Monday, September 18, 2006

Saturday I spent all day at the Sonoma County Book Festival in Santa Rosa. This experience reinforced for me the thoughts I've been having on validation--on what a writer is to do when there is none, or little, or not the kind they'd hoped for, forthcoming (answer: gather en masse).

Like many others, Rebecca Lawton and I were there with our publisher, Arthur Dawson of Kulupi Press (our book's parent imprint) to attract interest in and show off the mock-up cover of our book: Creating Space: For Writers & Other Artistic Souls. I want to make it clear that this cover is not complete. The background will stay (the work of a the talented artist Irene Ehret), but the text will be different.

When seated behind a booth, you are relatively captive to those that pass by. For the most part, it was a pleasure to be captive to inquiring visitors. But I also was privy to the pitch of many a writer on their various and assorted projects--from books to newsletters and everything in between. It reinforced for me that we writers are a hungry, hungry bunch. I wanted to hand out little stickers that said, "I validate you," because that was what I felt so many were asking for. It didn't matter that I was a stranger, that my book and theirs had nothing in common, that I probably had no insight, help or assistance for their project: I was a warm body and they needed to be heard.

So to all of you who held up your poetry/chapbooks/comic book spy novels/first drafts and fourth printings of your words before me on Saturday I say: consider yourself validated. Because sometimes that's all we get--five minutes with a stranger to pat you on the head and say good job--even if that was all the validation you ever get...or even if I was just one in a crowd of admirers lucky enough to talk to you before your star bursts into a fiery rush of success.

And thanks for all your words to me too. This writing gig is harder than it looks from the outside.



At 12:03 PM, Blogger Susan Henderson said...

So true, and well-said, Jordan. I think this is why so many writers blog - you just crave being around others who understand what it's like.

At 6:26 AM, Blogger Patrushka said...

There seems to be a parallelism between writers and (just) human beings ;)

Writers are expressing themselves and need validation for their product. The rest also crave for validation, not from publishers but from parents, friends, employers, psychologists, etc.

And sometimes, others are very selfish to let us know they validate us. Criticism is often heard instead.

I wonder how important a publisher or editor feels when he rejects a piece of writing which he considers not good enough.

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Samus said...

Ugh. I wouldn't have been able to sit at that table. How impolite, to shove your manuscript at someone trying to sell their own thing. I know it happens to writers on book tour all the time. So rude, trying to shill their shit when you're trying to sell yours.

I don't know if I am just more impatient or annoyed in general than you are, or if you just have more empathy because you've been out there shilling yourself and I haven't, but ugh. It makes me think that, if lightning strikes and I ever am accomplished, I will be one of those writers who hides in her house.

At 11:54 AM, Blogger Jordan E. Rosenfeld said...

Sue--Yes, that is probably true of literary bloggers. I know I'm hooked on more than a few.

Patricia--Unfortunately I think most editors/publishers are pretty overwhelmed with submissions and overworked and don't have a lot of time to care about the writing they reject. In fact you could say it is their job TO reject.

Samus: I want to be a little bit careful about what I say because for the most part people were just sharing. But I don't really have more empathy so much as I feel like I'm just another hungry writer out there, too. I have plenty of judgments, trust me, but I also feel like the industry makes many people feel desperate. I actually have begun to think that the self-publishing model should be changed to be more accepted. But that's a whole 'nother can of worms.

At 5:04 PM, Blogger Samus said...

Sharing sounds fine. Hey, nice work; here's what I do...

But people directly trying to sell their stuff or get a writer to give their stuff to their agent is so yech.

The publishing industry sucks.


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