Monthly Archives: March 2013

Publishing, the Great and Powerful

Throughout my near four years at Ball State University, I have always heard my professors telling us stories about the publishing world, but I guess I never really listened until this semester.


1. Author Platforms – they are extremely important, even more so today with all the social media outlets. Author platforms are basically an author’s following. It’s important for an author to have a platform when publishing a book, otherwise who else would read the book if not the fans?

2. Editors – they don’t really know what they want, that is literary editors. Some are genre specific, plot specific, etc, and don’t really ever seem quite happy with what they have, always wanting to change it, transform it into something different. Sometimes this is a good thing, though.

3. The Process – it really is a lot more complicated than it seems. With all of the different, less than noteworthy book that have been released recently, it may appear that the publishing process it quite easy. And books like Twilight and the 50 Shades trilogy aren’t helping very much. Personally, I keep thinking that if books like these are being published, how hard can it really be??? Right??? Not quite…there’s a lot more to it than one might think, and a lot more people involved in the process. Which leads me to…

4. The People – there’s more than you think, working like little bees in a hive to produce one thing. It’s not just you, your agent, and your editor. It’s so much more than all of that. Besides those three, there are marketers, all the publishers involved in your project at the publishing house, the bookstores, the manufacturers, the buyers, etc. It’s a whole spiderweb effect with you and your project at the center.

5. $$$ – the money. Will it cascade from the sky in beautiful green fountains? Probably not. Guaranteed. Unless you somehow swap minds/talent with Stephen King, Kathy Reichs, JK Rowling, or someone else with just as much talent, you won’t make oodles and oodles of cash. I know, harsh reality. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that, because we see all the books and authors pulling in so many sales, and think that that could be us one day. However, one thing you might not think about is: how many books lost out in that competition in comparison? Probably a lot more than anyone could really know.

6. Publishing – the process is harder than you think…and longer too! Over the years, as social media and independent presses have grown in number, getting your book published has become harder. Or at the very least, getting your book recognized has become much, much harder in recent years, because there are many, many more books to compete against. (Check out this organization that promotes independent presses and books)

7. Time – publishing takes longer than you really think. It’s not a simple, cut and dry process. You hand out a finished manuscript, the publishers print it up and get it out on the shelves asap. NOT! A lot more time and effort goes into publishing than that. A LOT more time than that, and like I said before, there’s so much more that goes into the publishing process. Editing, re-editing, re-editing what you’ve already re-edited, marketing, blurbs, reviews, so on and so forth until it’s finally finished and they pick a season to release the book. Fall = the best. Winter = supposedly no one buys books after Christmas… But serious reviews are more likely. Good luck. Spring = is okay, but not as good as Fall. If you can’t have your book released in the fall because stores are too busy with the latest Stephen King or JK Rowling novel, spring is a decent second. Summer = amusing beach reads are popular.

All in all, there’s a lot about the publishing world that I didn’t know, and a lot more that I still don’t know. Some of it takes experience, and some of it will just take time. One thing that I need to remember though is that it’s not as easy as it looks, and I can’t be blinded by all the success stories.

And just one last little things to look at/think about… Truth be told, I just found it online.



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10 Things…

…I Hate About You. Just kidding!. Love the movie though. No, but really: 10 Things I Learned About Being a Writer… This week.


This week my university hosted quite a few literary events. 1) the Grad panel about MFA programs for creative writers. 2) In-Print Festival Round 1: Readings. 3) In-Print Festival Round 2: Q&A Panel. Not to mention various classroom visits by all four of the talented In-Print authors – Marcus Wicker, Eugene Cross, Elena Pasarello, and Sarah Wells. But anyway…

What have I learned?

1) Build a writing community OUTSIDE of school. Writing is a very solitary activity, and once you’re out of school, you don’t really have that community anymore.

2) Give your manuscript draft to people you trust. While you’re still in the editing process, ask someone you trust to take a red pen to it. It makes the process a little less daunting when you know that person won’t take your work for granted.

3) You can’t call yourself a writer if you don’t write. Enough said. – Marcus Wicker

4) Don’t be afraid of rejection. I know, easier said than done. Trust me, I know. I cringe away at the thought of possible rejection, but without rejection there can be no progress. And if that one publishing company or literary magazine rejects you, they’re probably not right for you. Go back, edit, revise, reread, resubmit.

5) Don’t let life get in the way of writing. It’s all too easy to let everyday things like bills, work, family, and everyday stress get in the way of your writing. Set time aside each day or week to just sit down and write. Find yourself stuck – read, and read a lot, until something jostles lose in your brain and then return to that blank page.

6) Don’t be afraid of the blank page. Write. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time around. It doesn’t even have to be good, it just has to be written. So write!

7) Don’t be afraid of “The Abyss.” That long dark emptiness between projects. Every author faces it. Just push through it, even when it seems difficult or impossible. -Cathy Day

8) Be open to the idea of change. During editing, always be open to the idea of change, maybe there’s an idea you never considered. In the end, it’s usually up to you, but at least hear others out.

9) Grad School, it’s not for everybody. If you decide you want to go, you don’t have to become a professor when you’re finished either.

10) Write. Write. Write. Write. Write. It’s the only way you’ll get things done. But don’t try to set impossible deadlines, like completing a book by the end of the year. Because you will get discouraged and not want to return to the project all that soon.

I wish that flowed as smoothly as Kat’s “10 Things” poem in the movie “10 Thing I Hate About You,” but alas. I do not write poetry, couldn’t if I tried. It will always allude me – the 11th thing I learned this week.

El fin.


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Censorship! Censorship! Read all about it!

So… this week, the topic of censorship keeps popping up as a topic of conversation in and out of classes.


What do I mean when I say “censorship“? Well, this time, it’s in reference to books. Why some people think they are more fit to determine what is “right” and “wrong” for the whole of society is beyond me. Many people probably still remember the whole “Harry Potter” controversy that ruled the world more than a decade ago (when the books first came out and started gaining popularity, especially in the US). I had the extreme honor of witnessing it first hand (being in Catholic school K-12, in a town run by Polish-Catholics), and even though I was ten, I still remember it vividly.


It was banned from the schools, the libraries, the bookstores, pretty much the whole town. We weren’t allowed to have it in school, even if it was our own copy, because it was all about magic and witchcraft and was “the devil’s handbook,” or some nonsense like that. My mom read the first book before me, then handed it over and said: “There’s no harm in you reading this.”


Since then, this series has become some of my all-time favorite books and sometimes I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that it was “taboo” when I first started reading it, not to mention it’s awesome plots and characters.


I know I’m not the only one to have experiences with books being censored, but I wonder how many other people had reactions similar to mine when it comes to “tabooed” books.


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