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  1. #1
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    Young Writers Dazzle Publishers

    The television news feature about Ben Heckmann, an eighth grader from Farmington, Minn., was breathless in its praise. “At 14 years old, he has accomplished something many adults can’t achieve,” the reporter said. “Ben is a twice-published author."

    As the camera rolled, Ben described how “the first time I held my own book, it was just this amazing feeling.” Then he shared a lesson for others his age, saying, “You can basically do anything if you put your mind to it.”

    But his two “Velvet Black” books, depicting the antics of a fictional rock band, were not plucked from a pile of manuscripts by an eagle-eyed publisher. They were self-published, at a cost to Ben’s parents of $400 — money they have more than made up by selling 700 copies.

    Over the past five years, print-on-demand technology and a growing number of self-publishing companies whose books can be sold online have inspired writers of all ages to bypass the traditional gatekeeping system for determining who could call himself a “published author.”


    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/us...lished&st=cse#

    *_*



  2. #2
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    Yeah, I saw this yesterday, and what a bogus piece of crap it is. All of these kids are self-publishing, courtesy their parents' wallets. I'm surprised the NYT didn't caveat this b.s.

  3. #3
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    The television news feature about Ben Heckmann, an eighth grader from Farmington, Minn., was breathless in its praise. “At 14 years old, he has accomplished something many adults can’t achieve,” the reporter said. “Ben is a twice-published author."
    Why is self-publishing any sort of "accomplishment"? Anybody can self-publish if they have even a little money, and call themselves an "author." I just don't get it, I guess.

    And which "publishers" are the "young writers dazzling"? The companies that they pay to self-publish with?

    Kudos to the kids for writing and completing manuscripts - that's the real accomplishment.

    The New York Times is not what it used to be.
    Last edited by Liza B.; 04-01-2012 at 10:49 AM.

  4. #4
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    Young Writers Dazzle Publisher (Mom and Dad)

    That's the actual title.

    I think it's great that the kids self-published books. But I can't figure out why it cost $400. You can do it for free.

  5. #5
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    These scam publishers are actively targeting the kids' parents, who of course don't know jack about publishing and are easily lured by the pitch: "Launch your child's career as a novelist!" They're as bad as those life insurance companies that try to shame grandparents into buying term insurance for their grandkids. Disgusting but entirely legal.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by leslee View Post
    Young Writers Dazzle Publisher (Mom and Dad)

    That's the actual title.

    I think it's great that the kids self-published books. But I can't figure out why it cost $400. You can do it for free.
    I think it's sending them the wrong messages. Reading the kids' quotes, they seem to have become delusional.

    As the camera rolled, Ben described how “the first time I held my own book, it was just this amazing feeling.” Then he shared a lesson for others his age, saying, “You can basically do anything if you put your mind to it.”
    Ben is saying that having his mommy and daddy pay for his book to be self-published is a giant accomplishment - "you can basically do anything if you put your mind to it." And his parents are feeding their own delusions and egos that it's a "real book" and passing that belief onto their children, which it is not. Sorry. It's troubling in many ways.
    Last edited by Liza B.; 04-01-2012 at 11:15 AM.

  7. #7
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    It's definitely troubling when you see these same students enroll in your English comp or creative writing classes a few years later. They feel like they know everything (after all, they're published authors), but they lack basic skills and can't understand why traditional publishers and/or agents aren't lining up to take them on...

    The whole idea hits a sore point with me. Too often we give kids brownie points, ribbons, and awards for just showing up. These parents are not doing their children a favor.

    Jeanne

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rose Grey View Post
    +1 to that. I used to teach middle school and actually had a principle tell me that I shouldn't grade with a red pen because "it makes the kids feel bad." I got news for you, if you make a 40% on a test, you SHOULD feel bad. All this touchy feely nonsense makes me sick. When I was in school I didn't get an award for doing my work. I was SUPPOSED to do my work. Uh oh, I'm going on my teaching rant, someone stop me!
    You used to teach middle school, yet don't know the correct spelling of "principal"?

  9. #9
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    someone stop me!

    Who'd you have in mind? Paperclip?

  10. #10
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    These parents are not doing their children a favor.

    Depends on how you go about it. If my child wrote a book, I'd think it was a wonderful, encouraging indication of their creativity and interest in writing. I'd do an edit for spelling, grammar and punctuation with my child, so they could see where the errors were and fix them. And then I'd get it published - for free. I wouldn't pay $400 to do it, that's for sure. It sounds like a great project for a child and parent to do together.

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