My colleague Jeff Kurrus is the associate editor of Nebraskaland magazine. In his latest blog post, he writes, “A couple of months ago, I sat on a literary panel for my upcoming children’s book, Have You Seen Mary? The topic was on writing, publishing, and the behind-the-scenes of each, and myself and four other writers and publishers discussed these subjects in front of about 40 aspiring writers in the audience.”
Kurrus describes another panelist, a publisher, who told the audience that liking their work wasn’t enough for her to publish it. She would also check who they followed on social media. If she didn’t think they were following serious writers, she would not consider their stuff.
That statement appalled Kurrus and it shocks me, as well. In his opinion, from the publishing side, what should be considered is the work, and only the work. And from the writing side, “I understand the concept of knowing the field, knowing your audience, and being able to conceptualize the holes that you see in the current literature,” he says, “but I also think that when I’m on my deathbed I’m going to be more concerned with what I was writing than worrying about what all the ‘right people’ were writing.”
Know your field, yes. But do your own work and champion your own good ideas. Spend more time creating than following other creative people. Kurrus says, “I’ll take my chances writing. I always have, and I always will. And I hope any aspiring writers out there do the same.”
It’s a great post. Read it here.