If you're like me, as many in our field are, you spent your childhood with your nose in a book. Late nights under the covers with a flashlight, sitting on the sidewalk while others did sports, and hours at the local library are the bright, shiny, happy spots in your memory.
|Books, books, books. Must read all the books.|
|What am I doing with my life?|
|Ta da! I will be a famous novelist!|
|What makes you think your book is special?|
I only wish someone had pointed this out to the little girl with her nose in a book. I would have started earlier, done the unpaid internship in college, taken the courses in writing/literature, begun my career path sooner, so that the struggle would have been at the age it should have been. The MFA programs are equally as guilty, many of them focus on writing as art, scorning the "commercial" world, which is where most people in the book business make a living.
|You write commercial fiction?|
Why can't being an author and working within the book industry be a viable career path for everyone? Why can't more universities offer programs like Columbia's Publishing Course? Why are we expected to toil away at un-paid/low-wage apprenticeships just to get our foot in the door? Why is it that there is not a career path for novelists the way there are for so many other jobs? Why is there so little money in such an important field? And why is most of it concentrated in NYC, one of the most expensive cities to live in the world?
|I don't have to put up with this, do I?|
|Hey there. I work with books!|
|Yes, you can work with books.|
(And maybe the next doctor will be a POC. Maybe.)
The world needs more (and diverse) people working in books, but how will that happen with the current lack of support in the education system and society in general?