Sunday, January 17, 2010

Strange conections

Never been one for reading newspapers, but this time of year when I can't beg a paper from a neighbour or steal one from thr recycling bin I pick up the heaviest in the shop to use to light fires.
A long time ago I discovered that one of my books had been chosen to represent Wales in the European Picture Book Collection while making the fire. ( Would have been good to hear it from the publisher, but at the time it made me laugh)
Yesterday I started reading an article, beautifully written by Angus Batey, and I was soon travelling through London in a car where I found myself agreeing with Dwayne Vincent from So Solid.

"I'm tired of people gettin' into the music industry and saying, 'I'm just in it for the music,'" barks Dwayne "Megaman" Vincent forcefully. "Well, don't go on TV then! Don't do any interviews, don't do any videos, don't put out anything: love your music and stay at home. Don't play at this game, because there's people who need that space. This business ain't for the light-hearted: it's a career, and careers generate income and revenue, and revenue ­generates popularity and exposure. And all of it is hard work."

Replace the word 'music' with the words 'children's books'.
Good article, interesting people, strange conections.
Oh, and very warm house.


  1. Hilarious... or tragic? Can't decide. So true though. I've always had more respect for those who don't push and publicise themselves. But I'm not sure publishers are the same.

    I'm always rooting for the underdog. And time and again, in music (and Classical music/opera as well) just as much as in publishing, it seems to be the least deserving who get the most acclaim/publicity. Of course blogging etc could be seen as self-promoting. But I think it depends how it's done. If, like you, it's an opportunity to share and enjoy observations, it's a good and generous act. It can be a fine line and I tread it nervously myself. I'd hate to become the sort of person I despise. I think it's easy to get carried away - it's so easy to digitally publish information about yourself.

    Truth is, if we were asked to be on TV would we say no? I guess false modesty is just as unattractive as blowing your own trumpet. But I think the dividing line is really about talent for the craft verses talent for putting yourself about. The latter seem to gain ground quicker, but perhaps posterity will tell another story. I like to think that real quality and talent will rise up to the surface eventually.

  2. Hello Jackie,

    You're absolutely right. Megaman's views could apply to many parts of the creative industries. I don't know what it's like in the book world per se but I know it would work just as well as a sentiment if the word "music" was replaced with "journalism". Not only are journalists having to contend with falling pay rates, increased workloads, dwindling numbers of paying outlets and, despite low inflation, ever-increasing costs, we also find ourselves in a world where lots of people feel that we shouldn't be allowed to consider what we do as work that one might expect to be paid for, mainly because there are other people who are either doing it, or would be keen to do it, as an unpaid pastime.

    Oh - and all that, and a warm house too! You don't get that with a website.



  3. Jackie,
    Anyone who disagrees with you, has never tried to write! Keep doing what you are doing, exactly the way you are doing it. I have nominated both of your blogs for the same award. They are two of the best I have read. Hope the sentiment warms you too.

  4. It is so good when someone does it well, though. The inter- activity of journalism these days begins to iritate. PM on radio 4 gives far too much time to the views of listeners. If I wanted that kind of thing I would sit in the back of a cab or go down the pub.
    For years people have said to me that it must be so 'lovely' to work in children's books, and yes, it is, and I am lucky to be published etc. I think sometimes people think that if you work in kids books then you must be quite childlike. In fact I am ruthless, professional, hard working. Well, maybe not ruthless. Toothless. And I get sick of people wanting something for nothing, writing things for newspapers that they have no budget for but ' it will be good exposure for you' etc etc.