Random Friday


Since Sundays were busy with other stuff and I don’t have any random fact for you, here’s some writers on writing, words of wisdom or whatever… It’s been more than two months since the last, so I hope you like it! Have a great weekend! 🙂

First off, I need to explain what I see developing for a writer in this new world of publishing.

With discoverability difficult, with no real way to even manufacture or promote yourself into a bestseller anymore, the writer of today going forward is going to have to build a career slowly. And build it on quality storytelling and productivity.

In other words, the writing world has returned to what it used to be. When I came in, the standard was that if you were prolific and could keep learning and getting better and were persistent, you could start making a small living in ten years or so.

Now, with the indie road to sudden riches gone, writers must learn numbers of things to survive in this new world and start making a living with their writing.

A writer must be prolific. Long gone are the one-book-a-year writers making decent money (past the crop of older traditional bestsellers still going.)

A writer must be a good small-business person. Long gone are the days when you could have an agent take care of you.

A writer must learn sales language and be able to understand sales. Long gone are the days when a sales department did all the work for you.

A writer must learn how to do all their own production. Long gone are the days when you mailed off a manuscript and it came back a finished book a year later.

So now a writer must be a writer, publisher, production person, and a sales person, all balanced and wrapped together in tight, but separate spaces.

That’s the reality I see going forward for writers.

Dean Wesley Smith

Look, if there’s room on bookstore shelves for my books, which smash together genres like a toddler with building blocks, then there’s room on shelves for whatever you got going. Don’t worry about the ephemeral vicissitudes of “the market,” or fret over what’s trending with agents and publishers right now.

Write the story that screams to get out of you. Take chances. Make mistakes. Get messy. Don’t be like Arnold on The Magic School Bus, the kid who always said, “I knew I should’ve stayed home today.”

Nobody liked goddamn Arnold. He should’ve stayed home. Don’t be Arnold

Michael J. Martinez

The bottom line is that writers need the freedom and relief of knowing they aren’t failures just because they don’t promote books a certain way.  I know authors who have written excellent books who have done ads, mailing lists, newsletters, blogs, Facebook, and other things very well.  And yet, their sales aren’t showing it.  You’d swear by the lack of sales that they aren’t effectively promoting their books or that their books suck.  Things couldn’t be further from the truth.  They are doing everything right, and for some reason, they aren’t selling as well as they should be.

Whether marketing gurus will ever admit this or not, there are forces outside of our control that impacts our sales.  We have no control over which reader reads our books, likes it enough to pass it on to others, or even if a particular reader has a high level of influence within his/her circle.  All writers can do is control the product (book) and the type of promotion they choose to do.  From there, it is out of our control.

So take heart if you’re a struggling writer.  You’re not alone, even if you might feel like it.  No one can guarantee your success if you follow their formula.  They can only give you strategies that might help.  But they can’t promise you anything.  Take their advice with a grain of salt and apply that which fits your personality best.

Ruth Ann Nordin

So why is this? Is it because, as many would like to so casually say, I just haven’t done “enough”?  That I just don’t live and breathe writing every second of the day? That I’m not a *real* writer? Is it because my books are bad? Because if they’re good and I’m really trying I’d be a monetary success by now. I’d have tons of money. I’d be rolling in the easy dough.

Right?

Wrong. Because writing is not a get rich scheme. Period. Sure, there are going to be a few success stories. Some people can get rich at anything, but just like in traditional publishing, those are few. How many Stephen Kings are there? How many JK Rowlings? How many midlist people you have never even heard of?

Exactly.

So, my point is not to say “boo hoo” (I’m happy with where I am). It’s NOT to ask for your advice, it’s to say that maybe we should stop judging success by whether we are making a fortune and start judging it by whether we’re writing books we love – books that our readers love – and quit worrying about whether we’re selling as many as everyone else.

Besides, it’s impossible to truly compare to everyone else because, you know, no one wants to cop to the numbers.

Have a pennies on a tombstone kind of day!

Joleene Naylor

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.”
Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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2 Comments

  1. I think he’s right about the future of publishing and that’s where my problem lies – I don’t want to do all those things. I don’t have enough passion to churn out five books a year. There’s just too many other things to do.

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    • I don’t mind the productivity – I love writing – but it’s the publishing that is burdensome. I hope to write more and publish less next year! 😀

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