Thursday, May 20, 2010

I'm on the side of Reading--are you?

Maybe it was the two incredible author signings I went to this week. Or maybe it was all the awesome comments you guys left on my last few posts. Or maybe it was reading a couple of books I loved so much I wanted to throw rocks at my draft. I'm not sure. But I couldn't stop thinking about this quote Shannon Hale has on her website under "Things I wish I'd known."

"The more books you read and love, and the happier you are for other authors' successes, the happier you'll be, too. Apparently, it's not a competition! All writers are on the same side--the side of books, of reading, of literacy, of art, of every reader who wants to fall into a story. And if you're really lucky, some of those writers will become your friends."


That quote embodies everything I love about Childrens', Middle Grade, and YA writers. We're all on the same side. Whether we sell 10,000 books or 10 million books, we've all done the most important thing: made a child (of any age) READ.

It's not about money. It's not about who sold their book faster, or bigger, or signed with a big agent or a small agent, or sold their book in two weeks or two months or two years. It's about making people fall in love with stories and characters and worlds. Making people feel what we put on the page. Keeping the publishing business alive.

And most importantly--it's not a competition.

I worked in Hollywood before I started writing Middle Grade. EVERYTHING was a competition. Everyone was out to beat everyone else, and honestly, that's a big part of why I walked away. I'm not a competitive person. I don't compare myself to other people, or try to measure myself by their success. So I LOVE the way almost everyone in the children's writing world seems to be the same way.

I've never found such a positive, supportive industry. I've never seen people come together so quickly and effortlessly (if you need proof, look at what Do The Write Thing For Nashville was able to accomplish). I've never seen so many people so openly celebrate everyone else's success. (again, if you need proof, follow a bunch of writers on Twitter and read their tweets on book release days).

No pushing each other down. No begrudging other people's success. It's more like a team. Team Writers. And I'm honored to be a very small part.

So what about you guys? Do you agree with Shannon Hale? Are you on the side of reading?

42 comments:

  1. Ofcourse! lol. Honestly I think writers as a whole have to stick together. Every move an author makes- every deal, every step forward -changes things just a little bit (whether its general perception or the going rate of book rights) for all the other writers out there. We literally are a team.

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  2. Great post! But it's so true. While I can't talk for the ones who are writing to become the next JK Rowling or Stephenie Meyers, most of us write to make a difference in a child or teen's life. And it's amazing the support I've seen in the world of children's book. We're there to help each other out. :D

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  3. Ooh, magnificent quote. It touches the empty spaces between all writers and links us, threads us together. Love that! So grateful you shared it. Now I have to go check out that site.

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  4. Beautiful quote. There is room for all of us.

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  5. I couldn't agree more!
    Those that make it a competition aren't in it for the right reasons.

    Well said Shannon Hale. Well said. Those Shannon gals are pretty smart. ;)

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  6. Great post and love the quote. There is room for everyone.

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  7. I see that strongest when I attend multi-author events. Most of us are pulling for one another!

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  8. Great post!!! It's sooo true. Authors should be supporting each other and not feeling that they have to beat each other.

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  9. Great post. Very true. I love reading about other author successes because we are a community. And we support eachother no matter where we are on the journey. :)

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  10. It reminds me of the quote "A rising tide lifts ALL boats." I love how supportive and wonderful my writing friends/critique partners are - I couldn't do this without them!

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  11. Yes! I think that's why I'm so drawn to YA and Children's lit. It's all got a reason, a positive motivation. If I read a great YA book, I can tell a young adult about it and encourage them. I can connect with them on that level and maybe, just maybe be a part of their reading (improvement) experience.

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  12. Yup. I agree.

    Even though I write kind of adult fiction (*cough*), I'm blog-friends with tons of YA writers, and I've been thrilled by their successes.

    So yay for books, writers, and readers supporting one another! Lovely post, good lady.

    (No, don't worry about me. I'm fine. I'll be sarcastic and snarky in my next comment, okay? Okay.)

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  13. I'm not competitive, either. Just want to do my best and reach someone. I think the best reward for a children/YA writer has to be reaching kids. Lisa Schroeder has a great story about a girl who had never finished a book before reading one of Lisa's verse novels. That would be such a reward as a writer.
    I was once reading a snippet during a workshop in a bookstore. A young boy had stopped to listen to us. When I finished, he blurted, "I want to read that." I thought my heart would burst and I can still see his smile and shining eyes. If I never do anything else, that made me proud to be a writer.
    Thanks for this post, Shannon. Helps to be reminded why we do this.

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  14. Okay Shannon you & I both have met that wonderful woman, would you disagree with her?

    Nope.

    She is not only an awesome author but obviously and advocate for the reason we all love to write!

    I totally agree and I am proud to know so many wonderful people within this community - the support is amazing!

    as always thanks for such an awesome post!

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

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  15. Totally agree. I love the community feel that's present around writers. I love celebrating everyone's success and long for the day the rest of us finally can celebrate too. I love that it's not a competition but a great support group.

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  16. When I finished my first novel and wondered what to do next, I stumbled upon Shannon Hale's website and read this quote - along with all the other aspiring author encouragement she dishes out. I loved it. :)

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  17. I'm totally on the side of reading =) I'm on the side of anything that let's me read to be on that side, lol.

    PLUS I agree wholeheartedly here, that we should support each other and I've been SO impressed with most of the writing community's willingness to do so =)

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  18. Absolutely! Loved this post! I'm completely on board in supporting other writers without expecting anything in return. And you know what? Nearly everyone in this writing community returns the support and encouragement! No questions asked; just give, give, give. They're an impressive group of people, writers. :)

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  19. Yes,yes, yes! I am only competitive with myself. I look to other writers for inspiration and motivation. I recently did a post on Writers and Readers (we teach each other)

    Check out my blog and see what you think.

    Great post!

    Maribeth

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  20. I agree. Alot. Years ago, when I first started out working at the library, we would host writers for kids and teens, go to events that celebrated those writers and the people who put those books in kids hands. I loved (and still do, of course!) the commitment and passion for kids and reading that I saw...a community that truly believed in the sharing story with kids! The children and teen writing world ROCKS!

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  21. Great quote. (=
    Saw your comment on Elana's site. My hubby is in the Hollywood biz and went indy-- but occasionally still goes to LA (recently worked on Iron Man2)
    Anyway, I see that Laura is your agent. Cool. Did you query a lot before landing an agent?
    I just submitted to Laura...I pitched to her at a writing conf.
    Anyway--I will keep an eye on your triumphs. It always feels encouraging to see other writers doing it! It's true--we are on the same side. (=

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  22. Aw, thanks for the comments everyone! BTW, I've been trying to respond to everyone's comments via email, so if you haven't heard from me it's probably because you don't have an email address attached to your blogger account!

    Jojomama: Thanks for stopping by. It's so nice to connect with other writers. Actually...I only queried for two weeks before Laura made her offer *blushes* I think I fell through a crack in the system--not that I'm complaining. Good luck with your querying and I look forward to getting to know you a little better! :)

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  23. it's all about reading. Books are important. And thanks for the query letter tips! I already use query tracker and have been trying to not get frustrated with the querying process lol. I won't lie though, I stalk my inbox. haha. Thanks again :)

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  24. Thank you so much for this post, Shannon! I love that concept. Jealously is not the same as disdain and how often do you see author-author feuds? Um, like never. Even Stephenie Meyer and Rick Riordan have an unlikely alliance. I love our world of writing love.

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  25. Team Writers! I love that - the more kids read (and have books they love to read) the more everybody wins. Count me in on the side of books! :)

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  26. I agree. I have seen author's be nothing but supportive of each other. They all write books because they love reading and have a story to tell. I think authors are readers first and they love to see all the new books.

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  27. Love this post! Shannon Hale is spot on, and I love that the writing community is made of such supportive people - people that are genuinely here for the love of words.

    Team Writers FTW. :)

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  28. More Shannon awesomeness! :p

    I love that quote and the philosophy behind it. I couldn't agree more. I've met some truly amazing people in this community and I am thankful for it every day.

    When asked what my goals are for writing, it's simple - to ignite the spark of imagination in a child, just as books have done for me my entire life.

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  29. I LOVE that quote and your post! Very true words!!

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  30. You're right - great minds do think alike (or maybe great Shannon minds)!

    I am TOTALLY on the side of reading! :-)

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  31. Absolutely! I find support from fellow writers and give as much as I can in return. It's also another reason I like to give books as gifts. So important to support the industry as a whole as much as possible, and I just love to see people enjoying a great book. :)

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  32. I completely agree! In fact a lot of my high school friends, when I talk about all the success going around the blogsphere, one of the first questions I get asked is "are you upset it happened to them first?" well the answer is I'm envious but I couldn't be more thrilled for everyone getting book deals and signing agents. It means more books! How could I be upset? This quote I think applies without a doubt to the majority of, if not all, writers. Great post Shannon!

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  33. I love this industry because everyone is so willing to support and so excited to help. We all love stories and I love how close-knit and happy a group like this can be.

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  34. SHANNON - this quote is ABSOLUTELY TRUE!

    The writing community must be one of the most supportive out there. It's full of talented and creative people and I feel proud to be a new member.

    Do you think SIME is feeling OK? Do you think one of us should ask him if he's OK? He seemed awfully non sarcastic.....SIME?

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  35. I am for certain on the side of reading. I would love it if there were MORE MG books my DD loved to read. *sigh* write faster.

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  36. Yup! I'm amazed at the quality of kindness and supportiveness of the online writer's community. We are on the same side!

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  37. YAY for this post! What a great way to say it. I LOVE the childrens' writers atmosphere. Yes, for reading and supporting! (I also just finished reading I Am The Messenger, which was so good, I did feel a little like hiding my current wip under a rock. But YAY for author successes and variety in books)

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  38. "Keeping the publishing business alive."

    HECK YEAH!

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Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3