Monday, October 1, 2012

Industry Month in Review: Money, Money, Money!

We all aspire to be amazing writers, expressing ourselves through beautiful words and lyrical prose.  We pride ourselves on our ability to remain pure to our calling and write without boundaries.  Even so, we have to eat and so do our agents and publishers.  Hence, that's why publishing is a business and writing with the goal of being published can sometimes feel like a daunting task and a bit like swimming with the sharks. 

This video from serves more to poke fun at the world of freelance in general and directs you to a website that provides legal tips for those who can't afford high power lawyers.  Still, it resonates with many writers.  If anything, it reminds us not to assume we know exactly what agents and publishers are looking for and to make sure we always do our due diligence (when we finally get that offer!) regardless of how much it's worth. 

Hernando Guanlao in front of his house/free library
Hernando Guanlao in front of his home turned free library
Then there's the other side of the business (I'm looking at all the writers reading this).  Some writers have that "me versus them"/"writer versus agent/publisher" attitude.  The publisher got it wrong with the book cover or their notes were lacklustre.  However, sometimes, it's the other way around.  Sometimes, it's the writers who are the ones who should get a slap on the wrist.  Case in point, The Smoking Gun reported that The Penguin Group recently filed lawsuits against writers who received advances but failed to deliver their books.  I know what you're all thinking: this would never have happened if they gave that advance to me. 

But enough about money. Sometimes, the best things in life are free.  Hernando Guanlao may be a former accountant, but he's doing more to spur on the love of reading than most of us do writing.  Guanlao lives in Makati City, Philippines and he has turned his house into a free public library where there are no rules. Kids and adults alike can take what they please for as long as they want.  With over 30% of the country living under the poverty line, access to a free library like Guanlao's can mean all the difference in the world. 

Just like the circle of life, from the mind of a writer to the press of a publisher to the hands of an excited reader, a book also has it's time and place.  Some have found their way into the Jardin de la Connaissance, a garden of decaying books in Quebec.  Established in June 2010, the walls of books are now sprouting moss and mushrooms and Dezeen Magazine notes: slowly rotting to become part of the forest.

Jardin de la Connaissance
Jardin de la Connaissance

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