I was thinking about the topic for the next post for a while and while I was able to proceed with my writing, I couldn’t come up with it… until I opened Facebook today and saw a reference to an article.
Know this lady?
The author of the successful Alphabet Series, Sue Grafton, was interviewed by the Louisvilleky.com website (Full article – http://louisvilleky.com/2012/08/louisville-author-spotlight-welcomes-sue-grafton/).
Let me quote 2 pieces from that masterpiece:
Do you have any words of wisdom for young writers?
Quit worrying about publication and master your craft. If you have a good story to tell and if you write it well, the Universe will come to your aid. Don’t self-publish. That’s as good as admitting you’re too lazy to do the hard work.
Is it possible that indie publishing is more effective than querying agents & publishers, for the new writer? More and more agents and publishers seem to be treating indie books as the new slush pile.
Good questions. Obviously, I’m not talking about the rare few writers who manage to break out. The indie success stories aren’t the rule. They’re the exception. The self-published books I’ve read are often amateurish. I’ve got one sitting on my desk right now and I’ve received hundreds of them over the years. Sorry about that, but it’s the truth. The hard work is taking the rejection, learning the lessons, and mastering the craft over a period of time. I see way too many writers who complete one novel and start looking for the fame and fortune they’re sure they’re entitled to. To me, it seems disrespectful…that a ‘wannabe’ assumes it’s all so easy s/he can put out a ‘published novel’ without bothering to read, study, or do the research. Learning to construct a narrative and create character, learning to balance pace, description, exposition, and dialogue takes a long time. This is not a quick do-it-yourself home project. Self-publishing is a short cut and I don’t believe in short cuts when it comes to the arts. I compare self-publishing to a student managing to conquer Five Easy Pieces on the piano and then wondering if s/he’s ready to be booked into Carnegie Hall. Don’t get me started. Oops..you already did.
You know what’s lazy?
I don’t know every indie writer in the world, but I can tell how lazy I am.
I’m so lazy, that I work 9~12 hours a day doing my “day job”, go home and help my wife with house tasks, putting the kids to bed and then I get to START writing.
I’m so lazy, that I have a writing coach helping me improve my skills, and I attend writers groups and taking workshops. All of that, as stated, in addition to having a full-time job (With a whole lot of overtime) and being a full-time parent of 4 kids.
I’m so lazy that I re-written about 50,000 words of my novel, because I want my novel to be worth reading.
So you know what’s lazy?
I’ll tell you what. Lazy is putting all indie authors in one bucket and calling them lazy.
You know what’s irritating?
I’ll tell you what. Presumptuous people who know exactly what other people think, want, desire and crave. According to the esteemed writer, EVERY self publishing writer is a “wannabe” traditionally published writer. I’m not making this shit up, look in the quote. According to the esteemed published writer, NONE of the indie writers make any effort to master the art. because as we all know – you are only an artist if you went about it in the traditional way.
Well dear esteemed, traditionally published writer,
Did you type your books on a type writer? or rather, did you write them using a feather and some ink? If not, then I deem you unworthy. Since using a laptop is a shortcut. A shortcut for lazy people who can’t master the art.
The world has changed dear fantastic all-knowing writer. The world evolved and enabled a fantastic new thing – SELF publishing. It enables people to overcome that ELITIST, EXCLUSIVE, SNOBBY (Not to say snotty) self-serving institutes and share their art with the world. YES, there is garbage out there. YES, there are some really bad books out there. but you know what? A LOT OF THEM were TRADITIONALLY published!
The Dollar tree store where I live is full of 1$ traditionally published books that should have been filtered according to the esteemed writer.
The whole “Traditional publishers filter the garbage from the good stuff” argument is mostly elitist bull. You can read what some of the best books in history went through when submitted to these great filtering institutions here – LINK.
But that’s not it. You know that there are only RARE success stories?
Because you know that, right? if you’re not successful, you shouldn’t bother writing! What? Are you writing for any other reason? Pfft… what a loser. If you learned anything, you should have known that art is all about money-making and book sales. Nobody told you that???
Dear esteemed successfully traditionally published writer,
I write because I HAVE TO. Not because I hope to make a couple of millions. I have a day job, thank you very much and if my novel (which I will self publish, being a lazy ass as I am) sells – great. If not, I will KEEP writing whether you like it or not.
Because writing is not an exclusively technical skill. You should definitely learn these skills and never stop improving, but if you approach writing strictly as a profession, you might as well find another one.
Writing is an ART. An artist who can’t share his art is miserable. He’s not learning, dear writer, he gets frustrated because some rich man (who will later take most of the profits from the hard-working writer) decided that this writer’s art is “not worthy” of exposure to the gentle minds of the public.
On a side note, I agree. First novels can’t make a splash. And don’t let that whole Harry Potter, Wuthering Heights, Cold Mountain, The curious incident of the dog in the night-time, To kill a mockingbird, Dr. Zhivago, The lovely bones crap fool you!
And last, but not least.
What’s more disrespectful dear extremely successful and very not lazy writer?
Is wanting to see your book in print more disrespectful than pissing on a bunch of other writers?
Exodus 2:14: “Who made you ruler and judge over us?”
You know what’s lazy?
I COULD say that lazy is publishing a series of books with one main character and having each installment start with the next letter of the alphabet…
But I WOULDN’T say that.
Do you know why?
It’s because I’m not that LAZY, shallow, or disrespectful to other writers. I, for one, believe that before you traditionally published your books, you made an effort to make them the best you could. I give you that kind of credit, because I don’t KNOW you and I don’t JUDGE you. Nor do I think that your books are boring because they were traditionally published like some other crappy books I read.