Carleton Place (and environs) is bursting with writers! It is also bursting with amazing librarians who listen to the members of their library, and so, when local writers wanted to know more about publishing, a plan was hatched to get that information for them. An evening was planned. Here, after the librarians, is the second cast of characters. From the left, me, then Joelle Hubner-McClean, David Mulholland, Sandra Nikolai, and Linda Seccaspina, who moderated the panel.
We were all treated better than the Queen, we four panelists being directed to ridiculously comfortable red leather sofas, and Linda to her matching chair. This is the way writers like to be treated.
Linda asked questions about our backgrounds and publishing experiences, which we answered as best we could. The audience was interesting and intent, their attention and conversations before, during the break and afterwards insightful and delightful.
What did we write, and how did we get that published, and what were the various choices on the road to getting published. What were the time frames involved. What about rejections.
I learned so much, and brought a lot of reality to the conversation concerning sending manuscripts to big publishers. We covered wait times and probabilities. David, Sandra, Linda and Joelle have had wonderful successes and know so much about e-books, self publishing, and Amazon as well as where to go on the internet to find the information needed.
I was so impressed by all the others. They write history, fiction, mysteries, children’s books. They’ve done their homework and publish in ways they are quite happy with. They actually make money writing! They are happy with their results but that has everything to do the quality of their writing as well as with the time and effort they spend publicizing their books, doing readings, networking. They are good at selling their books, and great at explaining content, motivation, how a story or a book starts, all the way to how their books get edited, how to work with editors, how they arrive at the cover designs and who their audiences are.
We were asked whether we preferred e-books or ‘paper’ books, and the answers were surprising. All preferred the paper versions, but they all have more money in the bank from the internet ventures. One benefit from being on internet sellers’ forums is that their books are being sold all over the world. Given that, I admitted that I love the physical form of books that my publishers created, but working with publishers is difficult. Arctic Twilight, for example, does well on Amazon, but the publishers benefit for the most part, as they are still the sellers. These writers have done the wiser thing; they have remained the sellers, which makes for a much better deal.
Our examples of publications ranged from chapbooks and hand-made books to hard cover books with dust covers and paperbacks. Tables were set up for our books and for signing those books, and a delectable array of treats book-ended the coffee machine. I don’t think any writer could have had a more agreeable venue, audience, company or organizers.
I did not expect to go home with gifts. One was meeting Jennifer Fenwick Irwin. She brought me a gift from her father, Roly Fenwick, who had enjoyed Arctic Twilight so much that he gave me a copy of the catalogue for his latest exhibition. The paintings are glorious. Thank you Mr. Fenwick. Thank you so much!
Then more topping on the cake, with parting gifts from the library. I’ve been using this lap desk since that evening; it’s something I may have been looking for all my life. Thank you.
I don’t know who was responsible for choosing that gift, or for writing our names so elegantly on the card envelopes. I keep that envelope propped up on my mantel. It makes me feel great every time I see it, reminding me of those hours enriched with so many people interested in words, and interested in getting those words out where they should be.
Thank you Meriah Caswell and Heidi Sinnett. That evening was a gift to everyone who was there, the writers, as well as the readers who love words. And thank you Linda Seccaspina, for captaining our ship last Friday evening.