Tag Archives: publishing

The Strange Business of Writing Fiction…

Manuscript, inkwell and featherThe business of writing fiction for a living is altogether strange. The writer is not like the farmer with his seeds, the teacher with her curriculum, the pianist with her Steinway or the violinist with his Stradivarius. The writer has only what’s between the ears—and whatever can be coaxed to bubble up and be set down on the page. And even if the fiction writer strikes literary gold, there’s still the iffy, grubby business of getting it published.

Cue the violin…

There is one writer I know of who toiled for years over what he thought was his masterpiece, only to be metaphorically kicked in the teeth over and over again. He couldn’t even find a North American publisher at first, so in desperation he sent his manuscript to an agent in Britain, who managed to get his book published in a series of three volumes. Good stuff, you say? Um, no. Unfortunately, the publisher managed to somehow lose the ending of the book—the epilogue—which rather ruined the effect. Needless to say, the British critics panned the book. Even the Goodreads’ trolls can’t hold a candle to them.

The bad press was disastrous; the author was deeply in debt and praying that the book would earn enough money to placate the bill collectors. His prayers fell on deaf ears. But to be fair, the book he’d written was… strange. It dealt with, among many other themes, madness, murder and mass slaughter, of both men and animals. His main character was an animal—an albino, in fact, which thought and acted like a sadistic human stalker. And when the author found an American publisher willing to print a North American edition, the book ended up being a dud— mostly because of those critical British reviews.

Sadly, the author never really recovered from his failure and died an unhappy, debt-ridden failure. Hmm. It’s too bad he didn’t live a little longer. The author’s name was Herman Melville and his book, Moby Dick, is now considered a classic.

Strange business, writing fiction…

Sharon Ledwith HeadshotSharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, available through Musa Publishing, and is represented by Walden House (Books & Stuff) for her teen psychic series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, yoga, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her WEBSITE and BLOG. Look up her AMAZON AUTHOR page for a list of current books. Stay connected on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE+, TUMBLR, and GOODREADS. Check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.

What I learned picking berries

Berry5A few weeks back my family took a four-wheel ride on some mountain roads. Along the way, we noticed the trail was lined with green, leafy wild raspberry and thimbleberry bushes. The fruit growing on them was perfectly ripe and ready to eat.

All six of us hopped off our machines and began picking. My two youngest were the most energetic. Yes, there were a number of thorns, and yes, the berries were not as large as those we buy in the grocery store, but it felt so amazing to have found this wild fruit that otherwise might have dried on the vine.

As we continued on our way, my mind started making an analogy between indie publishing and wild berries. (Yes, I am slightly obsessed.)

berry 2Indie-published books are like wild berries growing without the help of commercial farms (the big six publishers) and fertilizers (marketing budgets). And while there are “thorns” in the indie publishing field of which readers must be wary (books published without any thought to professionalism), there are so many other ripe and delicious  books ready to be picked.

Many books that are independently published don’t fit into the major publishers’ “norm,” either in size, genre, or whatever. Without the possibility of indie publishing, many thriving, non-mainstream books might have dried up on someone’s hard drive, lost forever.

So what does this have to do with “tween” books? Depending on what is popular, certain genres don’t get as much interest from agents and publishers looking for “the next big thing.” Several years ago, it was very difficult to generate interest in a middle grade book. At least that was my experience and that of some of my associates. Everything being published was young adult. (According to an agent I know, tables have definitely turned but that is not the point of this blog.)

berry 1The point is that good books are so vital to the education of our youth. Reading both non-fiction and fiction at a young age develops the mind and prepares it for bigger and better things. With independent publishing alive and well, there will always be a plethora of books for our pre-teens and teens to choose from, regardless of what is the “hot” genre at the moment.

By having both successful traditional publishers and flourishing indie writers, it’s like having a system of checks and balances in the world of books. Some readers will go to the grocery store for their large, mass produced berries (which can be a very good thing.) Others will seek out their own patch of wild berries at indie bookstores and online retailers. And many will choose to gather from both sources—the best from both words.


What do you think about the vitality of both traditional and independently published books and what that means to the “tween” genre?