The View From Hemingway's Attic

Culture, politics, literature

William Hazelgrove

William Hazelgrove
chicago, Illinois, usa
January 27
William Hazelgrove is the best selling author of four novels, Ripples, Tobacco Sticks Mica Highways and Rocket Man. His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly, Book of the Month Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. His latest novel Rocket Man was chosen Book of the Year by Books and He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway’s Attic. He lives in Chicago.


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APRIL 5, 2012 4:28PM

Kiddie Novelists

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 There are now kiddie novelists. Parents who publish their kids book for three grand or whatever POD (print on demand) cost now. And yes there is a publisher specializing in kidpress. Why shouldn't there be? With the advent of helicopter parents and Spockian reward systems (the childs world most important) of course parents will get in the act. Yes you can be a novelist. Yes you can be a rock star. Here I will burn you your CD complete with graphics for your cover. Yes you can be a filmmaker and here is your high definition video to film camera to do it with. Just upload to Youtube and you might get a million hits.

Art for the masses or everybody gets to be a star. Sure. Give little John or Jane their book and as the parents in the New York Times article pointed out ,it is just like sports. Some people give their kids five thousand dollar travel teams and we give ours a book. Right. The problem is that little Johnnie or Janie don't really deserve a book the same way they don't deserve a five thousand dollar travel team complete with major league uniforms. Life and art are not that easy.

Novelists spend years honing their craft. Musicians bust their ass to little notoriety. Film makers agonize over edits and toil mostly in obscurity. People kill themselves in jobs for little money. That is the real world even more so now that the pie is so much smaller. Yes. You are doing your kids a disservice by telling them they are good enough to publish their book. They are not. And it is better they learn that hard work brings the reward, not just being alive. The school of hard knocks will let them know sooner or later.

Better they know it now.

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So sayeth the self-publishing guy.