Friday, September 30, 2011

Being More Careful With Words

Hi There!

This morning I received an email that greatly disturbed me, in that I may have made a mistake in the way I have worded my thoughts. I am sharing this will all of you for two reasons: 1) maybe you won't have to learn through experience, like me, but through others' mistakes, and 2) to clear the air on my intentions.

Here is the email, which is written in response to my latest Goals post, (found here.) Its subject was "Standards, or Snobbery?"
In your "It's a Hoot" blog, you said: “I will not be illustrating for clients’ stories intended for… e-book publishing, or print-on-demand publishing.”
So, you would not want work with the publisher Simon & Schuster (who does print-on-demand for some of its books), or the writer Aaron Shepard (who keeps his books “The Sea King’s Daughter” and “The Baker's Dozen” out before the public using print-on-demand, and so that public continues to experience the beautiful illustrations by Gennady Spirin and Wendy Edelson), or any of the hundreds of other writers and publishers whose picture e-books are purchased every day from Apple’s iBookstore and from Barnes & Noble and are enjoyed by millions of children, parents, teachers, and librarians who use their iPads or their Color Nooks.
That’s a shame."

That IS a shame! Because that was not what I meant to say. And here was my response:

"Oh no! Perhaps I mis-wrote my intentions! I will fix that right away!
What I meant was for individual authors, (like a Mom who came up with this story about some inanimate object, etc) writing little stories but not serious about the book making process, but they have a story they want to "publish" but really they should be looking towards vanity presses for their purposes. They think that a children's story is so easy and that anyone can whip one up. (Even though people make go to school, get degrees, and make actual careers of this, just as I plan to.) They aren't willing to get their stories professionally edited, or try to make it better for the reader's sake, (such as near-rhyme, etc). I have had a few contact me, and upon reading the manuscript, I would suggest here or there that they repeated themselves or the ms needs a bit of help, and they would resolutely state that the ms stays the way it is. The story is okay; the wording or pacing just needs help. Which is fine for some people, but for myself I would like to work with individuals who strive for the very best as well. 
I meant to deter some requests that tend to take a while to explain to those who aren't in the business and don't quite understand the many steps taken, and are also not willing to pay for the hard work done. I had thought it would have been a time-saver, but perhaps I am mistaken!
I also did not mean to appear snobbish in any way, truly, but to personally guarantee excellence and that I will work hard to make a book the best that it can be. All of the titles you have mentioned have authors and illustrators who hold themselves to a high standard, and that is why they have been so successful; they are good at what they do!
I'm sure you have seen, that amongst the successful, high quality stories found in the ebook stores, that there are also some not-so-shiny ones as well. Readers notice spelling and grammar mistakes, or when a story has been written or illustrated poorly. I am merely trying to assure my potential clients that I will work very hard to make our books one of the successful ones!
In addition, I truly believe in e-books and self-publishing! I have been learning as much as possible on the topic so that I will be ready to jump in when the time is right for me. (I have a story I intend to put straight on the e-book shelves, but the ms isn't up to par as of yet.) 
I didn't mean to offend anyone, and I thank you for bringing it to my attention! In your professional opinion, should I omit that whole section, or perhaps have worded it differently? What would you have said or done in my position? I apologize for the miscommunication!
Thank you again, for taking the time to share your thoughts. I value your opinion, and I hope this will not leave any ill feeling towards anyone!
Take Care,"

Now I'm curious as to know if everyone had the same thoughts on that little article? I am by no means an expert with words, (which is why we revise, Revise, REVISE!) and I had not intended to portray what Mr. Email had thought. What are your thoughts, if you have any, on how I should have handled my words?

It seems Mr. Email has the same ideas, too, because he's said some of the things I was aiming towards, but in a clearer way, here on his blog. So this was definitely a mis-communication on my part! 

Also, I thank you for riding along this bumpy ride with me! I am learning new things every day, and some of you probably wonder why I even post my mistakes. But I need to keep myself accountable, and in-check, and blogging about my ups and downs have done that very thing for me. And I want to help the Newbies like myself, learn too. So Thank You, again!

Have a great day; it's SUPER nice out where I am!

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