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The Latest News from Blydyn Square Books
This month, we asked Blydyn Square author James Brian Kerr, whose book The Long Walk Home is scheduled to publish this April, to share a little bit about writing and his insights on publishing. Take it away, Jim:
An aspiring young novelist recently asked me if I had any advice to give her about publishing in light of the forthcoming publication of my book, The Long Walk Home, from Blydyn Square Books.
My first thought was—hey, if you want advice on how to get a book published, you’re talking to the wrong guy. It took me until the age of sixty-two to see my first book in print, and that’s not from lack of trying. I have four other fully written books on my hard drive that never made it to print, and that doesn’t count all the others that I started and never finished.
But then, it struck me that actually, I do have at least one insight on publishing to offer, but it’s more about my failures than my successes. That insight is this:
The moment you have something worthwhile to say to the world, and the skills to bring that story to life, you will get published. Until then, you won’t, because neither you nor your stuff is ready to go out into the world.
Hard words to hear, perhaps, but I wish someone had told them to me when I was starting out. If so, I would have saved myself a lot of flagellation along the way. Because the reality is, those four other books on my hard drive never deserved to be published because they offered nothing of value to readers.
See, that’s the thing about writing. We think it’s about us as writers. We think everyone should notice us and say wonderful things about our talent, our unique voice, blah blah blah.
But that’s not what it’s about at all. It’s about the story. It’s about the reader. It’s about giving them something to read that will help or change them in some way.
I had to go through a lot of sh** in life, and get to the point where I could transmute all of that life experience into a compelling story for readers, before I was ready to publish. The formula is something like this: Life experience + craftmanship + compelling story = publication.
Life experience: Well, you’re going to get that one way or the other.
Craftsmanship comes from practicing your craft on a daily basis.
Story comes from knowing how to tell a story in a way that captures a reader’s imagination. That means understanding the basics of a story arc, plot points, characterization, etc.
Combine those three and you’re on your way. In the meantime, practice and be patient. After forty years of writing, I still am.
Thanks, Jim! You can learn more about The Long Walk Home here (http://blydynsquarebooks.org/our-titles/the-long-walk-home/), and you can follow author James Brian Kerr at his website, Peaceable Man.
Blydyn Square Book Club
This month, we’re reading Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart. Join us on March 3 at 5:45 p.m. (ET) for a great conversation! Here’s the Zoom link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86910819689
Blydyn Square Happy Hour
Don’t forget to join us on April 7 at 5:00 p.m. (ET), for our monthly Happy Hour. We’ll chat about books, writing, working with a small press, and whatever else comes up. Join us on Zoom: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/89101793599
Quote of the Month
“What a blessing it is to love books as I love them;— to be able to converse with the dead, and to live amidst the unreal!”
—Thomas Babington Macaulay
Brain Teaser of the Month
Congratulations to Alex Phuong, who won an Amazon gift card, The question was:
Since we’re in January now, from what Roman god does the month of January take its name?
Janus (the god of beginnings, gates, time, and doorways, among other things)
Now answer this:
Since we’re in February, what is the traditional birthstone for this month?
Send us your answer (email@example.com) and you’ll be entered in our prize drawing.
That’s it for this month. See you next time!
Editor in Chief
Blydyn Square Books