a book is acquired. He’s seen it in many movies. (By then I knew a manuscript needs to be pretty much typo-free, and my response was educational.)
Clueless evidence #2: same beta, bless him for he was fantastic with spot-on feedback, congratulating me on my first acceptance and advising I copyright all the characters as they can become major commodities. (He’s seen that in movies, also.)
Clueless evidence #3: my response to another beta who suggested some how-to books, was to say I didn’t want to read anything that would make my writing formulaic. Of course, not long after, I did read a few of the suggested books and more. Re-inventing the wheel is for geniuses, and I’m not one.
Clueless evidence #4: writing friends who suggested we writers wait too long for cursory responses, no responses, and otherwise unacceptable behavior from business professionals. We don’t put up with such in the rest of our lives, do we? I already understood this is apples and lemons. There are more of us knocking on doors and fewer of them to answer the doors. It’s called reality, and yes, we do put up with it.
There's so much more, but you get the point. There are a lot of misconceptions, and the school of hard knocks hammers us into shapes that fit the indentations.

But here’s the kicker: it hurts sometimes, but we don’t have to do it alone. These old Emails are the evidence I had beautiful walking partners, and occasionally even been one.



I’m still clueless about so many things I glibly talk about. What do I confidently really know about global warming? Preventing lung cancer? Personality disorders? It if am honest, I would have to say that I know close to nothing, and mostly echo what I’ve heard, or think I may have heard, or maybe I, too, saw it in a movie. But I still jabber about it.



Occasionally I get a peek into my cluelessness. Even more mercifully, I am not alone. Everyone of you who’s reading this is walking along, and I hope you can hear my footsteps as I’m trying to catch up with you.



11 comments:

  1. It's funny, but I swear the more I learn about this industry, the more clueless I feel. I've met publishers who don't honor contracts, despite them being legal documents. What's the point of negotiating a deal if the document doesn't hold up? I still haven't figured this one out.

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    1. Is that where the expression "not worth the paper it was written on" comes from? And now that it isn't even on *paper,* we need another expression. Preferably one not in the passive voice... ;)

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  2. In my family, I'm famous for only half-knowing just about everything. I'll hear something fascinating on the radio while in the car, but it all crumbles when I try to relate it to somebody else. Not just a factor of aging - I've always done this - too much going on in my brain, I suppose...

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    1. Nothing wrong with your mind, Jan. You know you don't know, so you're all right.

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  3. Maybe it's my imagination, but it seems to me that a lot of movies have characters who are writers, whether they work for magazines or newspapers. I suppose writers like writing about writers, but the view they give of the publishing industry is skewed.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. "...the view they give of the publishing industry is skewed."
      This^.
      It might give us pause about the movies' depiction of many things, not only that of which we know a little something.

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  4. There are so many things the non-writer people in my life are blissfully clueless about when it comes to publishing...bless their hearts!

    Knowing what we don't know is a kind of knowing.

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    1. I recall a writer on the BB (chat board for kid-lit) whose husband suggested she storm an acquisitions meeting at a large publisher and make a case for her her book.:P I've been wondering ever since if such ever worked in ANY business, or if it's another one of those things gleamed from movies...

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  5. My mom used to quote this proverb--

    He who knows not, and knows not that he knows not, is a fool. Shun him.

    He who knows not, and knows that he knows not, is a child. Teach him.

    He who knows, and knows not that he knows, is asleep. Wake him.

    He who knows, and knows that he knows, is wise. Learn from him.

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    1. Your mother was wise. I think this puts me in the wake-and-then-teach-'em groups...

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  6. Can't say I know much about the publishing industry, really. I do know what I like and don't like in my writing, illustrating, and self-publishing industry though. And that's good enough for me.

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