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“Quiet” Books June 26, 2010

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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The editor who recently asked me to revise a picture book ultimately rejected it. She said my book was too “quiet.”

Just a few months ago, I read an explanation of what editors mean when they say a book is “quiet.” I tried to find that explanation on the Internet again and couldn’t. I did find an interview with literary agent Betsy Amster at the Women On Writing site, and she said that in quiet novels “the texture of the writing overshadows the plot.”

I wrote a picture book, not highbrow literature, so I doubt the texture of my writing overshadowed the plot. I think instead the editor meant my book lacked the kind of action, plotting, or conflict needed to stand out on a crowded shelf. The picture book market is stagnant right now, and to be saleable, picture books need to catch and hold the attention of young readers and listeners. They need to be loud. Picture book authors need to use their outside voices.

At least that’s my take. Anybody else have any insights on this?

Success as a Working Writer June 6, 2010

Posted by Ronica Stromberg in Uncategorized.
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Now working full-time in the business world, I can better appreciate writers who write and sell books while holding down full-time jobs. I used to deem writing while staying home with children difficult, but this is even more so.

A group of us writers chatted about this online. One woman had several novels traditionally published while working full-time, homeschooling her children, and volunteering at her church. Talk about multitasking! Another writer asked how she managed to do it all. Her reply? “I only sleep four hours a night.” Guess I can add that to my arsenal of writerly advice:  Just give up sleeping!

I’ve found it possible, though, to achieve a measure of writing success while working full-time and sleeping almost eight hours a night. A major publisher recently requested a rewrite on a picture book I sent them, an agent requested a revision on a different picture book, and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine purchased a story from me for the Christmas issue. Judging from this, I should have reentered the workforce sooner. 🙂