Monday, August 19, 2013

Did I write that? What do I do with it now?...

A while back I wittered about 'brand'. Brand has been a hot topic and as part of our self marketing plan we have been exhorted to develop one. Initially I thought this a good idea and tried to tie myself into a single package with a suitable summation of what me and my books are. Then I decided, well, actually, no, I am me in all my complex, ever-changing glory and a standard 'brand' box is the wrong size and shape to represent me. I like to think readers can rely on me to get something interesting and 'a little different' but it might come in a variety of forms, genre, length, etc.... I don't want to be tied down to a brand either. There are all sorts of exciting possibilities out there. But brand has another side which I cannot avoid in the same way. Some time back I wrote a picture book story. The main character was a bit of a wayward boy and in the end he learns to be better behaved. The story has some charm and some humour. The characters are kind of fun. It is polished and edited and I am happy with the writing. But it has a whiff of the didactic about it (you could probably already tell, right?). Publishers in general aren't keen on didactic. I am not that keen on it myself. But I like this story. It has been turned down by a couple of publishers with some interesting (and opposing) feedback. Do I keep sending it out? Would I be happy if it was a book? Do I want my name printed on the cover of a didactic text? Can I draw a line between too didactic and just a little bit didactic?

This might seem like an odd dilemma but I can tell you right now, even with all the sales and money involved, I would not want my name on the front of 50 Shades of Grey. Are there books you wouldn't want your name on the front of? There are certainly some books I wish I had written. Is the converse true? Do I chalk this one up to experience and file it in the drawer forever?


2 comments:

Jane Bloomfield said...

I've never thought, oh I wished I'd written that, about books I've read and loved. Beautiful sentences maybe! Can you have super funny didactic? Re brand: I do sometimes wonder if I write too many genres? Off to finish not-for-children short story right NOW...

Subcelestial said...

Following the Storylines festival this weekend, one of the things I felt seemed common to most of the NZ books on show was actually that a lot of them are dribble. There's nice rhyming, some fun pictures and amusing bits, but nothing of value in them. When you consider that stories have traditionally been how societies communicated morals, I think we need more of this, so I think it's excellent that you have a story that has a message. Publishers probably go for watered-down, middle-of-the-road stories because they're a safe bet... but safe often also means mediocre.