Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Today I'm off to the Huntsville Public Library to teach a workshop to aspiring authors.

I call it "Publishing 101: The Least You Need To Know." I know that sounds rather weird, but I only have an hour.

I joined RWA in 2003. I finished my first book and started submitting it in 2005. So, for the better part of the last decade, I've been submerged in the  wild and wacky world of publishing. And I'm still learning.

So trying to tell people all they need to know about publishing in an hour is simply impossible.  The only thing I can hope to accomplish in an hour is some groundwork.  Something for folks to stand on as they start looking for that clue.  The attendees might be a little disappointed, because there's no magic spell, no secret handshake, no easy way. The only thing I can really hope to accomplish is to give them a place to start their research.

Publishing is a strange business. Every person's experience is going to be unique. No two people will have the same career path. You have no idea how much money you'll make. The only thing you can do is educate yourself as much as you can so that you can at least make good decisions.

I'm indebted to all the wonderful folks at RWA and Heart of Dixie who have taught me over the years.  Some of it has been very straightforward teaching -- like how to write a pitch or how to read a royalty statement. Some of it was just picked up randomly -- you can't put authors in a room and expect them not to talk about writing. Most of it, though, has been taught by example. Authors I respect and admire living their life and career and letting me watch. It let me see the kind of author I wanted to be and the kind of businessperson I wanted to be. Authors like Linda Howard and Linda Winstead Jones may not have realized they were being mentors just by being themselves and letting me watch.

I know I would not be where I am today without the authors who were willing to give their time and lead by example.

So workshops like today's are a one way I try to give back.  Or to Pay It Forward. I don't really see myself as the mentor type:  I've always been more the horrible warning than the good example. But it's the very least I can do, considering all that's been done for me.

So if you're in the Huntsville area, you can catch my workshop today at noon at the downtown library on the second floor.  It's free, and you can bring a brown bag lunch.


Playground Monitor said...

I love the whole "Pay It Forward" concept. Bravo to you for doing this program.

I love HOD too, and all the great examples of not only how to be a good writer, but how to use my two ears and one mouth in exactly that proportion.

LA said...

I think it's great that you're giving your time to, if nothing else, answer questions from folks who are trying to enter the world of publishing. I would imagine that it can be very confusing to someone just starting out!

Angel said...

I hope the program went well! They couldn't learn about publishing from a better source. :)