Everyone’s An Expert – Karen Ball

Posted by Karen Ball

Several years ago, when I first attempted to write a Young Adult novel, I distinctly remember sitting propped up in bed with my laptop. (Where I’m sat right now, writing this.) I Googled ‘How to write a YA novel’ and a link came up to an author blog. That author was writing exhaustively and at what looked like an exhausting rate, all about the process of being a children’s and YA author. Her advice was crucial, but this was about the only resource I could find online.

How things have changed. Now, a hopeful author, poking their nose out of the front door, will find a queue of professionals lined up on their front path, offering to help for money. From publishers to agents, freelance editors and consultancy services, everyone suddenly wants to offer their advice.

The one question a savvy author might ask is, ‘Why?’ Why now, all of a sudden? It’s a good question to ask.

The world of publishing has changed, but you probably don’t need me to tell you that. Once upon a time, authors clamoured for publication, publishers chose books they felt passionate about, sent them out into the world, and readers gratefully lapped them up. All very orbital. Authors and readers circled the publisher like stars around a planet. Everyone knew and understood where they were in the galaxy.

Then, other things started happening. Self-publishing became a genuine path to success for some – some! – authors. Fan fiction became a compelling commercial prospect. Someone invented an iPad and another person invented a Kindle. Ebook sales took off and no one really knew how earnings should be split from this new avenue of sales. Everyone trembled in the face of what had happened to the music industry, with illegal downloads decimating the legitimate market. Large online book retailers started muscling in on the publishing action. Intellectual Property became hot news. (If you don’t know what IP is, it’s what you own in the novel you’ve written – the idea. An idea that can be sold around the world.) In short, the world changed rapidly around publishers. They were no longer at the beating heart of the industry and it was time for them to change, too.

The publishing industry realised that it can no longer stand on a pedestal, handing out books that a grateful readership might want to read. It’s now much more 360 degree than that. There should be a collaboration with both authors and readers. This means no longer having websites that are little more than selling tools. It means actively engaging with writing talent, because otherwise that writing talent might go somewhere else or just publish themselves. And it means exploring new avenues of publishing. It also means that industry professionals are choosing to share with writers like you the benefit of their wisdom and experience. Happy days!

So, if you’re going to allow someone to help you with your children’s or YA novel, why choose Book Bound? We’ve spent the best part of two years preparing for this retreat. We’ve chosen a stunning and inspiring location. We have put together a series of workshops that will give you a comprehensive strategy, moving forwards. We’ve drawn together a panel of agents who every author should want to meet.

Most of all, from our own writing endeavours we know what it’s like to dream of being Book Bound. Sometimes feeling lost and confused, not always knowing what the right course of action is. We understand that. Yet, we’ve all had experience as commissioning editors, which means we also understand the industry.

If you’re looking for support from people who’ve sweated over their own first drafts, you can come to us. If you’re looking for industry knowledge and experience, you can also come to us.

We can’t wait to meet you!

Karen

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