Thursday, June 11, 2009

Children's Literacy Panel

Photo, left to right: authors Caley Fiddick, Ted Staunton, Richard Scrimger, Linda Hutsell-Manning, Peggy Dymond Leavey & illustrator Brenda Clark.

I was part of a panel recently, discussing children's literacy in front of a group of retired teachers. We were given a number of interesting discussion points (getting published for the first time, whether being published affected one's lifestyle, problems resulting from contracts).
As well, we answered questions from the floor. How do you explain the success of Harry Potter? --the right book at the right time.

Has the current recession affected your writing income? The number of returns has affected everyone's royalties negatively. Events such as BookExpo Canada have folded. Publishers may be accepting fewer manuscripts these days, needing to be sure a book will do well in the marketplace.

Does your writing income now support you? Those who said it did, stressed the importance of a healthy schedule of speaking engagements and school and library visits for which they are paid. (Amen, to that.)

How important are contracts? Everyone agreed they are very important and should be read with great care. Those with agents might be able to trust him/her to read all the fine print, but for the rest of us, read every word and consult a contract lawyer if necessary. I've discovered that a publisher actually expects an author to negotiate the terms of a contract with them.

For me, the best part about events like this one is the opportunity to talk to others in this crazy business.

Till next time,
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