Thursday, June 23, 2011

Being a Writer is Easy. Getting Published is the Bitch.

A great new children's book has been getting a lot of attention recently, "Go the F**k to Sleep" by Adam Mansbach.

CLICK HERE: To hear book read by Samual L. Jackson

A friend said on her facebook, "OMG I've just quoted Adam Mansbach!"

I am always in awe of a breakthrough in new thinking. This book is an example in which something so obvious, and probably part of every parent's experience, is finally and easily and successfully brought out into the open.

Speaking of being jealous of Mansbach's success, I've been working on my manuscript, GYROSCOPE, again. I have been trying to get permissions to use the countless number of quotations I've included. Turns out citing them is not enough when you are using them for commercial purposes (as I am when my book gets published.) One also needs permission from the holder of the copyright.

Drudgery trying to find the author, composing letters, sharing excerpts from your work where their quote is used, sending snail mail and/or e-mail with request. Some people have been prompt, friendly, and allowed used. Very reinforcing especially when the author is someone you admire!

The bigger the publishing house or if the work is now owned by a foundation, the author is tucked further away and secreted so you have to go through the publisher, agent, or foundation after a detailed search to find them in the first place. Forms must be filled out and six to eight week waits expected.

Several, like Random House and Simon & Schuster, want to know who your publisher is, when the book will be out, how many pages, cost of book, geographic circulation area, etc. In other words assuming you are already published.

I sent an e-mail saying I felt like this was a misconnect since I wanted permission to use the quote in my manuscript which I was hoping to get published. If I couldn't get permission I wouldn't use it and they are saying they can't give permission until it is used and published.

The reply was just as circular. And when you notified them of your publication information, it would still take six to eight weeks for an answer. In addition I learned that if you wanted to use a poem or song lyrics, you had to pay a royalty. Case in point is a poem by Anne Morrow Lindbergh that I guess I won't be using.

I have going here what I call the 49/51% controlling interest phenomenon. 49% of me wants to say "Give Up" it's not worth the effort and you'll probably fail. 51% says "Keep Going" it's worth the effort and you might succeed.

I'll let you know what happens.


  1. thanks for the insight. good to know this kind of stuff. can't say it keeps me motivated to write though.

  2. Thanks for your reply. The unspoken message of my post is that the motivation for writing is the writing not the getting it published. The getting it published is the labor behind the love.


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