Seth Bernanke

June 25, 2003

Post #1652 – 20030625

My eldest daughter has the very annoying habit of demanding that I tell her stories in the car on the way to school. Besides turning me into a road hazard, a danger to myself and others, this is almost always before I have had my first cup of coffee. There have been a long series of specially requested tales starring the character she created called “The Magic Pumpkin” (imagine the possibilities…). However, there is one non-Magic Pumpkin story that I made up and set down on paper. It has a delightfully Pinkwater-ish feel to it and hence this email. I was surprised to find what a cutthroat and impossible business children’s book publishing is. Do you ever in your weaker moments agree to take a look at storylines from your fans and readers, or must all we aspirants go the way of the agent?

Daniel replies:

Well, no, I never have moments that weak. Part of the reason for this is the cutthroat and impossible aspect of aspiring authors. When my magic pumpkin story comes out, you might well be all over me like a cheap suit, claiming that I stole your idea. For this reason, and others along the same lines, I return all manuscripts unopened and unread. I am not of the opinion that an agent is necessarily the only way to go--and have just agreed in principle to participate in the creation of a book which will inform yet-to-be-published writers.