Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Save Your Money, Mom

I finally got around to reading Young Writers Dazzle Publisher (Mom and Dad). I totally agree with Tom Robbins, who was quoted in the article.

“What’s next?” asked the novelist Tom Robbins. “Kiddie architects, juvenile dentists, 11-year-old rocket scientists? Any parent who thinks that the crafting of engrossing, meaningful, publishable fiction requires less talent and experience than designing a house, extracting a wisdom tooth, or supervising a lunar probe is, frankly, delusional.” 

I've made similar analogies when discussing the subject of children self-publishing. No one would dream of suggesting a twelve- or thirteen-year-old start practicing medicine.
When adults encourage children to believe that with just a few years of part-time training through their English classes they are ready to "publish" in any kind of meaningful way, they are teaching them that they don't have to meet any standards other than their own or, since they've been in school such a short time, even learn them. Unless things change in the publishing world (and, of course, they could), this paid publication will not open any doors for young writers when they're older. Traditional publishers pick up self-published authors because those self-published authors somehow managed to make tens of thousands of sales. KidPub Press founder and publisher "Perry Donham, said it was “pretty unusual” for a KidPub author to sell more than 50 copies on Amazon."

With any luck, these children will move on from writing to some other field of interest. If not, they're in for a cruel surprise down the line when they try to make their way in the real publishing world, at least as it now exists.

Maureen Johnson has a very good take on this issue at So I Read A Piece In The New York Times.

Thanks to Liz B a Tea Cozy for the Johnson link. Liz has a post on this issue relating to Libraries and self-published books 

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