Friday, August 12, 2011

Playing the Lottery

From Columbia Business Report, Columbia, SC:

The S.C. Education Lottery recorded $1.047 billion in sales in the fiscal year that ended June 30, making the most recent year the second-highest revenue period since the lottery launched in 2002. The popular instant scratch-off ticket games saw sales of $697 million — the highest ever in that category. “We attribute our strong instant ticket sales to the fact we listened to our customers and provided a wide range of options,” Executive Director Paula Harper Bethea said. 

During hard economic times, when families had less disposable income than in remembered history, South Carolina's lottery set record sales. The Executive Director can take credit all day long, but we know the real reason. People were daring to dream. Desperate people were seeking answers to their financial problems. Every lottery gambler enjoyed cheap entertainment deciding how they would spend their millions if they won. Bad times makes people gamble harder.

The lottery is proof that people still crave entertainment. They buy books for the same reason. Why do you think ebook sales are exploding? Your writing obligation is to pen stories that are wonderful enough to carry these people away from their troubles. The economy is hard, but people will spend money on feel-good items to serve as balm on their sore problems. 

We should be publishing only our best ideas anyway, but when the means to do so is easy, we tend to publish before it's perfect. But times are tight, and dollars fewer, so you must create your absolute best if you want to pull struggling people away from their precious coins.

The lottery is proof that people want distraction, and will spend money to find it. A ticket costs about the same as the average ebook, especially with the added Power Play. Readers sacrifice hard-earned money to read your work. The least you can do is present your best as thanks. Remember, they could be buying a lottery ticket instead.


Arlee Bird said...

The other day there was a report in the news about the California government agencies that might experience difficulties and cutbacks due to the economic problems. One of the them was the state lottery. Now how does that make sense? I thought the whole point of the lottery was to generate revenue beyond what was received in taxes. Why would taxpayer funds have to be used to sustain the state lottery offices? I think it's another instance of government trying to scam us.

Your point is more believable. When people are going through tough times they still want to dream. During the Great Depression of the 30s Hollywood and the entertainment industry boomed for the same reasons you cite.

Tossing It Out

Marilyn Clare said...

OK, an economic crunch is not the platform to declare one is an author of anything. I agree that it takes a lot of years of learning, listening to instructors with a PhD in English, learning sentence and paragraph structure, add language art, creative nonfiction elements, fiction elements, descriptive words to give characteristics and action to characters, scene is important. Yes, it's a long, long road to "learn" writing theory. Once traveled, there is no other way of life; it becomes a huge passion, a learned passion. Nathanial Hawthorne went to Walden; he escaped for the quiet and serenity of the country, but few of us can find our “Walden” when moments of escape are not our reality. Responsibility’s the head of our household. Out of work? Finding a new job, a new career or an extension of an existing career’s difficult, as you’ve said.

However, all becomes a balancing act and I, in my unemployment status, have continued in college in an English Program, schedule time on a calendar to do home work, write more, pursue the next course of action to become employed, and am thankful that those of Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota have mentored me, taught me, and gave me the joy to learn that when the critique came in, it was meant to benefit me.

You say writing’s learned, and it is. I cannot imagine making declaration as an author without formal education to learn how. I’ll graduate a double English Creative Writing/Language Theory degree next year. The benefits of education, the result of education, and where I’m at so far, is found here: In the scheme of things, this is only the beginning, there is never a reason to stop learning, for anything in life, especially when writing becomes your passion.

Hope Clark said...

Wow, Marilyn. You're in this for the long haul! Good for you!

Unknown said...

The lottery brings a little magic to the mind.
Just knowing that your economy could reach overnight salvation is a good feeling.
I think when lotteries do not succeed is due to their lack of transparency, they should prove beyond any doubt the randomness of the draw.
On the daily three and daily four draws they should give a list of how much was bet on each number to show there is no manipulation.