Did you know this?
January of this year was the New York Public Library’s 125th year anniversary. Part of their celebration included a list of their most checked out books over the span of all those years. In the adult category they listed 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and How to Win Friends and Influence People. In the children’s category they listed thousands more. Only three in the adult and thousands in the children’s? That’s interesting, isn’t it? Also of interest is the fact that the most popular children’s book ever was not included on that list. Good Night Moon. And that was because it wasn’t acquired by the library until 1972, twenty-five years after it was published.
But why wasn’t it included in their collection? The reason was one woman, Ann Carol Moore. She didn’t like the book and gave it her infamous “Not Approved By Expert” stamp–the kiss of death, according to early children book writers. She nixed a lot of children’s books this way because if the New York Library didn’t acquire them, others didn’t either. ACM was a lover of fantasy and believed children, especially those inner city kids without a lot of resources in the home, needed escape, not reality. For years, she dominated the library’s book acquisitions, so books about garbage trucks or things kids saw everyday didn’t reach the shelves.
Now you might label her as a mean-spirited, cranky old librarian, yet ACM is credited with not only getting children into the library (they weren’t allowed until very late 1890s), but creating a special space for them. When they checked out a book, they had to sign a paper, saying they’d take good care of it and return it on time–a first lesson in citizenship. So while we can criticize her for her book bias, we have to acknowledge her contribution to early literacy.
Well, it’s another first Wednesday and another chance to consider a writing-related question.
Remember, the question is optional!
When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?
The awesome co-hosts for the October 7 posting of the IWSG are
This is a complicated question, and by that I mean I’m not sure of the answer. I’m not a hobbyist, so rule that out. I’m still aspiring because I want to be better at my craft. If describing myself as a working writer means making money is my primary goal, then I’ll have to rule that out. It’s always nice when the royalties drop into my account, but I didn’t set out to make money. I set out to write the best book I could. In fact, each time I start a new project, that’s always my goal. I’ve never thought, “This one has to be a money maker.” I’ve always thought I hope it’s a story that people will enjoy or a least read and react to.
I’m curious about how others will answer this question, which BTW, is darned thought-provoking.
It’s time for another #WEP. This one should be a fascinating contest. Just look at the theme.
If you want to join in this month’s contest, check out the How To Join Page.
And because it’s my favorite month which has my favorite holiday, I’m going to run a giveaway for my Adventures of Pete and Weasel Series. If you’d like signed copies of these three books (all quite HALLOWEEN and KID (8-12 years) appropriate enter my Rafflecopter Giveaway. Sorry, but I’m going to have to keep this limited to the U.S. only.
Blurb: Pete’s always in trouble, and his bookish friend, Weasel, is always pulled into whatever mess Pete manages to stir up. Follow their adventures that start with Alligators Overhead and an alligator war in the Ornofree Swamp, then journey back to jolly old England when Queen Victoria is only 16 in The Great Time Lock Disaster. In Some Very Messy Medieval Magic, they’ll take you to the year 1173 to find a missing Time Traveler and save the world.