Catherine Mesick, author of Pure, joins us again with some words of wisdom. Read along with me for a brief glimpse into her history with publishing and some sound advice for those hoping to someday see their words on a printed page.
The world of publishing is expanding, and there’s room for everyone who wants to be a part of it. Small presses and independents are leading the way, and there are opportunities for everyone – authors, bloggers, book reviewers, artists. Jennifer has asked me to share what I have learned about publishing in this new environment, and I have to say that the most important thing I have learned is this: Just take the plunge and do something that you love.
I started my publishing career as an intern at Scholastic Books, the publisher that was lucky enough to win the rights to theHarry Potter series in the U.S. It was an exciting time to be at Scholastic, and though I was never lucky enough to work on any of the Harry Potter books – I was nowhere near important enough – I did get to work on R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series, K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs series, and many other titles besides. These books were regarded as sacred properties, and I was forbidden to talk about the books or to take any work home for fear that details would leak out.
I had always liked books and writing, but being able to work on manuscripts that were actually headed for publication was a profound thrill. My love for books seemed to grow every day. Sometimes I was required to rewrite sentences – or rarely – a paragraph, and once I was even told that an author had neglected to make up some magic words for an incantation in a book – so I was to come up with the words myself. When I saw the magic words I had written appear in an actual book – or any of the sentences I had rewritten – I remembered them all – I experienced an amazing feeling – the joy of an author seeing her words in print.
Eventually, I left Scholastic and went on to work at other publishing houses. I also went on to write books myself, and the joy of seeing my words come to life on paper, and now on screen in electronic form has never left me. At times I have had my doubts about continuing to forge ahead in the difficult world of publishing, of course, but I have discovered that I have the most success when I am writing about places, situations, themes, and characters that I truly love.
So, if I have one piece of advice for anyone just starting out in publishing, it’s this: Do something you really love. Take us where you most want to go. I promise we will follow.