- Ann Schwarz
- I'm a published author of short fiction for kids and adults. I have an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University. I'm a former content writer for Spirit and Truth publishing on their Living the Word series. I've also worked as a paid book reviewer and as a student editor for The Louisville Review literary magazine. I'm a wife and mom to two great kids, three dogs, and a cat. I love books, movies, gardening, kids, and animals.
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Readers Are Essential
It's a no brainer that to be a published author of anything, you have to have people who are willing to read your work. Readers drive the business of publishing. With the advent of the internet then ebooks, as well as the brick and mortar stores that have held on, there are more ways to get books into the hands of readers than ever before. There are also a wealth of ways these readers can offer up their opinions and reviews of the books they read for other readers to see, adding another element to the mix of what it takes to be published successfully. On top of that, with email submissions being so quick and convenient agents and editors can get submissions, easily within the thousands over the course of a year. All of these things combined mean the chances of being published in the traditional sense are steep for emerging authors. Not impossible, but very challenging.
That is why it is very important to have people you trust who can read your work while it is still rough. A critique group can be one way to accomplish this, but it isn't the only way. There are a plethora of reputable online sites that offer classes in creative writing. Organizations, like the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), offer workshops and revision camps throughout the year all across the country. Even a local book group you might be a part of can be a source of valuable feedback on your story and how well you've constructed it. And let me tell you, construct is how it feels when you are polishing up a piece of writing whether it is a short story, novel, or creative nonfiction work. Getting it all down in a first draft is only the beginning. Revising it, reading it, having others read it, then revising it again, and yet again, is a process in construction. Scenes you loved sometimes have to be cut, others added. Characters you might have loved might have to be killed off or just cut out of the story altogether. It is a building process of monumental proportions that happens in your mind and is translated from there onto the page. So, it helps when you have a group of people who read it in its infancy, love it despite all its growing pains, and cheer you and your book baby on all along the way.
Last year at the SCBWI Midsouth conference when they announced the winner of the 2013 Crystal Kite Award, the author acknowledged that she never would have published her book let alone won an award for it without a strong support system of other writers and critique partners to help her. She called up all of the people present who were a part of that journey with her, so they could hold the award in their hands too. I could understand her sentiment. Over the last few years I've developed a cheer squad of people of my own who continue to encourage, advise and support me. Like me, they are writers working to get their work into the hands of readers, hoping to change someone's perspective of the world. Because while readers drive the business, it is the writers who open their eyes to another view, another world, that they never knew existed until they opened a book and got swept up in a story.