Monday, February 7, 2011

Everyone wants to write a book. No, really. Everyone.

I've heard it said that everyone has an idea for a book. I thought I understood this, I really truly did. It's difficult to comprehend just how many people want to write the next great American novel until you can see the reality for yourself.  A few weeks ago I attended an in-store event at Anderson's Bookshop where the authors of the following book, which is a worthwhile read, hosted an a forum that included a chance for random audience members to pitch their story ideas.

Now honestly, had I known the format of the event would entail listening to other people pitch story ideas for 2 hours, I might not have gone. However, the authors and the other "experts" on the panel (a literary agent, a couple publishers) gave excellent feedback and advice after each story pitch. Plus, it helped me work on defining my story as a pitch, which I never thought of before.

What was incredible to me is how stuffed this little bookshop was; people from their early 20s up to retirement age, with ideas varying from a family quilt cookbook to a space adventure to young adult historical fiction (which apparently does not sell right now, according to one of the publishers). In a way, it was inspiring to see how many people are trying to get their work published. On the other hand, it sheds light on just how competitive the market is.

It always kind of saddened me to go into Half Price Books; all those tables and shelves lined with bargain priced books that hardly anyone has heard of. If the goal is to just get published, it's probably easier now than ever to do that. I think for me, I want to take my time with this, and write because I enjoy it. I want to get better at it.

I've at least taken the first step, going from wanting to write a book to actually writing one. It's the first step in a long process, but for me, an important step to note.

1 comment:

  1. I think it's great that you're working on writing a book. Regardless of how it turns out, I think the journey is worth taking for its own sake. And it's something that a lot of people say they're going to do, like going to Europe, that they never commit to doing. I think a lot people have a good book inside of them, but they don't know how to put it on paper without a co-writer and/or an excellent editor.

    Having said that I think it is very competitive in the publishing industry and dare I say "pretentious". It's similar to the music industry in that authors tour the country like musicians doing appearances to sell books.

    I guess everyone's dream is to make a living selling their books, but I wouldn't advise anyone to do it primarily for that purpose. It'd be great just to do it because you really like writing and you want to put your thoughts and ideas to paper.


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