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BenPanced
04-01-2012, 09:33 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/us/young-writers-find-a-devoted-publisher-thanks-mom-and-dad.html?ref=arts

It's pretty much about "pay to play"; Author Solutions and iUniverse are two of the better known companies mentioned.

blacbird
04-01-2012, 10:09 AM
Of course not, you cynical bastard. As we all know, from any number of posts and threads right here at AW, the only thing that matters is the quality of the manuscript.

caw

Kewii
04-01-2012, 12:51 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/us/young-writers-find-a-devoted-publisher-thanks-mom-and-dad.html?ref=arts

It's pretty much about "pay to play"; Author Solutions and iUniverse are two of the better known companies mentioned.

I've always hated the pay to play things that target kids the most. I was in a teaching conference about a month ago and our instructor was talking about encouraging kids to to write through self-publishing.

I'm not against self-publishing. And I do believe it could be a self-motivator. But he mentioned KidsPub, which was mentioned in that article.

We looked at the website while we were in the class and there were a few red flags. I finally spotted the $250 bill for it. I actually ended up educating the instructor a bit about self-publishing. He promised to never suggest KidsPub again.

I think as a parent, I wouldn't be against letting my kid self-publish early work. But I also wouldn't be going around trying to make a lot of sales for it. It would very much be "look, here's your book! I got you a copy for grandma and papa too."

I think it could be nice for the kid to look back on someday--whether they end up wanting to be a writer or not.

shaldna
04-01-2012, 01:40 PM
I absolutely loved the fact that Google ads placed an add for iUniverse at the bottom of that page.

HoneyBadger
04-01-2012, 04:10 PM
Remember Rebecca Black's song and video Friday? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friday_(Rebecca_Black_song)) (Here's how much Rebecca made from the song and video, according to her mom: $0.)

It's more of the same. Parents doing things to "support" and "help" their kids achieve their dreams that likely will have no positive repercussions for the child in the short term or later in life.


Jesus christ I love Tom Robbins so much:

“What’s next?” asked the novelist Tom Robbins. “Kiddie architects, juvenile dentists, 11-year-old rocket scientists? Any parent who thinks that the crafting of engrossing, meaningful, publishable fiction requires less talent and experience than designing a house, extracting a wisdom tooth, or supervising a lunar probe is, frankly, delusional.”

“There are no prodigies in literature,” Mr. Robbins said. “Literature requires experience, in a way that mathematics and music do not.”

Phaeal
04-01-2012, 04:43 PM
If I were to self-publish my kid, I'd ACT like a publisher.

First, he'd have to polish that MS until it shone (lots of rewrites and resubs, I imagine.)

Second, he'd have to submit to me a detailed marketing plan. If I accepted it, he'd have to sign a contract obliging him to follow through with the marketing plan. A list of pre-sales would determine the initial print run.

Third, if he didn't want to do the above (that is, act like a pro), I'd just have a few copies printed off as gifts for family and friends. As many as the kid was willing to pay for himself. Hey, kid, here's the difference between vanity and pro. Vanity pays, pro gets paid.

Self-esteem comes from real achievement, not from parental subsidies. Praise the kid for the hard work of even producing a book-length script (or story or whatever.) Maybe even print one copy for him. But pretend that just any old MS deserves commercial or quasi-commercial publication? Nope.

Now, if the kid really had written a book I thought worthy of commercial publication, I'd tell him to get an agent.

Oh, and when Six catches up with Avatar Thief, well, it's not going to be pretty....

Katrina S. Forest
04-01-2012, 05:36 PM
This frustrates me on so many levels:

1. The amount the parents are paying. I'm not sure if they think that's the normal cost to self-publish or if they just think that more money automatically means better quality, but some of the prices in that article are beyond insane.

2. The fact that, as far as I can tell, none of the parents tried encouraging their teens to submit to competitive markets first, not even markets exclusively for young writers. Teens are old enough to understand that not everyone gets a trophy just for showing up to the game.

3. The idea that just putting the book "out there" constitutes an accomplishment or the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. It's the equivalent of framing a drawing you're really proud of and saying, "It's always been my dream to hang a picture on the wall." The achievement was finishing their first book-length manuscript, hopefully the first of many, progressively better manuscripts. Printing a few copies might be a way to celebrate that accomplishment, but it's not an accomplishment in itself.

Libbie
04-01-2012, 07:21 PM
All I can think of is the Maradonia books. *shudder*

brainstorm77
04-01-2012, 07:44 PM
When reality hits them when they're older, it's going to be hard.

Phaeal
04-01-2012, 09:01 PM
When reality hits them when they're older, it's going to be hard.

Nah. Mommy and Daddy have installed reality-blockers on all entrances to their in-law, er, eternal child apartment.

Mr. Anonymous
04-02-2012, 01:29 AM
eh, I think you guys are overreacting a bit.

Yeah, it's a little sad that the parents are probably not aware of how self-publishing their kid's books isn't really going to help much in the long term, as far as pursuing a professional writing career.

That said, I think for a kid to write a book is a pretty extraordinary accomplishment, whether it gets published or not. And if parents want to spend their money helping make their kid's dream a reality, who are you to tell them they shouldn't?

Again, I think it would be better if the kids + their parents were more informed about the process than I assume they are. But even if they did sub to agents + traditional publishers, the chances of getting picked up at that age are probably incredibly, incredibly low. Virtually zero, I'd say.

So why not give an alternate route a shot, if the kids and their parents decide that's what they want to do?

I'm really not seeing much harm here.

MysteryRiter
04-02-2012, 01:39 AM
^True.

There's no reason to overreact. It's sad to see the parents spending all of that money and also sad that the kids are going to flaunt being published for the next few years, then realize that they actually aren't and feel embarassed.

However, what does vanity-publishing a book like this teach you? Nothing. You're never too young to learn. If the kids are thinking that their writing is "publishable" at that stage, how are they going to improve? For me, I'm glad that I learned that my writing sucked at such a young age. I feel like I've come a long way from there and my writing is actually somewhat decent. Those kids aren't going to learn, and the parents will keep them under the misconception that they're talented writers for a long time, I assume.

It's harmless, but doesn't progress anyone.

Random aside: Why did the article writer keep saying that publishing through Xilbris was self-publishing? Is self-publishing an umbrella category now?

Kelly Creighton
04-02-2012, 01:42 AM
But even if they did sub to agents + traditional publishers, the chances of getting picked up at that age are probably incredibly, incredibly low. Virtually zero, I'd say.


Yes, and it's the same now no matter what your age. Hence, the self-publishing revolution. Realistically speaking, there is no other viable alternative.

maybegenius
04-02-2012, 01:58 AM
The thing I'm worrying about is parents bolstering their kid up and telling them what a special snowflake they are, thus potentially setting up a future adult with a lot of entitlement issues. WHAT DO YOU MEAN THIS ISN'T PUBLISHABLE MATERIAL? DON'T YOU KNOW I WAS PUBLISHED AT 12? YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

But then, that's nothing new. Parents have been doing that to their kids for a looooooong time. Everybody thinks their kid is a genius. I don't see this as much different than any parent who shells out money for acting lessons or buys their kid an expensive guitar because he wants to be a rock star. And hey, if it really is boosting the kids' self-confidence, I'm okay with that. Provided "self-confidence" doesn't evolve into "I deserve everything right now." But those sort of people are always going to exist, probably.

James D. Macdonald
04-02-2012, 02:08 AM
Of course not, you cynical bastard. As we all know, from any number of posts and threads right here at AW, the only thing that matters is the quality of the manuscript.

caw


Yes, if it is brilliant.

And yes, if it is dreadful.

But there are more publishing slots than brilliant manuscripts, and the dreadful manuscripts won't get 'em. So who will?

Hint: Not the ones that go to vanity presses.

KimJo
04-02-2012, 02:17 AM
Random aside: Why did the article writer keep saying that publishing through Xilbris was self-publishing? Is self-publishing an umbrella category now?

Some people don't comprehend the difference between self-publishing and vanity publishing; they call any pay-to-publish thing "self-publishing." I've lost count of how many times I've had to explain the difference to people who've said things like, "Oh, I'm going to be self-published through iUniverse" or "If you ever self-published, what company would you use?"

James D. Macdonald
04-02-2012, 02:24 AM
The vanity publishers have gone out of their way to re-brand themselves as self-publishers, without changing their business model in the slightest.

thothguard51
04-02-2012, 02:56 AM
Parents pay a lot of $$$ for their kids to do dance, sports, music, art and even summer camps. Not all these kids go on to a career as a professional dancer, athlete, musician, or artist, but the kids do learn things they would not have otherwise.

I see nothing wrong with parents doing these things, so long as it is not the parent pushing the child and also explaining things to a child so they understand hard work is what makes one successful.

As to a parent publishing a child's novel, again, I see nothing wrong with this anymore than I do with sending my kid to soccer camp. Hell, I even do it for my grand daughter if she ask. But, I will also be there to explain to her all the issues about self publishing and writing in general.

HoneyBadger
04-02-2012, 03:15 AM
It's like the difference between piano lessons and hiring a studio to record your kid's piano playing then paying for the CD to be made and then making a music video.


One of those things will be good for your kid long-term. Not so much the other one, unless your kids are Will Smith's kids, but I'm not sure they're going to turn out to be the most stable, level-headed folks, either.

HoneyBadger
04-02-2012, 03:16 AM
OH! ALSO! THIS IS INCREDIBLY GERMANE! (http://www.hulu.com/watch/319318/saturday-night-live-you-can-do-anything)

Mr. Anonymous
04-02-2012, 03:20 AM
^ I agree with Thothguard. Granted, mysterywriter has a point, in that rejection forces writers to get better. But I think we're all assuming that these kids are going to become professional writers (and therefore, better to get rejected early and get better early than buy into a false conception of publication and learn the hard way later...) But maybe they're not. Is spending 500-1000 dollars self-publishing a novel really that different from spending 500-1000 dollars on music lessons? Tae-kwon-do lessons? Etc? I'm not sure it is.

And there's more to consider here than just the writing aspect. There's also the business management side. Making the kid keep a budget, keep track of profits/losses, learn to promote/advertise, schedule events, I feel like that could be worth the investment in and of itself.

HoneyBadger
04-02-2012, 03:23 AM
One of them requires effort and continued practice to achieve a standard level of proficiency.

One of them is "fame" in a box and requires nothing more than someone willing to sign a check.

BenPanced
04-02-2012, 03:27 AM
But with the music and acting lessons, the child is going to learn about the audition process. They're going to be taught that if they decide to pursue it later in life, they're going to have to continue to learn and improve, and that they're not going to get every role they try out for (if they don't learn this, the teacher is simply delusional and setting their students up for failure). I'm hoping the children in the article learn about the publishing process somewhere down the road and that not everything is going to be an automatic win for them.

fadeaccompli
04-02-2012, 03:29 AM
^ I agree with Thothguard. Granted, mysterywriter has a point, in that rejection forces writers to get better. But I think we're all assuming that these kids are going to become professional writers (and therefore, better to get rejected early and get better early than buy into a false conception of publication and learn the hard way later...) But maybe they're not. Is spending 500-1000 dollars self-publishing a novel really that different from spending 500-1000 dollars on music lessons? Tae-kwon-do lessons? Etc? I'm not sure it is.

I'd say it's the difference between paying for piano lessons and paying a bunch of people to show up at your piano recital and applaud.

I see nothing wrong at all with paying for some sort of Helping Kids Learn To Write Lessons, as with any other lessons, whether or not the kids are going on to a career of it. Paying to publish their stuff--and not in the "print out a few copies for family" sense, but the whole vanity press deal--seems...well, "wrong" is too strong a word, but at least "ill-advised" and "not particularly useful".

My parents paid for me to take watercolor classes. I produced quite a few clumsy little watercolor paintings, and they helped me get them matted and give them to family members as gifts. That seems pretty reasonable. But if they'd tried to make hundreds of prints of my clumsy little paintings and sell them to other people, that would've been...again, not necessarily wrong, but certainly an odd use of the funds.

Mr. Anonymous
04-02-2012, 03:36 AM
Honeybadger,


One of them requires effort and continued practice to achieve a standard level of proficiency.

Both writing and music lessons require effort and continued practice to achieve a standard level of proficiency. Does that mean that everyone who doesn't achieve that standard level of proficiency has wasted their time/money? I'm not sure about that. And even if you feel that way, it's not your time or your money that was wasted, right? So why do you care?


One of them is "fame" in a box and requires nothing more than someone willing to sign a check.

It also requires someone who's willing to write a novel. I think that's a pretty big deal. Especially for a kid.

And incidentally, lots of future writers, I'm sure, get their start through self-publishing type ventures. I believe both George R. R. Martin and Stephen King printed up stories and sold them to classmates, for instance.

Kids will have plenty of rejection in their lives, whether or not they try to become professional writers. I don't see anything wrong with giving them a little push forward to get them started.

HoneyBadger
04-02-2012, 04:02 AM
lol watch that video I linked to.

THAT'S the harm.

BenPanced
04-02-2012, 04:23 AM
Kids will have plenty of rejection in their life, whether or not they try to become professional writers. I don't see anything wrong with giving them a little push forward to get them started.
True, but this is article is about instant gratification. You wrote a book? Mommy and Daddy will pay for it to be published YAY! You wrote another book? Mommy and Daddy will also pay for it to be published YAY! How is a child supposed to learn about rejection and perseverance, two important things you need to know if you're going to even try to get published, if Mommy and Daddy are signing the checks to make the dream come true? If nobody is explaining to the child how commercial publishing works in relation to self-publishing and how Mommy and Daddy aren't always going to pay for it, he/she is in for a rude awakening when they ask Random House or Penguin how much it's going to cost. (Hell, I was trying to learn about the submission process when I was as young as 12 or 13 years old.)

James D. Macdonald
04-02-2012, 05:19 AM
Yes, Stephen King typed up stories and sold them to his classmates.

Heck, I wrote my first novel at twelve.

Lots and lots of writers self-publish at different times and for different reasons, and always have. I self-published (a songbook) years before I ever pro published. Being fascinated with all aspects of writing and publishing will do that for you.

But as for the current thing -- suppose S. E. Hinton had done it. The Outsiders might have sold as many as a couple of hundred copies and her parents would have been thrilled.

Cyia
04-02-2012, 05:31 AM
Heh.

Everyone in my second, seventh, and eighth grade classes "wrote a book." It was an assignment.

Second grade was a picture book. Seventh had us writing a sci-fi story of the future for our computer lit class and a poetry anthology for English. Eighth was a ghost story for business (don't ask me why; I've blocked it from my memory).

You'll have to take my word for it that no one was seeking publication from that mess.

DancingMaenid
04-02-2012, 05:39 AM
In my opinion, the main problem with this sort of thing is that it can not only give kids some unrealistic ideas, but it can also put them in a position where they're going to be judged as "professionals" when they really aren't ready for that.

Look at Rebecca Black. If she had posted a simple video of herself playing the guitar in her bedroom, I highly doubt it would have gotten so much attention. A lot of people post videos of themselves singing for fun, and nobody expects professional quality. But Black's video looked fairly professional, and I think that made people (understandably) judge it like they would a professional video. When you put that much effort into something and try to play with the big kids, people hold you to higher standards.

Likewise, I don't think self-publishing a story your kid wrote is wrong if it's just meant to be fun. When one of my cousins was five or six, her parents had a couple of her stories professionally bound and printed, I think mainly as a keepsake. I don't think they ever tried to sell them or anything. To me, something like that can be special. When I was a kid, my mom giving me a plastic report cover to bind one of my stories with was "special."

But I don't think trying to give your kids a writing career or put them in the limelight is fair.

djf881
04-02-2012, 06:22 AM
When kids play soccer or guitar badly, nobody writes a NY Times story about them.

JayMan
04-02-2012, 06:39 AM
A lot of good points have been brought up by others, so I'm not going to repeat them.

As for me, what bothers me the most is how borderline self-righteous and presumptuous these parents are being. Pay some money to a vanity press to print some copies for them and a couple family members? That's fine. But having their children's books run through the professional gamut and getting ISBN numbers and putting them up for sale for $10 or $11 on Amazon's website? Frankly, that's insulting to me and to readers everywhere.

Do they really expect me or anybody else to pay $12 for their kid's crappy work? How can they think this nonsense is okay?

I read some of the preview pages on Amazon and I think it's great these kids are into fiction writing so early in their lives, but what these parents are doing is the equivalent of taking that misshapen clay plate that little Susie made in art class and then trying to sell it for full price at a ceramics store, or encouraging little Johnnie to sell his Easy Bake Oven brownies for full price outside of a pastry shop.

It's insulting to me as a reader and occasional purchaser of stories, to think that I'd have any interest in their 12-year old's writing. While it may be great writing for a 12-year old, it's not something I (or anyone outside of friends/family) would ever pay money for.

James D. Macdonald
04-02-2012, 07:32 AM
Do they really expect me or anybody else to pay $12 for their kid's crappy work? How can they think this nonsense is okay?


There are plenty of crappy novels being self-published by forty-year-olds who worked on 'em for a decade. What worries me are the good novels that'll be lost in the endless mudflats.

iRock
04-03-2012, 01:17 AM
I agree with every single thing Maureen Johnson wrote here. (http://maureenjohnsonbooks.tumblr.com/post/20351564879/so-i-read-a-piece-in-the-new-york-times)

Kelly Creighton
04-03-2012, 06:38 AM
There are plenty of crappy novels being self-published by forty-year-olds who worked on 'em for a decade. What worries me are the good novels that'll be lost in the endless mudflats.

But isn't what constitutes "good" largely subjective? One man's meat is another's poison and all that...:-)

flapperphilosopher
04-03-2012, 06:52 AM
I wrote a novel at 11-12, and I wanted to get it published. [I also thought it was publishable.... oh dear]. SO I went to the library and read all the books about getting published, about how to write query letters and format manuscripts, got a copy of Writer's Market. My parents were super supportive-- meaning, they helped me with that query letter, bought me the Writer's Market, bought printer paper and ink, paid for shipping when I somehow got a full request (ha, right?). Unsurprisingly I didn't get into print... so I kept writing, kept learning, kept reading, kept reading writing books, worked on some more novels, and NOW, over 12 years later, I might have something that might have a chance. I think it's awesome my parents didn't laugh at my publishing ambitions-- but also, thank goodness they let ME do the work. I've known the gist of 'how to get published' for pretty much my whole writing career, which is valuable, and more importantly, I realized getting published is a very long journey and you can't just do it because you're a talented kid. Lessons like this seem to be in short supply for certain generations... (including mine!).

CrastersBabies
04-03-2012, 07:17 AM
I guess I'm on the "don't give a poo" bandwagon. I don't imagine it's mind-blowing writing. It's a child. I don't see the kid being permanently damaged for life here.

Is it something I'd do? Nawwww.

If this kid becomes a writer someday, he can always look back on his first "book" and laugh.

James D. Macdonald
04-03-2012, 07:35 AM
But isn't what constitutes "good" largely subjective? One man's meat is another's poison and all that...:-)

A day reading slush -- or random self-published novels -- will cure you of that notion.




If this kid becomes a writer someday, he can always look back on his first "book" and laugh.

More likely he'll look back on his first book and get a pseudonym for his other works.

soopykun
04-03-2012, 09:04 AM
The sad thing is, I can already think of at least two friends who would do this. Not just as a neat momento, but because they would honestly think it was good enough to be in bookstores/sold online. That, and because they really do think it's not that hard to write a book.

BenPanced
04-03-2012, 09:42 AM
Granted, self-pubbing is doable -- hell, you don't have to look any further than the AW forums -- but I really don't know if the kids and parents in this article even understand how much extra work goes into self-pub.

Libbie
04-03-2012, 10:05 AM
Seriously, you guys need to Google "Maradonia." A trilogy of very poorly written fantasy stuff, produced by a kid who was about 14 when she wrote the first one and her parents vanity-published it for her. Two more books followed. Then they decided to break the three huge books into six smaller books. They made book trailers, including hiring a bunch of actors to pretend like they were at a book signing. They took pictures of their daughter standing in a Barnes & Noble and Photoshopped the book onto the shelves. They've put her on local TV news programs and radio shows, billed her as "the world's youngest novelist." Obviously trying to cash in on the same kind of fame Christopher Paolini found.

The parents are doing everything they can to try to wring money out of their kid's "writing," except helping her learn how to write. The writing in these books is intensely dreadful, with no editing. It's a fright. And the parents just keep on flogging it like it's going to make money if they only continue to throw money at it.

I feel so, SO sorry for that girl. She has been set up by her family to be this great writer, and the poor critter can't string a sentence together to save her soul. She's got a great imagination and if only her parents would help her find a kids' writing group or some friends who can gently critique her, her interest in writing fantasy could be nurtured. Instead, they're throwing her into the deep end before she's learned how to swim. It's distressing.

I think the girl's name is Gloria Tesh.

Old Hack
04-03-2012, 11:10 AM
I have a distant relative whose five year old daughter had a poem published in this way.

The resulting anthology contained fewer than a hundred pages, and was priced at £18.99. My relative bought a dozen copies and sent them out to the family.

My relative went into a prizewinning independent bookshop round the corner from her daughter's school which is, coincidentally, owned by a friend of mine. She told the bookshop owner that she needed to stock this book on her shelves as there was a huge market for it. When my bookshop-owning friend declined, my relative told all the other parents whose children had been published in the same anthology and encouraged them to go into the shop and complain. My friend's bookshop was beseiged by angry parents: it was even reported in the local newspaper. My friend lost a lot of sales, as the angry parents stopped buying books there for a while. Not a single extra copy of the book was sold as a result of this whole ridiculous escapade.

And my relative's daughter, who is now ten, drives me up the bloody wall each time we meet. She insists on reading things out of books and criticising them. "That's not how I'd write it," she says of Michael Morpurgo. "He doesn't use punctuation properly and he should use more describing words," she says of David Almond. "Authors should get things right."

The best bit? Her published poem was no more than ten lines long and contained spelling errors and all the sweet things you'd expect from a young child. And on the basis of that, she's been led to believe she's an expert on writing and publishing. Her mother even suggested that her daughter could write an article about getting published for my blog. You can guess how well that went down with me.

Kewii
04-03-2012, 11:38 AM
Seriously, you guys need to Google "Maradonia."

I need my life back please. I googled. And then I found someone tearing it apart chapter by chapter. I couldn't even handle the few sections they quoted. I can't believe this is what her parents wanted to promote and force on her.

Bufty
04-03-2012, 01:38 PM
I knew there was a story behind your avatar. ;) Go, Kitty, go! :snoopy:


...
The best bit? Her published poem was no more than ten lines long and contained spelling errors and all the sweet things you'd expect from a young child. And on the basis of that, she's been led to believe she's an expert on writing and publishing. Her mother even suggested that her daughter could write an article about getting published for my blog. You can guess how well that went down with me.

Marian Perera
04-03-2012, 01:53 PM
I used to work in a school library. One day a parent donated a copy of a book their six-year-old daughter had written, and which had been professionally printed and bound. The story was about the girl's adventures as a mermaid princess and she had illustrated it herself. It was unedited, so the spelling, grammar and punctuation were what you'd expect.

The librarian thanked the parent, but told me not to catalog that with the regular picture books and not to display it on the shelf. She never read it to the kids or suggested anyone borrow it. I don't know if that disappointed the little girl who'd written it, but I was relieved my parents never did anything similar with my six-year-old efforts.

Phaeal
04-03-2012, 05:23 PM
I agree with every single thing Maureen Johnson wrote here. (http://maureenjohnsonbooks.tumblr.com/post/20351564879/so-i-read-a-piece-in-the-new-york-times)

Yup, a good response. I especially liked:



Many of the kids in this piece are saying, “You can do anything if you put your mind to it!” When in fact, the lesson is, “You can do anything if your parents pay for it!” Which isn’t much of a helpful lesson.

HoneyBadger
04-03-2012, 06:06 PM
Seriously, you guys need to Google "Maradonia."

On one hand, I feel guilty for reading the excerpts and wanting to stab my eyes out with a fork, because she's just a kid.

On the other, THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PARENTS SELF-PUBLISH THEIR KID'S AWFUL BOOK.

The lack of self-awareness and understanding that the things you do today will impact the rest of your life (*cough* facebook *cough* youtube*) is astounding.

(It's also a clear reminder of why The Rules exist.)

This is not okay:
Remmilos, one of the leaders of the Titans started screaming, “This is unbelievable! How is it possible that our leadership ignored such important facts for such a long time? Maybe…we need a change in the leadership of our ‘Empire’!

Kewii
04-03-2012, 06:38 PM
On one hand, I feel guilty for reading the excerpts and wanting to stab my eyes out with a fork, because she's just a kid.


I felt like that at first as well. And then I found her facebook page. Where she goes on and on about her books. And now, I believe, she's old enough to know better.

Apparently, they are making a movie. But you can audition and be in it!

It killed my sympathy.

JayMan
04-03-2012, 06:56 PM
I think the girl's name is Gloria Tesh.
Add me to the list of people who just Googled Miss Tesch's story and were horrified. I sort of get a perverse pleasure out of reading about things like this, but it's very sad for the girl and very irresponsible of her parents. She does however lose some sympathy from me because, if my math is correct, she's now almost 18 and ought to be more aware of how ridiculous her whole Maradonia non-fame is.

Also found it has its own TVTropes page :D:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/MaradoniaSaga?from=Main.MaradoniaSaga

Libbie
04-03-2012, 07:40 PM
I need my life back please. I googled. And then I found someone tearing it apart chapter by chapter. I couldn't even handle the few sections they quoted. I can't believe this is what her parents wanted to promote and force on her.

I know, right? It's not just like it's a bland, expected story. It is objectively awful writing in every conceivable way, and her parents are trying to turn THAT into a cash cow. :( You'd think if they wanted to waste all that money, they could hire a desperate person to ghost-write it or at least an editor.

Old Hack: Your story of the ten-year-old literary critic strikes fear into my heart.

When I was about five my mom took some of the kooky picture books I wrote and illustrated and had them printed up all nicely. (My dad was a professional painter, so we had access to some good print-makers for cheap.) She then told me if I wanted other people to read the books, I had to convince people to buy them myself. I sold a few copies to people at my church for a few bucks each. My mom mostly had copies made so we could keep them in the family. They are pretty awesome. One features a cat with six legs. I remember being really excited about making these because I got to use my parents' expensive art supplies to do the illustrations. My parents never had any crazy illusions that they'd make a profit off my childhood scribblings -- or even break even. They did it to encourage my creativity and to preserve some piece of my childhood -- and to teach me a little bit about working for myself. That's the way it should be.

Libbie
04-03-2012, 07:44 PM
Add me to the list of people who just Googled Miss Tesch's story and were horrified. I sort of get a perverse pleasure out of reading about things like this, but it's very sad for the girl and very irresponsible of her parents. She does however lose some sympathy from me because, if my math is correct, she's now almost 18 and ought to be more aware of how ridiculous her whole Maradonia non-fame is.

Also found it has its own TVTropes page :D:
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/MaradoniaSaga?from=Main.MaradoniaSaga

Yeah, at this point she needs to quietly bury as much of this as she can from off the face of the Interwebs. But I feel badly for her still, because her parents' over-encouragement and lack of reality checks are the reason why she can't see how poor her writing is/was. This is precisely what the video HoneyBadger posted warns against! YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!!! (Just not very well.)

HoneyBadger
04-03-2012, 07:46 PM
I JUGGLED!

Cyia
04-03-2012, 07:48 PM
Either GT believes her own hype, or she doesn't know how to stop its momentum. She still makes mention of movies and the theme park, etc. It's sad, because even if she ones her skills and becomes a wonderful writer, this thing will always be in her background.

If she's serious about writing, I think the best thing she could do would be to practice, of course, but also rewrite the books, back in their normal trilogy (those 800+ page books were something like 60,000 words stretched to a ridiculous type point) form and re-release them if she ever makes it as a writer. It would make a great cautionary tale with a good ending, and she might actually make some money off of them.

Libbie
04-03-2012, 07:51 PM
Good idea, Cyia.

This is what pen names were made for.

SomethingOrOther
04-03-2012, 07:55 PM
LOL (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEVX_L6Zsfg)



If she's serious about writing, I think the best thing she could do would be to practice, of course, but also rewrite the books, back in their normal trilogy (those 800+ page books were something like 60,000 words stretched to a ridiculous type point) form and re-release them if she ever makes it as a writer. It would make a great cautionary tale with a good ending, and she might actually make some money off of them.

Unfortunately her parents have no doubt spoiled her like meat left out in the open on a steaming summer day, so she probably has zero tolerance whatsoever for anything she has to work for. The best ending conceivable, for her, is becoming elite at financial planning by the time she reaches her mid-twenties and not squandering her allowance / inheritance / trust fund windfall.

CrastersBabies
04-03-2012, 07:57 PM
I don't know what planet some of these parents are from if they think their child will actually get them a "load of cash" in the writing business. :)

That said, I'd like to say that the kid can only go so far with mom/dad, that the writing has to be good or they'll fall to the wayside. But, this is the era of the Twilight series. How can I complain about some kid's crappy writing when Twilight makes most people want to vomit up their intestines?

Bubastes
04-03-2012, 07:59 PM
Is she another Robert Stanek? http://conjugalfelicity.com/a-trip-inside-the-mind-of-team-tesch/

Nope, no sympathy from me.

The Lonely One
04-03-2012, 08:33 PM
I could see using this as essentially "binding" a son/daughter's work for them to remember their accomplishment. Giving it to relatives and such? Fine. Selling it if it isn't publishable to begin with? That's slightly ridiculous.

MJNL
04-03-2012, 08:37 PM
This reminds me of this incident we had on here a while back: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=207333 (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=207333)

Where the girl begged her parents to publish the book, then was completely baffled by the criticism she received. She had no concept of the business or what constituted good writing, but she wanted to be a writer. I don't think her parents giving in to her pleas to publish helped her at all. And she was 17 and should have been mature enough to understand.

Hopefully she learned from the experience. I'd hate for someone to get turned off of writing because they weren't ready for the realities of publishing.

aruna
04-03-2012, 09:05 PM
Maradonia= :Jaw:

Here's a video on Gloria Tesch by SwankiVY (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEVX_L6Zsfg) that doesn't critique the book itself, but the horrific marketing tactics the author and her parents use to "create" a best-seller. It seems the only way this "author" will learn is through the school of very hard knocks and failure. What a shame.

Cyia
04-03-2012, 09:36 PM
When I was in high school, we had to do these current event presentations based on the newspaper. One of the stories I had was about a set of brothers (little kids, not teens) who wanted to go to Disney World, but their parents couldn't afford it. So, they wrote a book, hoping to make enough to pay for the trip.

It made the news because they'd made in the $15-25,000 range, and I remember feeling so sorry for them because their parents "weren't sure" if they were using the money to go to Florida.

(Granted, there are perfectly legitimate reasons a family might need that kind of cash, especially if medical bills or nearing foreclosure is involved, but from a kids' perspective it's a huge let down.)

Phaeal
04-03-2012, 10:29 PM
Re Maradonia: Now, now, now. Everyone was put on this earth for a purpose. Tesh's purpose is to make Christopher Paolini look like a FREAKIN' GENIUS -- WHO COULD EVER DISPARAGE HIS WORK WHEN THIS HORROR EXISTS???

Mission well and truly accomplished, Gloria.

Cyia
04-03-2012, 10:39 PM
Don't be too hard on the kid (she really was a KID when this started, like 11 years old). She's not the one that bred and fed the hype monster, and when she was that young she wouldn't have known to question mom and dad's assessment of her work.

Writing can be improved, but the part of this that fits with the article in the OP isn't about a child's writing ability. It's about the danger of over-coddling parents stifling that ability in the name of faux-accomplishment and fabricated self-esteem. Whatever talent these kids, Tesch and Paolini included, possess is cut off because they're inundated with the idea that they've already reached the pinnacle. What's left to strive for?

kaitie
04-03-2012, 11:22 PM
I wonder if here parents didn't really think that they had a little genius talent on their hands that would no doubt be famous in a few years for writing just amazingly brilliant work so far beyond her years when she was ten, and thus published and hyped it, etc.

It doesn't make it much better, and it's frustrating to see the consequences, but it's possible that it wasn't so much about thinking they'd make a fortune as being so biased that they didn't recognize the flaws themselves.

skylark
04-04-2012, 12:09 AM
What I don't get is the mental step from "my kid writes so well for a ten year old, I'm so proud of them!" to "other people will want to pay money for a ten year old who writes at the level of a slightly older child."

When my son was all excited about writing a proper story, we "published" his, too. It's on our website. It has links and everything! You can even find it if you Google!

He was chuffed to bits. No need for ISBNs and Amazon listings (and public humiliation).

MysteryRiter
04-04-2012, 01:18 AM
Ah, the Maradonia thing.

I remember reading about that right after I wrote my first novel (at 12-13) and was determined to have it published and become the world's youngest author. I know, I know, reading it back, I cannot believe I even thought it was good. Anyway, because of the false marketing, a google search to see who the current "youngest novelist" was revealed that author. I read an excerpt out of curiosity and thought, "wow, publishing is easy. My writing is better than hers and she's published."

Of course, when the agents started linking me to places where my writing could be improved (AW being one of them), I realized that the novel must really suck. (And it did.)

:)

I just read the sample again.

I have no words.

Actually, yes, I do. I really feel bad for the author. I don't think she understands what she's getting herself into and her parents certainly aren't helping, either. I hope soon she'll come to her senses and unpublish the novels. Then if she writes a publishable one in the future, write it under a pen name.

elindsen
04-04-2012, 01:57 AM
It does piss me off that they kept calling it self publishing. As Uncle Jim said, vanity.

With regards to paying, why not pay for your kids to go to creative writing classes? Everyone can improve. I checked out the look inside feature of one of the books. It was okay, but I don't think it would have been picked up. First, a few problems with commas and such. Common placement classes LEARNING how to get better would have taught them. I am all for supporting my kids, but handing over a check so my kid can have a self-esteem boost is wrong. They need to learn that hard work pays, not the bank account. The hard work drives the passion harder and gives the love of what you do.

Would you trust a doctor or lawyer who read and anatomy or law book and paid for the certificate on the wall to do your services? Of course not. They need to be schooled first. Writing a manuscript is hard. Learning the industry and how to be an author instead of a writer is harder, and that includes rejection.

The Lonely One
04-04-2012, 02:45 AM
They need to learn that hard work pays, not the bank account.


Unfortunately that's getting harder and harder to believe these days.

elindsen
04-04-2012, 02:57 AM
Unfortunately that's getting harder and harder to believe these days.
True, but we should be at least telling our kids that ;)

BenPanced
04-04-2012, 07:10 AM
Writing can be improved, but the part of this that fits with the article in the OP isn't about a child's writing ability. It's about the danger of over-coddling parents stifling that ability in the name of faux-accomplishment and fabricated self-esteem. Whatever talent these kids, Tesch and Paolini included, possess is cut off because they're inundated with the idea that they've already reached the pinnacle. What's left to strive for?
Self-publishing their own fanfic with the serial numbers filed off?

SomethingOrOther
04-04-2012, 10:07 AM
Don't be too hard on the kid (she really was a KID when this started, like 11 years old). She's not the one that bred and fed the hype monster, and when she was that young she wouldn't have known to question mom and dad's assessment of her work.


This x 100. Parents' missteps can screw kids up in certain ways. Unfortunately, I know that firsthand. :(

Phaeal
04-04-2012, 04:22 PM
I guess I was lucky then to have parents who didn't pay any attention to my writing.

Seriously, though, we kids didn't expect this kind of adulation and hovering back in ancient times. In fact, we felt sorry for the one kid whose mother was always fluttering around her. She got more stuff; the rest of us got to run the streets from dawn to (after) dusk, creating our own adventures.

JSSchley
04-04-2012, 05:55 PM
I like the analogy to music lessons. If you think your kid might be a virtuoso pianist, you pay for lessons and enter him/her in contests and have other people judge. Nearly all parents, no matter how much they support their children, would clearly see the difference between charging people to listen to their child play the piano right away and having the child take lessons.

I think it all comes back to the fact that many, many people don't understand that writing is a craft which takes practice and time spent honing the skill. Many assume that if you can hold forth for 70,000 words and mostly spell everything correctly, that's really all that authors do.

Terie
04-04-2012, 06:48 PM
Many assume that if you can hold forth for 70,000 words and mostly spell everything correctly, that's really all that authors do.

You...you...you mean it's NOT??? :e2faint:

Cyia
04-04-2012, 07:26 PM
I Nearly all parents, no matter how much they support their children, would clearly see the difference between charging people to listen to their child play the piano right away and having the child take lessons.



You've obviously never been forced to endure someone's little prodigy performing at a birthday party (before the cake and ice cream, of course) or family functions. Or met the person who will volunteer her child as "the music" for every event that pops up.

flapperphilosopher
04-04-2012, 08:44 PM
Ahhhhh.... I went and read some of those Maradonia excerpts!! Yes, I know she was just a kid.... but even for a 12 year old, that's pretty bad, I have to say. Plus what is up with the formatting? I know it's quoted so I haven't seen the reallll thing, but it looks like there aren't paragraph breaks for dialogue? In the novel I wrote at 11 I'm sure I had punctuation errors, but I started new paragraphs for dialogue. If you, er, read at all surely you must notice that's what's done? I'm mostly just baffled that her parents didn't fix that, at the very least.

I do feel kind of bad for her, though, because she's gotten all this feedback from the people she trusts the most that it's Very Good, and when/if she ever learns it's not, that's going to be devastating. Like I said I wrote a novel at 11, and I did get the feedback that it was very good for an 11-year-old and I had lots of potential as a writer [from a published author and also a small press editor, not just my parents], but no one pretended that meant it was very good period. "Keep writing because with work you could be good!" isn't the same as telling a kid their work is as good as any published author's, or better. Encouragement is good but indulgence isn't. This is indulgence.

Libbie
04-04-2012, 11:19 PM
I think it's more than indulgence. I think it's exploitation. I think her parents were really banking on turning her into the next Christopher Paolini, but EVEN YOUNGER! (and therefore worth more money).

I mean, her parents paid for this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=X4OYYjXWCoI

Even with relatively poor production values, they did put some cash into this. Why pretend there's a big book signing event going on and that their daughter has all these fans if they weren't trying to make it actually happen?

Reminds me of the parents who try to push their kids into acting when the kids aren't really interested, just because they want to profit from a child star.

MysteryRiter
04-04-2012, 11:46 PM
I think it's more than indulgence. I think it's exploitation. I think her parents were really banking on turning her into the next Christopher Paolini, but EVEN YOUNGER! (and therefore worth more money).



A little off-topic, but I read somewhere that CP only started 'Eragon' at 15, but didn't finish it until 19. In which case, "starting" can mean anything and the 15 year old novelist thing was just a marketing ploy. Does anyone know if this is fact or just a rumour?



I mean, her parents paid for this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=X4OYYjXWCoI



Holy... :Jaw: I think that was the dumbest thing I've ever seen... Especially the end part with the producer. I mean, c'mon. How stupid do the parents think people are?



Reminds me of the parents who try to push their kids into acting when the kids aren't really interested, just because they want to profit from a child star.

I'm not sure this is the case. Obviously, I don't know if the author is actually interested in writing, but I have to assume she is. She wrote a book at a young age. The next thing she wants to do is get it published and she thinks it's publishable. I've been there. I don't think the parents forced her to publish it, but I think she was really excited about it and asked her parents how one could publish a book. Then they got a little too involved, saw an opportunity to make their child a "star" and cashed in on it. I think that it was consensual, but the author didn't really understand what was going on. She just knew her book was being published and that's all she cared about. Obviously, she forgot to research on AW first. :) But anyway, her parents probably said to her that the fake videos were "just part of the business" or something. So she went along with it, and I think she genuinely believed she was a published author. I assume by now she realizes that she isn't.

At least, that's how it seems to me.

kaitie
04-04-2012, 11:54 PM
I think it's more than indulgence. I think it's exploitation. I think her parents were really banking on turning her into the next Christopher Paolini, but EVEN YOUNGER! (and therefore worth more money).

I mean, her parents paid for this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=X4OYYjXWCoI

Even with relatively poor production values, they did put some cash into this. Why pretend there's a big book signing event going on and that their daughter has all these fans if they weren't trying to make it actually happen?

Reminds me of the parents who try to push their kids into acting when the kids aren't really interested, just because they want to profit from a child star.

That is really sick. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the book and is just filled with false advertisement to make it look like her book is a bestseller. I think the most telling statement in there is "This kid's a billion dollar industry!"

Ugh. Just sickening.

kaitie
04-04-2012, 11:56 PM
Also I was a 15 year old novelist. And my book was better than this one. Which doesn't say much, to be honest.

It's not as special as it sounds, especially when you're only "published" because your parents paid a lot of money to have it done.

To be honest, it's probably a good thing this girl was home schooled. Could you imagine the shit she'd get at a high school?

SomethingOrOther
04-05-2012, 12:27 AM
To be honest, it's probably a bad thing this girl was home schooled. Could you imagine the shit she'd get at a high school?

one fix :)

MJNL
04-05-2012, 12:37 AM
Wait, that video was made by the girl's parents? It looks like a spoof--like it's explicitly making fun of the books, not advertising them. Except for the end...which looks like the beginning of a porno...

kaitie
04-05-2012, 12:47 AM
Wait, that video was made by the girl's parents? It looks like a spoof--like it's explicitly making fun of the books, not advertising them. Except for the end...which looks like the beginning of a porno...

I thought the exact same thing!

elindsen
04-05-2012, 12:52 AM
I saw a porno coming on too lol. That was bad to say the least. How is this kid going along with it? I would at least run away

HoneyBadger
04-05-2012, 01:44 AM
Well, looks like the actors captured the nuance and subtlety of the original text fairly well.

Darkshore
04-05-2012, 05:12 AM
I'm usually against thinking badly of others, but this Gloria Tesch....Ho-Ly-Sh-It. I mean anyone who has their parents pay for them to be published is going to get snubbed by those that did it the "hard" way, but that's just too much. Christopher Poalini got a lot of hate as well, but he didn't try to sound like a star, and his books were actually very enjoyable for me when I was younger (at least the first one).

Kewii
04-05-2012, 09:06 AM
I mean, her parents paid for this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=X4OYYjXWCoI


What...the...hell?

You guys need to stop posting things like this so I can have my life back. It was seriously, the closest I have ever come to watching a train wreck.

Ugh. So disgusting.

No wonder she's got a gigantic head. Do you think her parents told her the same lies the video had?

Katrina S. Forest
04-05-2012, 05:17 PM
I read some of Gloria Tesch's work and it's exactly how I would expect a twelve-year-old to write. It's how I wrote around that age. I thought that to make an interesting character, you made them do lots of awesome stuff. I certainly didn't have the concept of a Mary Sue. I actually found her work cute because it was like I'd discovered a bunch of my old manuscripts from middle school. I remember thinking I had to keep bad language and violence out of the books, though, so I could be a good role model to all the little kids who would read my masterpiece. (Yeah, I had an inflated ego even without a book trailer.) ^_^

My understanding is that Eragon (the commercially published version) came out when Paolini was about 20. What age he was when the self-published version came out, I have no idea. But he was definitely old enough when Eragon hit shelves across the country to have his work critiqued as an adult's.

Hopefully Gloria Tesch will realize that all authors need to keep growing in their craft and work on something outside the Maradonia universe.

dolores haze
04-05-2012, 05:27 PM
This is a very interesting thread for me, 'cos I have an 8 y.o. whose current career goal is writer/illustrator (and he states if he can't do that, he'll just be a hobo, lol) He's a very dedicated writer, and he and I love to sit and have our writer chats. He's very open to feedback and soaks up everything I can teach him. His story "Godzilla's Wonderful Day" led to a great conversation about fan fiction. His "Aliens Vs. Australians" led to a discussion about appropriate levels of violence in children's books (this story had an awful lot of blood, decapitations, alien limbs strewn everywhere, etc) His "Diary of a Dorky Kid" got us chatting about originality and how to come up with unique story ideas.

At one point he was talking about getting one of his stories put into print. We went to the Lulu site and talked about the difference between being published and being self-published. He decided to wait until his work was "good enough." (his words, not mine)

It can be a difficult, at times. When he brings me one of his stories and asks for my opinion, I want to be honest, but I also don't want to crush his delicate little writer ego. Thankfully, SYW has given me lots of experience in giving tactful feedback.

Most recently, while watching me work on first round edits, he decided that he too needed an editor. He's tackling his first chapter book at the moment. It's science fiction with an awesome premise. He says if it's good enough he'd like to photocopy it and give out copies to his friends. He was very shy and sweet when he asked me if I'd edit it for him first. So cool to hear Martin and King (and Libbie!) did this when they were kids. So much better than feeding his immature ego and acting like he's the next big thing. Even though, I think, if he sticks with this, he darn well could be. Yep, I'm a proud momma. Though one with plenty of common sense.

brainstorm77
04-05-2012, 06:00 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEVX_L6Zsfg&annotation_id=annotation_620502&src_vid=JKtCeyPVB18&feature=iv This was interesting. One person's take on Tesch.

Katrina S. Forest
04-05-2012, 06:26 PM
dolores, I laughed out loud at your son's comment about being a writer or a hobo. ^_^

For whatever it's worth, when I've worked with elementary-aged kids, the two phrases I've seen used for critiques are, "things that are already good," and "things that could make it better." It seems to work nicely. I think it's awesome your son is looking for critical feedback at such a young age.

We had some volunteer moms at my elementary school who would hand-bind books for kids. Each student was only allowed one book for the year, though, so kids had to carefully choose their best work. It was an awesome experience. Maybe making a homemade book out of his best story would be a fun craft for you and your son too.

Phaeal
04-05-2012, 06:31 PM
dolores haze = good mom. No, = great mom. :Trophy:

Will you adopt me?

Marian Perera
04-05-2012, 06:34 PM
I just watched the video, and there seem to be a lot of plants in that bookstore. Almost as if it was someone's living-room.

Also love the line "Why have we been brought into this totally different world?"

gotchan
04-05-2012, 07:04 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEVX_L6Zsfg&annotation_id=annotation_620502&src_vid=JKtCeyPVB18&feature=iv This was interesting. One person's take on Tesch.
I've seen that before. I thought a particularly interesting point was swankivy got a copyright complaint from the Tesch gang for including clips of their video that included copyrighted material that isn't theirs.

brainstorm77
04-05-2012, 07:09 PM
I've seen that before. I thought a particularly interesting point was swankivy got a copyright complaint from the Tesch gang for including clips of their video that included copyrighted material that isn't theirs.

That stuck out to me too :tongue

aruna
04-05-2012, 07:17 PM
I've seen that before. I thought a particularly interesting point was swankivy got a copyright complaint from the Tesch gang for including clips of their video that included copyrighted material that isn't theirs.

Yep. I posted it right here on page three (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7160176&postcount=61) yesterday...;)

Katrina S. Forest
04-05-2012, 08:31 PM
Yep. I posted it right here on page three (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7160176&postcount=61) yesterday...;)

Aw, I'm sorry.

That wasn't an intentional ignoring. Just a "I got lazy and only read the last couple posts of the thread" sort of ignoring.

James D. Macdonald
04-05-2012, 09:51 PM
This should be in a stickie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBhQhKWOZmk

Libbie
04-06-2012, 12:02 AM
Dolores haze, tell your son I want to read "Aliens vs. Australians." The title has hooked me.

Cyia
04-06-2012, 12:05 AM
This should be in a stickie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UBhQhKWOZmk


As should this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9fc-crEFDw

BenPanced
04-06-2012, 01:01 AM
Wait, that video was made by the girl's parents? It looks like a spoof--like it's explicitly making fun of the books, not advertising them. Except for the end...which looks like the beginning of a porno...
Man, if I didn't know any better, I'd swear her parents were making fun of her...

And if I can't be a writer or a hobo, I wanna be a Bond Girl.

Luciamaria
04-06-2012, 07:35 AM
Eugh. That makes me feel sort of sick. Vanity publishing. Jeez, I emailed a vanity publisher (I didn't know they were a vanity press at the moment) and they responded so quickly it was like they didn't even care what my message contained... And then...

(Forehead-desk)

flapperphilosopher
04-06-2012, 09:03 PM
Here is an opinion piece on the subject from the Guardian (a UK newspaper): http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2012/apr/06/children-self-publish-books . I kind of can't believe how the author totally misses the point of the objections... there's just a couple of commentators, too, who have a decent perspective on the whole thing. Not that it's totally 'right' or 'wrong', of course, but I feel the author isn't very acquainted with the issues at all. If he properly addressed the very real concerns, sure, his opinion would be perfectly valid... but I feel he doesn't, and it kind of depresses me.

MysteryRiter
04-06-2012, 09:12 PM
Um... Not that opinions are right or wrong, but I agree that the writer doesn't really know what he's talking about, or at least doesn't understand the heart of the issue. Same with the commenters, except for our own leahzero.

KathleenD
04-07-2012, 05:07 AM
I'm married to an artist forced by circumstance to draw nothing but high fantasy stuff, but his heart belongs to pulp science fiction from the late 40's/50s. We have a pretty awesome collection of science fiction paperbacks from that era, and many of the volumes made the collection strictly because of the cover painting.

These days, when most people talk about the Golden Age of science fiction, they're referring to a handful of writers whose work has stood the test of time.

What a lot of people forget is that during the actual era, editors were throwing a lot of crap against the wall to see what would stick.

I grabbed five books at random off my shelf, and I gotta tell you, Gloria's sentence (the one quoted upthread) stacks up pretty well.

I mean, it's objectively not good. But worse has been published. If the story had been more gripping, or the plot more exciting, the language/poor grasp on craftsmanship would not matter to certain types of readers.

If she does ever awaken from her parent-induced coma of awesomeness, I don't think she'll have to hide under a pen name. Honestly, most people won't have heard of her and fewer than that will care.

Her stuff reminds me of the fantasy manuscript I have from when I was twelve. (Fun fact: My title, and this was 1986 mind you, was "The Song Of Ice And Fire." Curse you, GRRM, curse yoooooooooooooouuuuuuu...)

shaldna
04-07-2012, 11:50 AM
I think it depends what the end goal is. Here it's pretty popular for schools and church groups etc to get together a book of poems or stories written by the kids and publish them. The kids think it's brilliant because they have been 'published' and the school or group can raise a bit of money by selling them to parents etc. It's a fun way of fundraising and it makes the kids feel great by encouraging them to be creative etc.

On the other hand you have the ones who are published this way with the primary goal fame. These are the parents who aren't able to be critical, or they don't want to. So they big up their kids, who sometimes do have a level of talent, but that talent gets blown out of all proportion to the point where the child thinks they are much better than they are. Essentially setting the kid up for a fall much later.

It's not just books though, you see it all the time in acting and singing, and when I worked with horses I would constantly see young kids on £50 grand ponies who couldn't ride for toffee, but who had been set up by their parents to believe that they were the best in the world and would win everything because they were the bestest riders eva! Sadly, I've seen parents get very very angry when those kids don't win - and have seen judges been assaulted.

And that's what the difference here really is - it's fine to help your kid do something they enjoy - like publish their books, or compete their ponies. But it's another thing altogether to expect and encourage them to try and do that in a professional capacity when they simply aren't ready / good enough.

DennisB
04-07-2012, 05:31 PM
Our local library has an auditorium (about 150 seats) that it rents out for something like $200 a night. What if a parent rented this auditorium for little Megan or little Sean to have a one-kid show (dance, poetry reading, singing)?
I suppose in publishing a book, one is not laid so bare, but still...

DennisB
04-07-2012, 05:56 PM
One thing about Tom Robbins' objection. Kobe Bryant certainly had no trouble becoming one of the best players in the NBA, with no more than junior and senior high school experience. Kobe has such incredible talent that he didn't really have to hone it before commanding a nine-figure professional contract.
Gymnasts are considered old at age 16. The LPGA is filled with under-20 Korean girls who are already masters.
Is writing so different?
Of course, those endeavors are quantifiable. Who knows what's good or bad in literature? It's all in the eye of the beholder.

HoneyBadger
04-07-2012, 06:24 PM
Raw, natural talent must still be honed through practice under skilled instructors.

Emily Winslow
04-07-2012, 06:31 PM
One thing about Tom Robbins' objection. Kobe Bryant certainly had no trouble becoming one of the best players in the NBA, with no more than junior and senior high school experience. Kobe has such incredible talent that he didn't really have to hone it before commanding a nine-figure professional contract.
Gymnasts are considered old at age 16. The LPGA is filled with under-20 Korean girls who are already masters.
Is writing so different?
Of course, those endeavors are quantifiable. Who knows what's good or bad in literature? It's all in the eye of the beholder.

The difference in my view is that your examples involve professional adults outside the family making the judgment call and inviting the children into established teams/groups. The parallel to writing would be a teen who earns a contract from an established publisher.

The Maradonia situation is more like if parents created their own fake sports team for her to be the star of and created their own competition, judged by them, and handed out their own medals.

As for letting teens vanity publish or self publish, I agree with those who see a big difference between a "family and friends memento" and "seriously marketing to the general public." All the more if they're serious about writing. Improve! Improve! There's so much to learn.

My older child is very creative and ambitious. It was a wonderful day in our house when he looked at his films and came to the realisation on his own: "I don't think this is ready for a real film festival yet." He wasn't depressed, or discouraged. He just saw clearly that this was child-work (*good* child work, but still...) and that he has adult-work ahead of him, really really good adult work, if he keeps improving.

kaitie
04-08-2012, 03:36 AM
One thing about Tom Robbins' objection. Kobe Bryant certainly had no trouble becoming one of the best players in the NBA, with no more than junior and senior high school experience. Kobe has such incredible talent that he didn't really have to hone it before commanding a nine-figure professional contract.
Gymnasts are considered old at age 16. The LPGA is filled with under-20 Korean girls who are already masters.
Is writing so different?
Of course, those endeavors are quantifiable. Who knows what's good or bad in literature? It's all in the eye of the beholder.

As a former gymnast, I can assure you that the girls who are considered elite have been doing it for several years. I once knew an eight-year-old who was amazing on pretty much raw talent, but she'd still been doing it for six years at that point.

These are kids who started at two and train every day six hours a day to reach the level they're at. Keep in mind that most high-level gymnasts are young because they're fearless enough and small enough to pull off the most difficult tricks. And older gymnasts are often plagued with injuries that make training more difficult. This isn't the kid at the local Y who practices twice a week for an hour with a random mom for their coach.

Similarly, the pro-level teenage golfers (or same for other sports) have also been doing it for years, often to the point that they do home schooling or tutoring in order to train more and more and more. It's not a random kid who decided to play golf going out for their first tournament.

I'm sure that a kid who was actually actively taught writing, including learning how to take criticism and learn from it and so on, could actually become amazing at a young age (with the right level of talent). Now, they'll also have to overcome the problem of learning how to be original and come up with a plot and write about characters that show an understanding of the human condition when they've had very little opportunity to experience it themselves, but I have no doubt that it does happen.

That's not really what we're talking about here, though. Those kids would be able to get a real publishing contract. This is the kid who says, "Mom, look I wrote a book!" and the mom decides to then put that book for sale for the whole world to see. 99.999% of first books written by teenagers aren't going to be any good.

Not only that, when you have a kid who is a professional at a sport (or a genius with a college degree at 10) they got that way from hard work and effort. They spend hours and hours practicing, sacrificing normal childhoods to reach that level. They know that the reason they are at that level is because they worked hard and earned it.

Publishing a kid's first book is more like taking that gymnast and telling them that you're going to let them try out for the Olympics after their first competition. You're telling them that it doesn't take work to improve and that they're automatically good enough to be considered professional.

I can see people thinking it's a self-esteem booster. I can understand parents being so deluded they think they're doing a good thing. I can also understand parents thinking their kid is a cash cow they can now take advantage of. But, in my opinion, self-publishing a kid's book for any reason other than to give a few copies to friends and family as a nice keepsake is wrong.

If nothing else, you've taken control of your child's writing future. Have they learned about proper research? Or the advantages and disadvantages of various methods? Has anyone at all even looked at the potential long-term consequences that can go beyond embarrassment and making your kid think they're amazing and don't need improvement, such as the fact that it might make it harder for the child to ever get a commercial publisher?

I think, for me, this is one of the biggest issues. My writing career is important to me and has been since I was 12. The thought that someone, even a well-meaning someone, might take control of that career and make poor choices when I wasn't even informed enough to know anything about how publishing worked is awful. I feel for these kids.

MysteryRiter
04-08-2012, 03:52 AM
As a former gymnast, I can assure you that the girls who are considered elite have been doing it for several years. I once knew an eight-year-old who was amazing on pretty much raw talent, but she'd still been doing it for six years at that point.

These are kids who started at two and train every day six hours a day to reach the level they're at. Keep in mind that most high-level gymnasts are young because they're fearless enough and small enough to pull off the most difficult tricks. And older gymnasts are often plagued with injuries that make training more difficult. This isn't the kid at the local Y who practices twice a week for an hour with a random mom for their coach.

Similarly, the pro-level teenage golfers (or same for other sports) have also been doing it for years, often to the point that they do home schooling or tutoring in order to train more and more and more. It's not a random kid who decided to play golf going out for their first tournament.

I'm sure that a kid who was actually actively taught writing, including learning how to take criticism and learn from it and so on, could actually become amazing at a young age (with the right level of talent). Now, they'll also have to overcome the problem of learning how to be original and come up with a plot and write about characters that show an understanding of the human condition when they've had very little opportunity to experience it themselves, but I have no doubt that it does happen.

That's not really what we're talking about here, though. Those kids would be able to get a real publishing contract. This is the kid who says, "Mom, look I wrote a book!" and the mom decides to then put that book for sale for the whole world to see. 99.999% of first books written by teenagers aren't going to be any good.

Not only that, when you have a kid who is a professional at a sport (or a genius with a college degree at 10) they got that way from hard work and effort. They spend hours and hours practicing, sacrificing normal childhoods to reach that level. They know that the reason they are at that level is because they worked hard and earned it.

Publishing a kid's first book is more like taking that gymnast and telling them that you're going to let them try out for the Olympics after their first competition. You're telling them that it doesn't take work to improve and that they're automatically good enough to be considered professional.

I can see people thinking it's a self-esteem booster. I can understand parents being so deluded they think they're doing a good thing. I can also understand parents thinking their kid is a cash cow they can now take advantage of. But, in my opinion, self-publishing a kid's book for any reason other than to give a few copies to friends and family as a nice keepsake is wrong.

If nothing else, you've taken control of your child's writing future. Have they learned about proper research? Or the advantages and disadvantages of various methods? Has anyone at all even looked at the potential long-term consequences that can go beyond embarrassment and making your kid think they're amazing and don't need improvement, such as the fact that it might make it harder for the child to ever get a commercial publisher?

I think, for me, this is one of the biggest issues. My writing career is important to me and has been since I was 12. The thought that someone, even a well-meaning someone, might take control of that career and make poor choices when I wasn't even informed enough to know anything about how publishing worked is awful. I feel for these kids.

This. So this.

Cyia
04-08-2012, 06:28 AM
The truly sad thing about this is that most editors are exceptionally receptive and helpful to kids who submit material. If the parents would help the kid query, at the very least, they'd get some real encouragement from industry folks and at best they'd catch an editor's attention and have a real shot at being that "next wunderkind".