So You Want to Be an Author

A friend on Facebook has been posting recently with continued references to “Nanowrimo.”  The first day, he commented that he had met his word goal.  He is an author and graduated from Washington University of St. Louis after studying English literature, so it didn’t take much deduction to figure this nano word referred to some sort of writing. National Novel Writing Month, is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. Participants attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript between November 1 and November 30.  Writing a novel, impressive, writing a novel in a month, unbelievable!

As a reader, we are the biggest critics of writers.  How often do we read something, and say, “Oh, that was junk.”  I am guilty, but to write a novel myself, nope.  It makes my mind tired.  Think about it, you need an idea.  Yep, already stuck.  If you get beyond the idea then you have to have an outline, you might have to do research, and the list goes on and on, too much work for this girl.  I guess I will keep my critiques to myself, and let the writers do their thing.

Working in a library gives me some insight that might benefit any of you that want to become writers.  I mentioned before that big books are not all they are cracked up to be.  So there you go, I already made writing your novel less daunting, not so many pages.

As I watch circulation and I periodically weed the collection, I notice some interesting trends.  Our “easy” collection, the children’s area, is made up mainly of books that do not require dust jackets.  Their cover art is printed directly on the book.  Occasionally the cover will have a lot of white in the artwork, so we put on a jacket to help keep the book clean.  We are trying to save the book, but for some reason, books with jackets do not get checked out at the same rate of the other books in the easy section.  As children transition from the easy area to Juvenile and Young Adult, this trend changes.  Books without covers, unless they are a Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys’ book, get overlooked.

Our books are housed by the last name of the author.  For some reason in the Easy section there are an abundance of authors with last names starting with B and S.  That is not a joke.  So, if I were writing a kids book, my married name would be better than my maiden, the E section is small; the B is large.  If the area is large, my little book could get lost.

Keep in mind I am referencing fiction for the most part, so if you want to write non-fiction, you might need to ignore everything I am saying, except the big book part, that is even more true for non-fiction.   If you want to write non-fiction big books, write text books, students love large textbooks. (Yes, Sheldon, that is sarcasm.)

Okay, to adult books.  Adults will read books with or without jackets, so do what you want with the cover, kind of.  Interestingly enough, if the B section is large or small, has no impact on check out.  My recommendation for adult novel writers is to write under a pen name that will put you close the bestselling authors, maybe “Jamela Pattering” or Claudia Cusston.”

To recap: no big books, no white cover if you write children’s books, if you write Juvenile or YA do not print the cover art on the book, pen names might be a good choice, and adult books can have any cover, kind of.

There you go, if you want to write a book, have at it.  Seriously, this Nanowrimo, thing could be a good start, it is in November, so make plans for next year.  My comments are in all in jest, if you really love reading, covers and location shouldn’t determine what you read, you are smarter than that.  Be adventurous, I am reading 1984, the cover is eh, and I never venture into the O section of the library, but guess what, I am loving it.