http://bernadettekelly.com.au/2017/01/23/the-wonderful-wo…ns-book-creators/Yesterday I attended an event to celebrate the work of another children’s author, one who happens to be a cherished friend. It was wonderful to be there and wonderful to see so many others attending. This particular author works tirelessly to create and promote her beautiful books. Over the past few years, she is enjoying success after success and it’s so wonderful to see her determination and effort translating to professional reward.
But as fabulous as it was, that’s not why I’m writing this piece. In our tight-knit little writing community, it seems there is always an event going on somewhere. Of course, regretfully, timing and distance doesn’t allow any of us to attend every single event we’d like to be at.
For the times I do manage to get out there and mix it with my colleagues, I’m always struck by the camaraderie, support and generosity of the children’s book industry. And then there are the readers! Those wonderful people who support and sustain us, and hungrily devour the books that keep the industry wheels turning. It’s been said before, in a myriad of ways, I know. Yesterday, as I greeted and was greeted by smiles and affection, as I chatted and observed and mingled, my heart and soul wore a secret smile.
Working as a creator of books, be it for children or adults, is not generally an easy way to make a living. Most don’t in fact, make a proper living, but work in other areas or are supported by generous and sometimes long suffering partners. So many of us struggle with the will to produce versus the way to a contract versus the need to pay the bills and feed ourselves. Even the big selling author’s and illustrator’s incomes are supplemented by periphery activities such as speaking engagements and workshops.
But such is the nature of the job, the immense satisfaction that comes from a name on a cover or a reader’s praise, or even the sublime and cerebral act of writing itself, that there will always be people lining up to join us, to test their words and to dream of that best selling break that allows them to work full time on this thing they love.
Of course, if you look for it, you’ll find the usual egos and hidden agendas that can be found in any industry. That’s not a criticism. Every one of us has an ego and an agenda. For an individual, part of traversing any social or professional landscape is to learn to negotiate personalities, to find the ones who share a connection and try not to upset those who do not.
Events like the one I attended yesterday reiterate to me that the last thing I want to do is look for agendas. Who cares! Writing has given me such joy and satisfaction over the years, and it’s been within the nurturing space of the children’s book industry that I’ve made some of my dearest friends.
So here I sit, typing out this little piece of writing. It’s not to announce any particular thing, it’s just to express my gratitude at being a part of it all, and to raise a fictional glass in a figurative toast to all the book lovers out there. Whether you are author, illustrator, editor, publisher, designer, publicist, proof reader, educator, child reader, teen reader, adult reader, or any one with any connection to books, you are all part of something truly wonderful.
Lucky me at a bookish event with a group of fellow bookish people. Rear from left: Caz Goodwin, Marjorie Gardner, Chris Bell, Myself, Anne Ryan, Front row from left: Corinne Fenton, Claire Saxby, Jo Burnell.