Tip of the Day: in between all your writing, don’t forget to make time for reading too!
Working in a library I am exposed to wannabe writers on a frequent basis. I am constantly amazed at the number of people in our community that want to publish a book.
But out of the large section of wannabe writers, I’m starting to notice an interesting trend. These people tend to fall into two groups.
Group 1: Potential writers that read
Group 2: Potential writers that don’t read
And a large portion of these people are in Group 2. People who are not readers, nor do they want to be.
Writing that sentence seems like an oxymoron to me. What’s the point of writing if you don’t read? And if you don’t read, then how on earth do you expect other people to want to read your book? (Yes, even if people are in Group 2, they still want to “publish” a book traditionally and see it on library shelves ::hits head against desk::).
I attribute this trend to the J.K. Rowling Effect.
There are many potential J.K. Rowling Effects. But in this instance, I mean people that hear about J.K. Rowling’s story: about how she was on welfare and looking for a way to support herself and her kids, so she wrote a book, and now she’s richer than the Queen of England.
But they don’t hear about all the rejection she went through to get that success.
There’s a lot of misconceptions about publishing, but I have to say this is one of the ones that baffles me the most.
And I’m amazed it comes up as much as it does.
Because for every one person that is genuinely interested in learning about writing, invested in taking the writing programs we offer at our library, and doing research on the subject by reading books or blogs like this, there’s another person that walks in and basically wants you to publish their book for them. And the last thing those people want to do is pick up a book and read what others are writing, because nine times out of ten, they “don’t think their book is like any out there, so what’s the point in reading others.”
If this happens at our little, local library, I have no idea how publishing companies and agents deal with this on a daily basis.
Nor do I understand where so many people got the idea publishing is an easy process, that most people make a lot of money from it, or that you don’t have to edit your novels before publishing them, but I wish it would stop.
Does this happen in other industries, too? Does every Joe Schmo going to an acting audition believe if they get a gig they can become Brad Pitt. Despite the fact, they don’t even want to read the script before the audition?
Because I really don’t think people would expect that. But maybe I’m naïve like that.
So to do my part to end this particular J.K. Rowling Effect, anytime anyone asks me anything about writing or publishing, I am going to slip in somewhere in the conversation that to be a writer, you have to be a reader.
--Emily, Miss Awaiting an Agent