The Book Is Written. Now What?
A Philadelphia conference helps writers and publishers find their audience.
Writing a good book is never easy, even for prolific authors. Just getting thoughts from brain to DOC file can take months, years, even decades.
And that's just for starters. The writer has to get a publisher's acquisitions editor to take it on. Then there are rewrites, edits, indexing, photo shoots and illustrating, design and layout, and proofing.
Even then, the hardest work remains to be done: finding an audience for the finished work. Without it, the author keeps a small advance as a consolation prize, but royalty checks for life? Forget it.
'Finding an audience' was the theme at the fourth Beyond the Book, a traveling conference series on the business of writing attended by journalists, writers, and photographers.
The conference, held this year at the spanking new National Constitution Center, in Philadelphia, consisted of a two hour panel session, followed by a reception. It was moderated by Christopher Kenneally, director of author and creator relations at the Copyright Clearance Center Inc., Danvers, Mass., a vendor of content licensing systems.
"There are so many books, and competition for readers is immense," Kenneally says. "If the book doesn't reach its reader, then all the effort that went into [publishing it] is for naught."
Kenneally was joined by four other panelists who discussed, from a writer's and shooter's perspective, the business of getting work noticed- first by a publisher, then by readers. Other big topics on the table: ethics, moonlighting, and promotion.
"The Internet is a place where [some] writers go to stretch the truth, but it also provides a network for checking whether a story is original or not," by making it easy to search for similar stories, says Jeffrey Seglin, director of the publishing and writing graduate program at Emerson University, Boston.