Friday, 13 September 2013

Top ten best and worst things about being a kid's fiction writer

Alright, I've finally decided it's time that I gave something back to the literary world. This post is for anyone who is currently harbouring dark thoughts of becoming a kid's fiction author. But I'm guessing it applies for all kinds of writers really. Anyway here goes:

My top ten best things about being a kid’s fiction writer (in no particular order)
  1. The thrill of seeing your book on the shelf of a large book-shop for the very first time. This is only surpassed by having the opportunity to rearrange their shelves and make a massive display of it, while other members of your family distract the shop staff.
  2.  Having a publisher tell you that they love your work and want to pay you buckets of money to publish it (‘bucket’ is obviously a subjective term here).
  3.  Randomly stumbling across a great review of your book that’s written by someone you’ve never met before.
  4.  Having a reader tell you that they loved your book and they can’t wait for the next one to come out. Or perhaps even better, having a parent tell you that your book has changed their child’s whole view of reading (in a positive way).
  5.  Getting to visit schools, events and festivals and finally fulfilling your secret dream of becoming a stand up comedian.
  6.  Being the star in the spotlight of a really great publicity campaign to coincide with your book launch. Then sitting back for six months and imagining that it’s become a massive best seller, while you wait for the first royalty statement to arrive.
  7.  Meeting other authors and realizing that they know even less about all the stuff that confuses you, concerns you, or that you simply don’t know about being a writer.
  8.  Getting to stay home and take your dog for a walk anytime you want.
  9.  Jumping out of bed in the morning with a desperate urge to rush to the keyboard and pour forth all the amazing ideas that have been banking up in your head. Then discovering that the day has passed in a blur of hammering keys and quality writing that almost certainly won't even need editing.
  10.  The unique sense of satisfaction that can only be gained by knowing  all those months of hard graft turning the germ of idea into something people will want to read, has totally been worth it.  

Top ten worst things about being a kid’s fiction writer (in no particular order)
  1. Getting asked to leave Dymocks after being caught trying to place your book in their front window.
  2.  Having a publisher tell you they don’t love your work (or even worse, receiving a standard format letter implying that they haven’t even read it, but there is still no way in Hell they would ever consider publishing it).
  3.  Reading a bad review of one of your books - Actually this has only happened to me once so far and I didn't take it personally at all because the reviewer was clearly a moron.
  4.  Having a parent tell you that your book has damaged their child in some way. This has only happened to me once too and I didn't worry about that either because I think the kid’s mum was the same person who wrote the review. In fact, I bet her kid never even read the book.
  5.  Doing a school visit and spending a hilarious hour doing a whole routine about how much fun Andy Flegg’s weird words are. Then have a kid ask afterwards if the book had any strange words in it! I think it's called ADD.
  6.  Waiting for six months to find out how many books you've sold, then finally getting the first royalty statement, only to find out that you really shouldn't have been spending all that money on coffee after all.
  7.  Meeting other authors and realizing that they know infinitely more about what they’re doing than you do.
  8.  Having a dog who constantly harasses you to take her out when you are desperately trying to concentrate on getting some works done.
  9.  Spending months of hard graft turning the germ of idea from a thought, to a plan, to a draft, to a pile of poo that you know must never be seen by anyone if you ever want them to take you seriously again.
  10.  Waking up in the morning with absolutely no idea what you are going to write about. Then spending the rest of the day desperately pursuing any household task that will keep you away from the keyboard.
 Obviously these are only my own experiences, but hopefully some of you might find them insightful.

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