11/21/05

Why?

Why? The most troubling question in the world. When I don’t know the why of something, it frustrates me. I can generally take a deep breath and let go of the huge cosmic whys. It’s the why created by interacting with others that really boggles me. Why do they think that? Why did they do that? When I can’t figure out the why, when I only see something from my point of view, I get frustrated. When I’m frustrated, I get cranky.

I sometimes get calls from cranky authors. Why didn’t you accept my manuscript? Why haven’t you answered my query? Why is it taking so long to get my book in the bookstores? Why isn’t my book selling? Why are my royalties so low?

All of these are legitimate questions. And they all have very good answers. As a publisher, I feel it’s my responsibility to help my writers understand the business of producing and selling their books. I find that the more they understand what I’m doing and why I’m doing it, the less cranky they are.

Education is a wonderful thing. Understanding is even better. I found that if one author asked a question, there were many others wondering about the same thing. As I lurk in various author forums, I see many of the same questions about writing and publishing pop up over and over again. Sometimes its hard to restrain myself from jumping into every conversation with my two cents worth. It just doesn’t seem polite to spew my opinions all over someone else’s forum.

So how do I get information out there to those who are interested without boring those who aren’t? I’ve asked myself that many times over the years and could never come up with a satisfactory answer. Then my daughter introduced me to the wonders of blogging. And voila, this blog spot was born.

My first thought was to create a humourous yet helpful site for LDS writers a la Miss Snark. I love her snippy and informative comments on the business of submitting to a literary agent. I thought I could do the same--provide snappy rhetoric on navigating the LDS publishing process, sans the occasional swear word and references to drinking massive amounts of gin.

One problem: I am just not a snarky writer. I have tried, but my biting snarckisms fall flat. Also, my puppy refuses to wear a pink tam.

So, instead I offer my take on publishing in the LDS market in what I hope will be a helpful and informative manner. And if I happen to be witty and/or funny, that is just a serendipitous bonus.

My credentials for writing this blog (or, why you should bother listening to me):

1. I am a published writer, so I understand the writer's side of things.

2. I have worked in various areas of the writing/publishing industry since 1981. (See "Credentials")

3. I honestly want to encourage all writers to give voice to their dreams. Writing is fun. It's creative. It's more than an occupation, it's an avocation—a calling. If I can help others to actualize their talents and calling, then I am thrilled to do it. That is part of my occupation, avocation and calling.

4. Apparently, I have a strong enough ego to think my opinions will be valuable to others.

And so, I dedicate this blog to you, the LDS author—to answer the why and create an understanding of the inner workings of the LDS publishing world so that you may stack the deck in your favor and raise the chances of getting your book past the slush pile and onto the bookstore shelves.

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