Sunday, April 22, 2012

Winding road

Got a chance to see Oshkosh native Jess Riley last week during the Fox Cities Book Festival when she visited the Menasha Public Library on Tuesday night, answering questions from a curious and engaged crowd. I've read the opening of her funny and engaging book Driving Sideways to my fiction class as an example of how to draw readers in immediately (we listen to different examples of first pages and then fill up the whiteboard with what we know, what we don't know and why we feel interested to read more). She discussed the process of getting her novel published and what's going on in the publishing industry now -- some positive and some not so much, depending. Lots of changes. Everything tougher. Do-it-yourself is getting easier. E-book publishing is great. Her second book may in fact be published in this method alone ("So, it won't be a real book, then?" commented one joker.) YA is still getting published. So that's something. Good writing will still capture attention, but a first book is not a guarantee of a second book. (Poets & Writers recently had a piece by Kim Wright on post-publication blues -- that signing with an agent is often the highlight of a writer's journey and everything after can be a series of compromises and disappointments, particularly in this tenuous publishing climate. Whee! Things to look forward to.) But both Wright and Riley offered validation that continuing to write is key. That's what this is all about, why we're here in the first place.


Colleen Sutherland, storyteller said...

Key is never, never, never giving up!

Jess Riley said...

Hey, I just came by to say hello, and what a wonderful surprise to see the recap! Thank you again for coming--I had the best time. :)

Purple Houses said...

Hi Jess -- thanks for visiting!