BETWEEN THE PAGES: FINDING MY VOICE – From Presentations to Textbooks

Welcome to the limited series return of BETWEEN THE PAGES, running Mondays and Wednesdays now through mid-December 2020! Dubbed BETWEEN THE PAGES: FINDING MY VOICE, follow Shannon’s journey as she learned and grew to become more of a public speaker, and how she’s still learning today! Today is Installment 11,  “From Presentations to Textbooks”.

In the early 2000s through the time I was going to school, I got paid to write a column about animation for non-artists for several different websites (the column started on one website, and when it changed focus, another website picked up my column and re-branded it). I decided that I wanted to take that material, add additional insights, and pitch it as my own textbook. The title I gave the pitch is one regular blog readers know as being in use for a title of a column – ANIMATED INSIGHTS.

I sent the pitch to several companies I knew published similar books, based on my time working as an administrative assistant and book buyer at the Writers Store (back when it had a physical location and before it was acquired by Writers’ Digest’s parent company) in the late 1990s/early 2000s. All rejected me, but one publisher came back with a counter-proposal. They asked if I would write a book for them under their brand called GARDNER’S GUIDE TO WRITING AND PRODUCING ANIMATION. At this point, I was happy to be able to write anything about the medium I loved, and be the first to admit that in hindsight I wish I knew more about contracts and all that. I would have handled many things differently, though I don’t regret doing the final product.

For every chapter, I insisted on getting an interview with different people so my readers could feel closer to the pros they might not otherwise get to see in person. One of my biggest lessons about the book publishing business was seeing how the editors removed portions of what I felt was crucial. Another lesson was that they should have been clearer about a word or paragraph maximum on the interviews. However, doing those interviews and getting them recorded on tape taught me a lot in forming questions and answers, and follow up questions that weren’t necessarily scripted.

So how did everything turn out? Find out in the next installment.


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