Best (Most Heartbreaking) Writing Advice Ever
|first book I sold|
in the children's market
And then I did get better -- better enough to sell some books and see them published, which was a wondrous, amazing thing!
Only those books didn't perform wondrously in the marketplace. They did fine, and I am lucky that all my children's books are still in print. But bestsellers? Nope.
So, like, many authors, I knew I was a "good" writer. Maybe even "better" than some of those bestsellers out there. What could I do to be MORE successful? How could I write that "break-out" book?
Which is exactly what Charles Waters and I did with CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship (Carolrhoda/Lerner). The book was released in January, and is now in its 3rd printing. It's sold more copies than any of my previous books. We are so grateful and humbled... and validated.
So. Here is the advice I have to offer you striving writers:
It's more important to be different than it is to be better.
Since making that decision, making that turn to "different," I have sold at least half a dozen new books that will hit the marketplace over the next several years. I don't know yet how they will perform in terms of sales, but I can tell from the excitement of the publishing houses that this commitment to innovative work is me finally finding my voice in this industry. I couldn't be more excited!
IreneLatham is the author of more than a dozen current and forthcoming books, including two novels for children Leaving Gee's Bend and Don't Feed the Boy. Winner of the 2016 ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, her poetry books for children include Dear Wandering Wildebeest, When the Sun Shines on Antarctica, Fresh Delicious and Can I Touch Your Hair? (with Charles Waters). Irene lives on a lake in Alabama where she does her best to “live her poem” every single day by laughing, playing the cello, and feeding the birds.