Friday, June 8, 2012

Open and Honest Thoughts

I've been debating since last night whether or not to pen this post but felt in my heart I needed to get it off my chest. Many know me as a person who has an open book policy:

I read an email where it showcased several top known authors and the millions they've gained. Kudos to them.

I believe, and I may have the percentage wrong, but it's only a very small number, li
ke 4-7% of authors, who actually do make it big the first time around. The rest need to work hard, sweat a good sweat, to get their books out there. Unfortunately, that's the name of the game, especially nowadays where we have tons of new writers and new houses popping up left and right.

I recently read the Hunger Games trilogy, and although the concept of the book was excellent and innovative, I found myself flipping through tons of pages to get to the meat of the book. I was jarred out of the storyline several times with all the backstory, and then when I ended up in the present again, it took me a few seconds to grasp my bearings where the actual story had left off before the long-winded backstory intruded my read.

The reason I bring this book up is the following and the reason for my post:

as small publishers we are often overlooked or criticized by many who believe the quality of the writing is lacking, the cover art is lacking, the editorial department is lacking...not true. I might venture out there and say that small to mid-sized houses may work harder to prove to their readers that we do care about our authors/readers and will do our best to produce as tip top a book as possible.

In the Hunger Games, it was the backstory from this large house which jarred me from my reading pleasure. In other books, such as some of the Potter books, there were tons of editorial mishaps. There are some things that do go unnoticed and regardless if it's a small or large house, these things happen unfortunately.

My main point is that I have read so many books from new authors and new houses that are simply amazing, books that top some of the biggies. My heart goes out to them because I know how hard this industry is to get a name for yourself.

All I want to say is do NOT give up. Continue to promote, ignore comments from some who shun you when they hear you are with an 'unknown' publisher. Your book deserves to be read, remember that, otherwise your publisher (a reputable publisher who actually cares for both authors and readers) would never have contracted it.

This post has nothing to do with MuseItUp as much as reaching out to some authors who have emailed me offlist, authors who have been disillusioned by negativity by family and friends, and ready to hang their writing pens for good.

Keep the passion! Reflect why you began writing in the first place, and lock the door to outsiders who will never understand that deep commitment you have to entertain readers.

You matter! And there are readers out there waiting for your stories...I know I am.

Thank you


Yvonne Nicolas said...

And this is one of the reasons why I adore you Lea. ^_^ You honestly care. And sadly, that’s rare these days. I think it’s important to be in this industry because you love it. Not to make it big, or to create the next story that makes it to Hollywood… No, you have genuinely LOVE your craft, and be in it for the long haul.
Wonderful post, Lea. Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

What a fabulous article of support and encouragement for writers! When I saw this in my Triberr stream, I wanted to push it to the front of the line to send it out. Authors need this. Thank you Lea.

Stacy said...

Thank you so much for this positive post, Lea. It's so easy to get discouraged when I see poorly written (and edited) stuff like 50 Shades of Gray selling millions. So many authors have great books that don't get a tenth of the recognition they deserve. All we can do is hone our craft, support each other, and most of all, keep writing.

I'm so proud to be with such a supportive publisher. I'd much rather start my career with someone supportive and understanding than to just be another number in the machine.

Stacy Green (

Jenna Storm said...

Great post Lea. I'm glad you decided to write this. I agree, just because these books are receiving tons of publicity and huge sales doesn't automatically put them above other books written by smaller or unknown publishers. Not all plots and characters appeal to the same person that's a given. No matter how big the publisher is and the amount of money they are willing to put into a book doesn't guarantee it will appeal to all.

With that said...I do wonder if the big houses are feeling pressure to come up with a smash hit (maybe pushing a book that wouldn't normally have garnered the attention) because a lot of new blood is signing with ebook publishers, or smaller and less known ones. I am in no way slamming another writers work because I don't believe in that and like I said before what one reader loves another might hate.

I just wonder if the big houses are feeling the loss of so much talent.

lizzie starr said...

Thank for for so eloquently stating what every struggling author needs to know and accept. There's good and there's bad in every venue of publishing. It is just very hard to see drek do well. And in some cases, I'm sure part of the success is people seeing how bad the book really is (ie 50 Shades...)

Thank goodness there are readers who seek out, read and support small press, ebooks and indie pubbed authors. I dare say they're getting the best of the bargain!

Nancy Bell said...

Lea, my friend, this is why we love you. Yes, sometimes the ones who make it 'big' are often not as well crafted as some that linger in the mid sales bracket. A writer MUST believe in themselves and the characters who present themselves to that writer. Many times 'going viral' is not the blessing it seems from the outside and can sometimes be the result of poor or mediocre work that is passed around and then develops a cachet of sorts and it becomes famous.
The thing to remember is that old cliche "To thine own self be true, and it must follow as the night the day, that thou cans't then be false to any man." or words to that effect anyway. We have to craft the best story we can and then send it out into the world on it's own. Like running behind our kids on a two wheeler to steady them and then letting go and watching them waver down the drive, gaining confidence as they go.

Just my thoughts


Mindy Hardwick said...

Thank you, Lea! Very well said! I participate in a Young Adult book group, and of the five of us, three of us are published writers. When we read a "well-hyped book" we often are left shaking our heads and wondering why.

When I'm teaching educators, one of the things I emphasize is that just because the book is at Barnes and Noble and turned spine out with a big stack of copies, does not always mean it is one which is well written. I've had more people say to me about my books, "Wow. A big publisher never picked these up?" I shake my head, and say no, but both books found just the right home where they were well edited and well-cared for in the publication process. And as an author, it's nice to know the stories I worked so hard to write are in good homes!

Barbara Ehrentreu said...

Lea, I am so happy you wrote this post. You have always been supportive of authors and many times your encouragement has really made a difference for me. This week was BEA and my daughter, who works for Bookscan, had to be there. I couldn't go, because of my husband's health I needed to be here to ferry him to his appointments, but she started talking about my book. The people she talked with were small bookstore owners and librarians. One woman who read my first chapter wanted to read the whole book. I know that my book was given the best of care before it was published and I am very proud to be part of a publisher who brings care and skill to everything she does.

Small publishers have a place in the publishing world and maybe next year you might think about having a presence at BEA. There is no other place where both bookstore owners and librarians are in one place and this year they invited people from book clubs and just people who love to read.

No one knew about MuseItUp so it was good my daughter got out the name. I am very proud to be part of this group and agree with everything you said in your post.