A Few Words to the Wise

Be an indie publisher. Make a fortune!

Joe Konrath is making a fortune as an indie writer. What’s behind it? Nothing that you or I are going to match any time soon. “Incredibly, I now have forty ebooks available. Thirty-two are self-pubbed, eight are with publishers.” Not only a background as a big seller when his books were traditionally published, but a huge backlist. I don’t know how long it took to build up his readership, but anyone who thinks he’s the model for instant indie success needs to keep in mind that it didn’t come about overnight.

Beware the creeping slush pile

Used to be that ‘slush pile’ was a term for the hundreds of unsolicited manuscripts that editors might get around to when they had time. The majority were, of course, crap, but editors did find jewels in the slush piles now and then. Today, ‘slush pile’ is the traditionalists’ term for anything that’s self-published and, therefore, bound to be crap. I even happened on a mention of a small press editor’s horrified prediction that the writers will soon outnumber the readers in his genre.

The writing apocalypse is over-rated

1. People jump on bandwagons (remember the desktop publishing craze?). What do you expect in a culture that insists everyone has a book in them and then provides the opportunity to be published?

2. People who are unsuccessful eventually give up. So Mary Sue writes and publishes her memoirs of a successful wife and mother, Elaine writes and publishes her novel about sparkly werewolves, and Larry writes and publishes his proof that the internet is a conspiracy to (fill in the blank). They sell a few copies to friends and family, or to the similarly paranoid and deluded, and that’s it for the writing career.

3. People learn. That first book may be straight out the brain, unedited, with POVs switching from paragraph to paragraph, and a deus ex machina saving the day, but the second might be better. And the third might be better yet. And someone would have evolved from being a wannabe writer to a readable author.


3 thoughts on “A Few Words to the Wise

  1. As you said in a previous post, many people are in love with the idea of being a writer. Or a painter or a singer or an actor. Some might even be pretty good, but success is ellusive even for the talented, let alone…those who don’t or won’t study the craft.

    I’m pretty sure it was you, who said that, anyway.

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