Witch Is to Wiccan, as pBook Is to eBook

I’m taking a publishing class, which I’m starting to enjoy more than I thought I would. My initial excitement about the class came from the fact that it was going to be taught by an editor who focused on urban fantasy and paranormal romance. But something happened – I’m not sure what – and I ended up with a senior production editor who specializes in political fiction and nonfiction.

I was devastated and disappointed at first, but soon realized that my instructor was so intelligent and absolutely amazing at her job that her genre of choice mattered very little. Then I found out that Harry Potter was one of her favorite series and I knew my lady editor and I were perfect for each other.

Our publishing class is very eclectic. We have newbie writers, seasoned authors, individuals interested in the publishing business, and some who are already paying the bills through publishing earned money and just need a degree to go with it – that gets them more money to pay bills, I was told.

The other day a bunch of us were having coffee at an overpriced trendy coffee shop, in New York City. Fine, I was examining a nasty cup of watered down tea while lusting over the delicious coffee everybody else was enjoying. I was deep in thought, trying to convince myself that my tea was yummy too *LIAR, LIAR UNDIES ON FIRE!* when a remark jerked me out of my mind: “Well, let’s just say that Wiccan is to inspirational books, what a fantasy writer is to nonfiction”.

“That is not accurate.” Said a voice, which I thought came out of my mouth, but then realized it belonged to a foreign exchange student who has always reminded me of Pierce, a century old ghost from Kim Harrison’s Hollows series.

“Dude, you haven’t read these manuscripts!” said an intern, who had assured the group, earlier (when I was in my quasi-tea-hating-dreaming stage) that the publishing house he is interning at has a few truckloads of new age manuscripts. Someone had said that they didn’t know what new age was and the expert intern blurred out the “Wiccan is to inspirational books, what a fantasy writer is to nonfiction” nonsense.

“I certainly have not, but I happen to know that Wicca is a serious religion. And to imply that it is fantasy would be severely imprecise.” The foreign exchange student (and my new hero) was red-faced and rolling his eyes in ways that would put any teenage girl’s eye rolling abilities to shame.  “I’m ­­not religious,” he continued, “but I enjoy reading and learning about other people’s interests, and I’m willing to say that a fellow of the Wiccan inclination would be mightily offended by your statement.”      

“I have to agree with German Pierce here.” I said, in a tone that by no means expressed the annoyance storm raging inside my heart and head at that moment.

“Who?” everyone asked.

 Did I just call my hero, German Pierce? Yep, I must have because he was looking at me funny too. “Never mind that,” I waved my hands in front of me and the thought away. “I’m just saying that to say something that stupid about a topic you obviously know nothing about, makes you sound very stupid.”

“I know it sounds strange,” the expert intern said. “But I’m serious; these people write about make believe stuff like if they thought it was real. I’m not exaggerating.”

“I didn’t say you were exaggerating. I said that you don’t know what you are talking about.” I almost took a sip of nasty tea, but decided to put it aside. “And your analogy was wrong, but I’ll try to put in terms simple enough for you to grasp (I can act somewhat condescending when people piss me off). If anything “Witch is to Wiccan, as pBook is to eBook.”

She looked at me like I was insane, and said, “And what the hell does that have to do with new age books?”

“My point exactly,” I got to my feet and put my laptop in my backpack. “You don’t know enough about Wiccans to understand a basic analogy that is directly related to your job, so you should probably educate yourself a bit, in order to offer adequate service to your publishing house's prospective clients.” I walked away, my backpack rolling behind me, but then turn around to make a final point. “And the tea you recommended sucks butt!”

Then I left, thinking that I will start drinking coffee again. I was also wondering why any Pagan writer would send out her work, without fully researching the publishing house she was submitting her Pagan themed writing to.

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