Buttons! Buttons! Everywhere!

Buttons! Buttons! Everywhere!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Even Generals Don't Know Everything

I'm in San Jose, California with a retired Brigadier General. The General is a natural leader and recently has been encouraged to write her memoir. She had about 3/4 of the book written and had a publisher very interested in getting the book into print. But they wanted the book NOW! They also wanted to have control over the entire process and that can be difficult for someone who has been in charge for so long.

Without clear understanding of what the process entailed and no real explanation to the General, she found herself confused and a bit put out by the fact that both the agent and publisher wanted to "take over" her life.

I had the opportunity to share insights I have learned through my Master's program with her, such as an inside look at how and why agents and publishers want to "assist" us with our books. I explained that WE have the book idea, THEY have the expertise to know what the reader wants and how to get it in the hands of the reader. But, you might say, IT'S OUR STORY! I can't argue that, but if you are so tied to you work, your memoir and won't accept an expert's view in how to make your work marketable, then WHY are you writing a book? You are probably not that good!

So my advice to anyone who wants their baby published. Kill the baby. Let experts guide you. You don't have to lose the integrity of your book, you just need to be open to changes that make your baby sellable.

The General is a humble and very kind woman. She felt that the publisher wanted to "take control" of her life. The fault of her trepidation is not understanding what the "buying of rights" by a publisher means. She thought they'd have total control over her, thus she felt compelled to say no. Now she is more informed and ready to push ahead in the publishing world.

Writing a book is just one of the many cogs of the wheel when it comes to gettting a book published. It's a process and a tough one at that. In the end, it is rewarding to share with others the knowledge I've learned from my Master's Program. After all, isn't passing it on something we can all do?

What's your take?


  1. You are on target, Ginger. Trust the experts with what they know well as much as you can.

  2. Hey, if you had Sara Pritchard in that photo, it could be Ginger and the Sarah/Sara sandwich.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts!