Tuesday, August 30, 2011

News for Newbies . . . & Everyone Else, Too

Admittedly, I was on a roll for a week or two. I was teaching, preaching, ranting or venting about how writers have to pay their dues in one form or another. Guess I've seen too many emails from souls asking for money to start writing, money to self-publish - others asking how to hire someone to teach them how to write, teach them how to edit, and teach them how to publish, and then get a grant to do all three. I'm going to back off chastising and start empowering. The gloves are off. No rules apply.

Much of a newbie's problem today is too many choices. It used to be that you studied writing for years then petitioned a publisher to put it in print. The work was on you to write, not sell. Then when the paradigm shift occurred, and authors began assuming the responsibility of selling, it only made sense that they began assuming they could publish as well. After all, when publishers shirked their duties as PR folks, and authors picked up the torch successfully, why wouldn't they think they could self-publish as well? Enter the self-publishing entities in their various forms and you have a brand new world, and a back-room battle between self-pubbing and traditional.

Today writers have so many options to publish. That's a good thing and bad thing.

Good = The diligent and/or talented writer can hustle and make a living faster.
Bad = A writer can too easily and too quickly publish, often prematurely. They crash and burn fast.

But, I've decided that a newbie can do whatever he/she sets his/her mind to do. If you decide to Twitter or blog your book, go for it. Ebook? Go for it. Heck, mail it on weekly postcards, if you want. Just whatever you do as a writer, be prepared to invest heavily into it - personally, financially, creatively. Your project and writing endeavors must be foremost on your mind and seriously attended.

Do not be half-assed in your pursuit of a writing career. I can honestly say that is a rule that must be obeyed. The others are up for grabs.

If you adopt that stance, then write, publish and market in whatever capacity suits your fancy. Because if you become successful at it, how can anybody complain? The measure of a writer these days is in sales, readership or awards. It's that simple. Not the agent, contract, publisher or online editorial conglomerate. Not whether you've written one week or twenty years. Not whether you have an MFA or a GED. Now whether you write literary fiction, erotica or young adult.

When you boil it down, it's all about the words you put in the hands of others and how you make them stick. If you do that well, then you've succeeded. Period.


D.G. Hudson said...

This is the type of advice that keeps bringing me back here to your blog, Hope.

Encouragement, seasoned with sage advice is what newbies need. The occasional lecture is good, too, just to keep us all aware that this is a business.

Your insight is appreciated.

Hope Clark said...

Glad to please, DG. Sometimes we need that bit of validation to keep us going.

Julia Munroe Martin said...

An excellent post for me to read today -- right now with a lull in paying clients and flagging motivation on WIPs, the only thing I'm really serious about is blogging. I need to up my game and stop being half-assed. I can never have too many reminders. Thank you!

widdershins said...

Yep ... shut up, sit down, and do it!