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Dreams, Books, E-Books, Writing and Other Random Thoughts From My Publisher’s Life

The start of random thoughts: I recently spent three days as a faculty member at the Midwest Writing Center in the Quad Cities and lots and lots of ideas floated through my mouth for both wanna be writers and established authors. The field of being a writer is truly vast and inspirational. Someone could be out of work and yet, the thrill of writing, of sharing their story causes their face to light up. Someone could be overburdened with rejection slips from submitting their writing to publishers, yet, what do I say to them, “Be glad you got the rejection letter, truly, speed ahead, look for the letter that says ‘yes.'” Much as reading a tarot card deck, each symbol is at once positive and negative. As is the quest to be a published author.

More random still: Most everyone I meet, most everyone I have not met wants to write a book. A retired financial executive wants to write their life story. A medical doctor wants to write a novel and on and on. When E-book publishers talk about something other than an E-book they refer to these other things as “real” books. When a paperback is opened it’s easy to read, it’s portable and it always turns on. When a book has been treated with respect it has a lower outside margin fit for the fingers to hold the page. When an A and a T are joined together with a ligature, this is tradition steeped in practicality not a mark meant to rub off the page. When a natural, sixty pound paper is read off of the eyes want to say thank you.

Randomness gone random: A new author wants to know the average book contract terms. I want to say, write your book first. A beginning author asks who will edit my work? Will they alter what I have to say? I want to plead, “I insist that you coax the most imagination out of yourself as you can. Be a writer, enjoy the process.” A struggling author asks if maybe they shouldn’t switch genres entirely, I want to beseech them to find the “flow” of creativity. To turn your fiction into 51 percent fiction and 49 percent nonfiction. And vice versa. I want to say, come to a spot in your story and then pause, consider and think through all the options, SURPRISE yourself and your reader.

Ask me my final advice and I’ll say, enjoy the process of the writing first and foremost. Then enjoy the editing process. Then enjoy the marketing process. But first, enjoy the writing or nothing else will matter.