Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wisdom on Wednesdays: Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are...

Okay, lets be honest: standing around reading spines in the picture book section with nary a child in sight, reading pink paperbacks with titles like "My Boyfriend, My Cupcake, and Me," and talking in public about the most exciting plot points in your nephew's 4th grade reading assignment are, when you think about it, a little embarrassing.  Or even a lot embarrassing.  But we all do it.  Or at least, we should be.

In public.

I know.

When someone asks you what you do, it's tempting to tell them about your "day job" if you have one, or to tell them that you're a SAHM if you don't.  When you get those weird looks on the subway from grown-ups who catch you reading that book with the bright pink cover, it's tempting to slide it into a brown paper bag.


Just tell them you write for kids.  They might want to talk to you about what their kids are reading; they might want to talk to you about what they wish they could find for their kids to read; they might have a cousin or brother or sister who writes, who will be a valuable connection for you to have; they might want to write a book themselves.

So, come out, all you closeted writers of Kidlit.  The world is a much friendlier place than you think it is.

ALSO: Winners of DUST CITY, WICKED LOVELY, and RAISED BY WOLVES to be announced tomorrow.  I have company over; I'm NaNo-ing; I'm taking a writing class; I'm kinda busy.


  1. I seriously am not embarrassed when I'm publicly reading picture books, mgs or ya.
    Though as my job I do say I'm a stay at home mom and part time writer. But I feel guilty about saying I'm a writer, because I've been paid for magazine publications, but it doesn't add up to that much!!!

  2. There have been a few times I went to grab a book to read in a doctor's waiting room and picked the less-obvious kid's book. I intend to say what I am loud and proud from here on thanks to your post. :)

  3. Look at it this way, it's a good conversation starter.

  4. I always tell people I'm a writer when they ask ... even though, my day job is an English teacher. But then the follow up questions always center around if they can find my book in bookstores.

  5. I still have not been able to say "I'm a writer" when someone asks me what I do. I get nervous and jittery. Then hang my head and say "receptionist..." I need to overcome that though. I am a writer dang it!
    Not embarrassed to read the YA though. Love them. It takes great skill to write YA and avoid sex, bad language, etc in this world today I think. Great post!!

  6. cute post. i like "self employed" it had a ring to it. I'm also the library's summer reading program coordinator. which means I put on puppet shows. not bad. now get back to NaNo What's your user nme?

  7. Kelly, own it! I've only sold one poem to a magazine, but I still tell people I write for kids, because I do.

    Nancy, thanks!

    Tricia, good for you!

    Patti: yup. Way better than talking about the weather.

    Quinn, me too. But I did sell a poem to a magazine, so I talk about that. I think it's important to consider the other avenues besides publishing a book - which is a great thing, but not the only way to get your name and your work out there.

    Colene, good for you for reading what you love and being proud about it. It's just one more step to say, "I write for kids."

    And I'm using my own name on NaNo - Ishta. The benefits of having an unusual name abound! I'll post on that tomorrow.

  8. It never really bothered me. When people ask, I tell them I write kidlit and I love it. :D

  9. Good for you, Marieke! Way to own it.

  10. Ishta - What was the most exciting plot points in your sons 4th grade reading assignment? I need to know the name of the book? LOL It does feel a little weird sometimes, but -meh, it's what we do. It's WHO WE ARE. And, we love it, right? YES!!! =D

  11. RaShelle - YES! We do love it. That's the only reason for doing it!

  12. This is awesome. I'm not really embarrassed about owning up to what I read, but it's definitely still hard to say "I'm a writer." I think part of that has to do with the follow-up question of whether or not your published. :P

  13. I get TOTALLY embarassed when I shop around in the kidlit sections of the bookstore--it's an image thing that I have to get rid of, I know. Still, it doesn't stop me from shopping in the kidlit sections! When people ask me about my book, I do clarify that it is YA before giving them the pitch because, yet again, I am embarassed. Going to try NOT to be from now on, though, because your post inspired me!

  14. Krispy, I hear ya. That's when I say that I have some manuscripts on submission - it's honest, and it sounds good!

    foldingfields, good for you for shopping in the kidlit sections: way to feel the fear and do it anyway.