If You Can’t Stand the Heat…

5

 Over the past four years, the number of fellow writers I have had conversations with via social networks numbers in the hundreds.

Most are like me, simply happy that other people read our work. But there are a few who delude themselves into thinking that writing equals fame and fortune. The simple fact is that fame and fortune via writing happens to only a chosen few, whether they are in an establishment publisher’s stable, or are independent i.e. self- publishing.

In the past seventeen years I have written dozens of short stories, hundreds of articles and posted about all kinds of topics over six hundred times on my blog. I have also written four novels. Am I famous and rich? No. Will I ever be? I seriously doubt it.

One thing I do know for sure is that my readership has slowly but surely grown as evidenced by the sales figures for my novels as well as the feedback I get.

By publishing your work you automatically expose yourself to criticism, some good, some not so good. It is fair to say that there is a lot of bitchiness in the world of the written word, as evidenced by recent articles on the internet too numerous to mention here. While certain people within the publishing industry snipe at one another, no matter whether they are in the traditional or indie camps, the fact remains that we all have one thing in common – our love of the written word.

To survive you need to develop a thick hide and refrain from entering into the many bitch sessions, no matter how incensed you may feel.

Do you still want to write? Then in that case go ahead, but know that you are entering a world of jealousy, both professional and private, envy, intolerance and even hatred. Will your work be taken up by an agent – probably not? Will a publisher have the time or indeed want to read your book’s synopsis? Again – probably not. Why – because most establishment publishers are highly selective due to financial constraints and their own publishing targets. After all, they are running a business which needs to show a profit if it is to survive.

One thing is sure; the world of literature is a tough one with no room for the faint hearted. Enter at your peril.

5 Comments
  1. MFBurbaugh says

    I don’t mind the criticism, some of it is valid, we’re not perfect.

    Like you I have no delusions of being rich from writing. Heck, I’m happy when someone says ‘I read your book’.

    Do I have the fantasy of being miraculously ‘discovered’? To have a book turned into a blockbuster movie? Sure, I wouldn’t be a writer if I didn’t. Part of the weirdness of being a writer isn’t it?

    No matter how poorly written a piece is there is usually something that can be pointed out that was well crafted or well meaning, some phrase that was memorable. I don’t tear down someones writing, serves no point, my ego is just fine.

    A well written piece that hopefully will not deter a want-to-be writer, maybe just remove the blinders.

    1. Jack Eason says

      Thanks Merle. The time for bickering is hopefully over. Here’s hoping we can all now move on. 🙂

  2. Elizabeth Lang says

    Yup. It’s a tough business for everyone and many newbies need to realize that it’s not all about them. That people, i.e. readers have every right to criticize their work because they are the ones who bought it and spent their time reading it and if they think it’s crap, it’s time for the writer to grow and to grow up. It’s the nature of this industry and if they don’t get that or are so thin-skinned that they insist on taking it personally then maybe it’s time to put their works back in the closet where it will not be open to public’s eyes.

    And one thing, I don’t know why more and more self-publishers are using the term ‘indie’ to mean self-publishers exclusively. Indies is and has always been used to refer to self-publishers AND independent publishers, i.e. small presses. Maybe they realize that the term ‘self-publishing’ or ‘vanity press’ still carries connotations they’d rather it didn’t and ‘indies’ sounds better, but it would be nice if they used the term correctly and stop trying to co-op the term just to refer to themselves.

  3. derekhaines says

    I have to address your vindictive and offensive comments Elizabeth with a recent quote from the CEO of the Penguin Group. “As Penguin CEO John Makinson said: “Self-publishing has moved into the mainstream of our industry”.

    So please stop decrying Indies, self-publishers and whoever else you seem to think deserves your invective. Your use of the word ‘crap’ that appears ad infinitim in your comments offends me, and I suggest you use more polite language to express your point if view in future.

    I am a self published author, Indie or whatever term you wish to call me, but I am proud of what I have written and published. In addition, judging by the independent reviews I have received, my readers think what I write is worthy of buying and reading.

    The world has changed and it’s really high time you moved on too and cease your snobbish tirades.

    Here’s the link to the quote from John Makinson in the Guardian. : http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/aug/26/self-publishing-vanity-project-penguin?newsfeed=true&utm_source=buffer&buffer_share=ae8af

  4. Jack Eason says

    Thank you Derek for injecting some common decency into the debate. There is absolutely no need for insults or bad language, something which the previous commentator fails to appreciate.

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