Wednesday, May 04, 2011

We've Come a Long Way, Baby

I met with a friend of a friend yesterday who's written a novel and wanted to talk to me about how to get published. I was super happy to do this and honestly just hoped I wouldn't sound too jaded or too negative. (And to be 100% honest, I didn't want to tell her how hard it is, and then feel like an idiot when she sells her first book for a million dollars next week. Because that does happen. Sometimes. Just not to me.)

But in the end, the conversation went much differently than I'd been expecting, and it struck me how much I've learned over the past (um) nearly nine years since I started to learn about writing and publishing. Molly and I did a workshop called Romance 101 in January and I was worried that some of the material we covered was too basic and boring some of the participants, but based on the questions that came up after, we might have made the opposite mistake.

And the same thing happened when I met with this woman. We didn't even touch on the craft side of things (where I know I've done the majority of my learning) and talking with her I remembered that I honestly had no idea about the basics of the business of publishing when I first started. Terms like agents and queries and editors and royalties and how they all work, all seem so common knowledge to me now, but talking to a newbie I realized just how far I've come, how much I've learned.

And because it's my birthday, I'm posting a photo of me at about 13. No, I'm not going to tell you how many years ago that was, but the octagon wire-framed glasses might be a clue. Thanks to Barrie Summy for encouraging me to dig out a photo for her blog. She wanted a snap of me when I was the age that my readers are now.

Talking to this new writer last night also reminded me that we used to talk about more craft and publishing business topics on this blog... I wonder if any of readers miss that or would like more "content" on occasion.

Thoughts anyone? Anything you'd like us to talk about? I'm an open book. (No pun intended.)


Eileen said...

You are so adorable! Then and now! Many many happy returns of the day!

It is tricky to know what to tell people about how to get published. I remember one friend of a friend who contacted me who thought getting an agent was like getting a real estate agent. He didn't realize he'd be essentially auditioning for them rather than the other way around. It was apparently a big bubble burst and I felt bad about it.

Stephanie Doyle said...

Happy Birthday Maureen! Party like a rock star!

I always go straight to the business side when talking about writing. Never craft -because I think that's where things get dicey.

If Stephanie Myers had asked me to read her first book ... I would have told her that it was a good start for a writer, it had certain elements, but overall was nothing more than a first effort and fairly amatuerish.

Then I would have explained what a Mary Sue was and told her to go back to the drawing board and develop her heroine into a true character.

She's probably really glad she never met me.

Eileen said...

And you would have been right. Except for the vagaries of the marketplace. :-)

Brenda said...

Happy Birthday, Maureen. Love that pic!

When I started writing, I soon realized I knew nothing about the publishing business. What I didn't realize was how very, very much there was to learn. Probably just as well!

Sinead M said...

That picture is so cute. I love the glasses.

And Happy Birthday.... hope it is amazing.

Molly O'Keefe said...

OMG look at you!!! I feel like thirteen doesn't look like that anymore - does it? you're not even wearing make up - or a lady gaga tee shirt.

Maureen McGowan said...

My Lady Gaga t-shirt was in the wash. ;)

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