05 April 2007

Rachel Plummer

Free career advice today (and worth every penny) for you younger readers who are still puzzling over the "color of your parachute" and all that.

Do you want to write for a living? Have you heard how daunting a market it is? how high the entry barriers? You heard right, alas.

But one route to making a solid living with keyboard, mouse, and word processing software (or pen and paper, if you're a determined luddite) is that described last year by Rachel Plummer.

Her own career turns on the distinction, especially in the juvenile market, between a publisher and a "book packager." If you go into a bookstore and look at the juvie or the "young adult" shelves you'll see series, like Sweet Valley Twins. The book packager will hire the writer, and provide him/her with a two-to-three page outline about what has to happen in the story.

There are plenty of gears to the machine. The writer gets an agent, the agent contacts the packager, and of course that relationship between the packager and the actual publisher is ... well ... none of your business.

It sounds like you have to be able to put your hack hat on though. "I learned how to finish a book in the time allotted me by dividing the book’s contract-established word count by the number of days to deadline and not stopping until I finished the required word count each day," Plummer says.

But, hey, why should I give you bits and pieces? Here's the whole.


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Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.