Monster Hunter Nation

Fisking the HuffPo, because writers need to GET PAID

Oh my hell… You’ve got to be friggin’ kidding me. Here I am, with just a few days between cons trying to get the edits done on a book, and bestselling author Chris Nuttall had to go and post a link a HuffPo article on his Facebook page with the comment “This needs fisking.” That’s like Correia bait. How could I not look?

So I read it, and like most everything else writing related that comes out of HuffPo, Salon, Slate, the Guardian, or other pretentious, snooty, wannabe literati pages the advice is a great way to kill your writing career.

As somebody who makes a good living off of writing books, I’m going to be a little more pragmatic in my take. I don’t write to appease snoots or impress critics. I write to GET PAID. All authors who want to quit their day jobs and make a living as writers need to put GET PAID in their mission statements.

This one got long, but there was just a lot of really bad advice in there. Basically I had to write this because looking back on my career, the single best piece of advice I ever got was be prolific.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lorraine-devon-wilke/dear-self-published-autho_b_8128668.html

As usual, the original article is in italics and my comments are in bold.

Dear Self-Published Author: Do NOT Write Four Books a Year

By Lorraine Devon Wilke

No matter what experts tell you, no matter what trends, conventional wisdom, social media chatter or your friends in the Facebook writers group insist upon, do NOT write four books a year. I mean it. Don’t.

No. Seriously. She means it.

 

Unless they’re four gorgeously written, painstakingly molded, amazingly rendered and undeniably memorable books.

 

Remember that. I’ll be coming back to it. The literati have this odd belief that quantity can never equal quality.

 

If you can pull off four of those a year, more power to you.

 

I started in 2008. I’m working on novel 15 and 16 right now. I averaged 2 a year until I quit my day job. This year I’ll have finished 3. I’m considered fairly prolific and even I don’t write 4. I must need to write shorter books. However in my defense during that time I’ve published 29 (paying) pieces of short fiction (oh, and I had a stressful, demanding full time job for 5 of those years). 

 

But most can’t.

 

John Ringo wrote a book while you were typing this blog post. Kevin J. Anderson wrote two.

 

I’d go so far as to say no one can, the qualifier being good books.

 

The thing is “good” is a relatively meaningless measurement. Ringo’s fans think they’re good enough to give him mid six figure royalty checks twice a year. Kevin lives in a castle. I’m pretty sure the average HuffPo writer considers me a hack, but then again, I get paid, and HuffPo writers don’t (no, really, I was shocked to learn that HuffPo only pays in “exposure”).  

 

Good is subjective. What is good for my fans would probably be despised by the average HuffPo reader, and if I started pleasing the average HuffPo reader, my regular fans would hate it. JK Rowling and Stephen King are both “good” but write to entirely different audiences. There might be some overlap on a Venn diagram, but what’s good for some won’t be good for others. Ultimately good is whatever the fans say it is. You fail your audience, it isn’t good. You make your audience happy, congratulations. Cash your check.

 

Beyond the fact that the marketplace is glutted with an overwhelming number of books already (many of dubious quality),

 

Yep. That’s why you need to not suck. Markets mean competition. Competition is a good thing.

 

writing good books simply takes time, lots of it.

 

Not really. It depends entirely upon the author. Work habits matter a lot more than number of hours expended. My comfy pace is about 4 months to write a book, a month off to step away to work on other stuff, so I can come back with a fresh perspective to edit for a month. But I’m a grinder. 10k words a week, treat it like a real job. Butt in seat, hands on keyboard. Other writers work in creative bursts. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you produce and make your fans happy.

 

There’s no getting around that time.

 

Sure there is. It is called practice. How long does it take you to do your taxes? How long does it take a CPA to do your taxes?  See? The CPA did it faster and better than an amateur could. Why? Because the CPA does A LOT OF FRIGGIN’ TAXES. The CPA knows all the tricks and has developed a routine that helps them maximize their productivity.

 

It is the same with any career. How fast can you install a tile floor? My wife tiled our basement bathroom. She did a great job, but it took her several days. After that we paid a professional to tile our upstairs bathroom. He did it in one afternoon and it was perfect.

 

Writing is just another career. Writers like to put on these airs, like what we do is somehow magical, and mystical, and muses, and moved by art and blah blah blah, but at the end of the day it is a job, not that much different than any other job. Treat your job like a career, and you’ll get better at it. 

 

It involves learned skills,

 

Yep. You know how you learn those skills? Writing books.

 

 

unhurried imagination,

 

Imagine faster. Ideas are the easy part. The actual production is the hard part. Ideas are everywhere. I get crap from fans whenever I post about me painting, or shooting guns, or going on a trip, and they say I should be writing, but in truth all writers need to do something to uncork their brains. Do it. Then get your ass back to work.

 

My next novel, Son of the Black Sword, is coming out at the end of next month, October 2015. Mike Kupari reminded me that I first told him about the idea for it on a road trip back in 2010! I wrote like ten other books before I got around to it, still pondering on the idea that would eventually turn into SotBS the whole time. Authors have ideas constantly. We’re always imagining things. Great.

 

The part I take issue with is the “unhurried” part. You want to be a writer, then you can loaf and imagine all you want, as long as you still sit your happy ass down in front of the keyboard and produce the rest of the time. 

 

fastidious drafting,

 

Nope. That works for some people, doesn’t work for others, and I’m saying that as an outliner. I’m not a discovery writer at all. But an outline shouldn’t take you that long. If you are spending months on your outline, then you are procrastinating doing the hard part. When somebody tells me they’ve been working on world building, outlining, or research for years, it usually comes down to that’s the stuff they love, and they’re scared of the actual writing part.

 

 

diligent editing,

 

Editing is work. It’s just part of the gig. Suck it up.

 

even the time to step away, then step back, to go over it all again.

 

Yes, yes, but even when I step back between finishing a rough draft and doing the edits, I write a couple of short stories or start the next book. Because it is my job.

 

 

And, unless you’re a hack (and we know there are plenty of those out there),

 

I’ve been called a hack a lot. Usually by somebody who makes a lot less money off of royalties than I do. 🙂

 

isn’t the whole point of this exercise to write good books?

 

No. The point is to GET PAID. The thing is when you write good books, the fans like them more, and want to give you more money for your stuff. When you write crappy books, fans don’t want to give you money anymore.

 

Our most highly esteemed, widely applauded, prodigiously awarded, read and revered authors know this to be true.

 

I don’t see Well Paid in that list.

 

Donna Tartt, last year’ s Pulitzer Prize winner for The Goldfinch, took eleven years to deliver that masterpiece.

 

Eleven years? Well, it had better be friggin’ amazing. Hopefully it also sold millions of copies, because otherwise for all that writing time she made like $3 an hour.

 

This year’s winner, Anthony Doerr, had written only four books in his entire career before penning All The Light We Cannot See, wisely taking years to craft his stunning tale.

 

I’m sure it is fantastic. But for every Pulitzer Prize winner there are thousands of excellent books that don’t get that kind of attention.  

 

The cultishly-beloved Harper Lee had only To Kill A Mockingbird in her catalogue before this year’s controversial release of Go Set A Watchman (which some are convinced was not of her doing).

 

A sequel to a book that is mandatory reading in high school, which had a super famous classic movie made about it, is not average.

 

Okay, nuts and bolts, practical writing career advice time. All that above? Those examples are bullshit. Those are cherry picked items which ended up with unbelievable publicity. Your book isn’t going to get that.

 

The average midlist traditionally published book in America only sells like 15,000 copies. Some of those suck. Some of those are amazing. You don’t really rise out of that midlist mush pile unless that book gets some attention.

 

If it takes you ten years to write a book—which doesn’t win the biggest most famous award in all of literature—and you make $15,000 (I’m being generous), that means you made $1,500 for each YEAR of labor. Let’s say all that diligent proofing, unhurried imagining, and turd polishing only took up 500 hours a year. Congratulations. You would have made more money waiting tables at Applebees… before tips.

 

I don’t know about you guys, but A. I can’t bank on getting a major motion picture staring Gregory Peck and become mandatory reading for all high school students. B. I’m probably not ever going to win a Pulitzer Prize. And C. I like making a hundred bucks an hour a lot more than I like making $3 an hour.

 

Even others amongst our best, who do put out work on a more regular basis, do so with focus appropriately attuned to the quality of the book, not the depth of their catalogue or the flash-speed with which they crank out product.

 

Loaded language alert “Crank out product” my ass. For actual professional writers trying to make a living, the goal is to make the fans happy so they give you money for your stuff. Very few of us set out to write bad books on purpose. Sure, some authors get big and cash in on their names, and sometimes good writers just screw up and let out a dud book, but overall we’re trying to make each book as good as possible… And then get them out the door at a speed which enables us to do things like live in a house and purchase food.

 

But, you say, I’m not interested in writing Pulitzer Prize winners;

 

The last time I got interested in winning an award, hilarity ensued.

 

I don’t need to be on The New York Times bestseller list;

 

Been there, done that. It is pretty sweet.

 

I just wanna see my name up at Amazon and sell a few books to family and friends, and, hey, if I go viral, all the better!

 

That’s loser talk. Either that, or false humility. All writers want to be read and all writers want to get paid, and if they pretend that they don’t, they’re either lying or they’re dilettantes playing at writing.

 

They say write to the market, so I gotta write to the market. I mean, look at E.L. James…she’s hardly Chaucer and look what’s happened to her!!

 

Yes and no. That’s taking a fundamental truth of the writing business and restating it in a stupid manner. Write what you want. Write whatever makes you happy. But if you want to make money at it, you need to take that product (yes, it is a product, suck it up you delicate flowers) and find the market to sell it to.

 

I originally marketed my stuff to an audience of gun nuts. It did great, and later I went mainstream and now my audience is far bigger. But that’s still my favorite market. Not just because I write for that market, but because I am that market. I write what I enjoy reading, but I still needed to get it in front of the people who would give me money for my stuff. I know if I’m having fun writing it, my fans are going to have fun reading it.

 

Forget EL James. She’s an outlier as much as the Pulitzer Prize winners. She wrote a few books, they blew up huge and became one of those cultural phenomena things, but that probably isn’t going to happen for you. Don’t base your career on outliers. Look at professionals who consistently turn in work. Laurell K. Hamilton gets bagged on a lot by snooty critics because she writes erotic paranormal romance, but here’s the thing about Laurell. She knows her fans, she knows what they like, she writes what makes them happy, and in exchange they give her millions of dollars. Jim Butcher, same thing, wants to tell big, fun adventure stories, knows his fans, knows what they like, produces constantly, and GETS PAID.

 

Point taken. Which actually brings us to the point: what is your point?

 

I’m betting it is going to be a bunch of stuff about art for art’s sake. Which I suppose is fantastic if you want to make your living as a college guest lecturer who writes a book once in a great while so you can talk about it during cocktail parties.

 

What’s your point as a creative, an artist; an author?

GET PAID.

A purveyor of the written word?

GET PAID.

Why are you here, what is your purpose, your goal as a writer?

GET PAID.

What do you hope to achieve?

GET PAID.

Is it fame and fortune at any cost, quality be damned?

Objection! Stupid question your honor. Objection sustained.

Quality and success are not mutually exclusive. In fact, producing memorable quality works create fans, who preorder your next one, and tell their friends about you. And most importantly, a quality work will cause new readers to go back and purchase your existing back list so you GET PAID again. Oh, but you don’t have a backlist, because you only release a book every ten years? Sucks to be you.

Or is it about finely crafted work?

As finely crafted as can be in a time frame that keeps my fans happy. That way they keep giving me money so my children can wear shoes.

It’s important to know, to decide, because those principles will guide and mandate every decision you make from there on out.

It sure is.

I bring all this up because I experienced a snap the other day, one triggered by an article from Self Published Author by Bowker titled, Discovery: Another Buzzword We’re Wrestling to Understand. In it, the writer lists many of the familiar instructions toward procuring success as an indie writer — social media, book reviews, networking, etc. — but her very first suggestion to self-published authors looking to get “discovered” was this:

Publish. A Lot: For those of you who have spent 10 years writing your last book I have news for you. You have ten days to write your next one. Okay, I’m sort of kidding with the ten days but, candidly, the most successful authors are pushing out tons of content: meaning books, not blog posts.

In most categories, readers are hungry for new reads, new books, and willing to discover new authors. You’ll have a better time getting found if you continually push new books out there. How many should you do? At a recent writers conference some authors said they publish four books a year. Yes, that’s right, four. [Emphasis mine.]

Wow.

Eh… Not really. Just mathematically, that’s not as crazy as it sounds. First question, how fast do they write? Second, how long are the books? I write about 10k words a week average. I travel too much to actually hit half a million words a year, but it is easily theoretically possible. My average book is 150k long. Once I factor in editing time, short fiction, and other related projects, I’m good for about 2 ½ books a year, and I still have time to paint minis, shoot guns, and be a complete badass at World of Tanks.

 

150k is longer than average. Depending on your genre, 100k is normal, and YA books are usually around 80k. So if you are writing 10k a week, and you’re super hard core about it, then you could do over half a million words a year. If your books are only 80-100k, you could easily hit that. Me personally, that’s not my style, but I know plenty of skilled, successful authors with turn in schedules like that.

 

So, her first piece of advice to self-publishing authors wasn’t to put more focus on fine-tuning one’s craft, it wasn’t about taking time to mull and ponder what stories, what narratives, most inspire you to put “pen to paper”; it wasn’t even a suggestion to be relentless about working with professional content/copy editors and cover designers to create the best possible version of your work. No, it was the insanely insane advice to pump out at least four books a year.

 

That’s all bullshit. She cherry picked one quote from one person from an unknown context and wrote an entire article condemning it. (That’s why I like Fisking. I like to condemn the whole thing in depth).  This is also one of the only people I’ve seen to suggest shooting for 4 books a year. Even in indy I’d say 2-3 is a lot more common advice, and I’m friends with a lot of successful indy authors.

 

And this HuffPo author got one thing incredibly wrong from that excerpt, but I know exactly what the original author was talking about. The bit about you had ten years to write the first, ten days to write the second? Yeah… We’ve all seen that. An author writes their first book. They spent years and years and years polishing it. It comes out, blows up huge. The publisher comes back and says the fans are going wild. There’s going to be a movie. We need book 2 in ten months. But since the author spent years writing the first book, they never learned how to reliably produce. They rush. They freak out. They’ve not trained themselves to be professionals. Book 2 comes out, it sucks. But it still sells. You’ve got six months to finish the trilogy. Book 3 comes out, it sucks worse. The one hit wonder author fades away, never to be heard from again.

 

And the funny thing is, as I told that story, each of you thought of a different trilogy, and you were all correct.  That happens so often it is a joke.

 

And people wonder why there are stigmas attached to self-publishing.

Well obviously. Lots of it sucks balls. I could say the same thing for traditional publishing, only tradpub does have a better ratio just because any piece of garbage can be self-published, and you’ve got to jump through more hoops in traditional. The problem there is that you can make a gatekeeper happy because you wrote a piece of crap that appealed to them, and then it can flop in the market, because gatekeepers can be just as biased and screwed up as the rest of us.

But the fact there is so much crap out there in indy is exactly why you still have to write something good. That’s how you separate yourself from the herd. Note that advice she quoted above said write a lot, it didn’t say write a lot of crap. 

Thus we inevitably return to the snooty, quantity can never equal quality argument that the literati always make. Leonardo DaVinci and William Shakespeare could not be reached for comment.

In everything else in life, how do you get good at stuff? Practice. You want to shoot free throws better? You go shoot lots of free throws.  You want to learn to draw? You draw lots of pictures. You want to learn how to write books? OH NO! DON’T WRITE LOTS OF BOOKS. YOU MUST POLISH ONE BOOK UNTIL PERFECTION! 

Here is the problem. Oftentimes when somebody writes a book, and spends six years working on it, it isn’t because they’re trying to get the book perfect. It is because they wrote a shitty book, and they’re wasting their time trying to fix it. Hence my use of the term “turd polishing”.

For most authors our first book is crap that probably doesn’t deserve to see the light of day. I’ve seen them referred to as books with training wheels. Pragmatic professional types stick that piece of crap in a drawer, move on with life, and write more books. Maybe they’ll come back to it and pick out all the good bits to use in other projects later, or they’ll try to edit it again once they have more experience (or your heirs will wait until you are dead and then publish it to cash in on your name), but the important thing is they move on.

Idealistic, literati artistic types will waste six years polishing that turd. At the end of it, the turd might even be so shiny it no longer looks like a turd, and they’ll publish it to rave critical reviews, and rejoice in their whopping $1.75 an hour they made from writing before going to work their shift at Starbucks. Meanwhile, the “hack” will chuckle, cash their royalty check that pays all their bills, and get back to work on book #15.

Plus, let’s look at this another way. Say an author, even an established one, takes five years to write a book. Is that a guarantee that the book will be superior? No. Of course not. We can all name books that we waited a long time for that turned out to be utter crap. Five years is a significant time investment, but time alone does not ensure a quality product. “Taking your time” doesn’t necessarily mean quality. It can also be a euphemism for lost your way, ran out of enthusiasm, or wrote yourself into a corner.

First of all, in looking at her point of reference, I suppose it depends on what you define as a “successful author.”

I get six figure royalty checks twice a year and fans tattoo my logo on their body, yet I’m pretty sure the HuffPo wouldn’t describe me as a “successful author”.  🙂

I have a distinct feeling this may be where the disparities lie. Perhaps my own definition is a different one.

Oh, I’m certain of it.

When I self-published my first book, After The Sucker Punch, in April of 2014, I had, by then, put years into it, doing all those many things I itemized above. Because I not only wanted to publish a novel, I wanted that novel to be a work of art, a book of depth and merit, one that would not only tell a compelling story but would meet standards of publishing that authors of the highest regard are held to.

 

Somebody sold you a bill of goods. Do you know what the highest standard of publishing really is? It is if you sell lots of books. Everything else is just fluff and window dressing.

 

I was back in New York City a couple of weeks ago for a series of business meetings with publishers, editors, distributors, and sales reps. A few months before that I was in Manhattan for Book Expo, which is the publishing industry’s giant trade show. I had lots of business conversations about marketing, selling, placement, and various ways to make my fans happy.

 

You know what those people cared about?

 

Selling books.

 

That’s it. It is a volatile, dog eat dog, low margin, high competition, entertainment business. If you think big publishing is all about depth and merit, somebody is blowing smoke up your ass.

 

I wanted it to be a book that would favorably compare with anything put out by a traditional publisher.

 

That really isn’t that hard.

 

My choice to self-publish was a result of not having engaged a publisher by the time my book was done and I was ready to market it.

 

My choice to self-publish was because I had a business background, and though I’d been rejected by traditional publishing, I recognized that there was a market for my product.

 

It was not based on the notion of joining the “second tier club” where one is unbound from the stricter, more demanding standards of traditional publishing.

“Second tier club”? Yes. As insulting as that sounds, particularly in relation to self-publishing, there is no question that there are two tiers operating in the culture of the book industry.

Two? HA! Newb! There are TWENTY SIX LEVELS! I documented them here: http://monsterhunternation.com/2014/07/24/the-official-alphabetical-list-of-author-success/

 

Take a moment to think about it: based on what advice is given to self-published writers, some of which I shared above; based on the”free/bargain” pricing paradigms of most book sellers hawking those writers; based on the corner (quality)-cutting measures required to pump out endless product to meet the purportedly endless demand of those sites and their bargain-hunting readers, “second tier club” is no misnomer.

That actually makes a lot less sense than my alphabetical list of success, and I wrote it as a joke.

Where the best of traditional publishers set their sights not only on commercial viability but award-quality work,

 

That’s not true at all. Commercial viability and award winning are rarely the same product. In reality publishers make money off of their cash cows and the new hotness, so they can afford to experiment on their pet projects. Each house is culturally different, but even the snootiest literati places usually make the vast majority of their money off of the commercial stuff, and throw “award worthy” stuff at the wall spaghetti style to see what sticks.

 

nurturing authors with enduring skills and profound stories to tell,

 

Nope. That’s not true either. It depends entirely upon the editor and house, and personal relationship between the author and editor is a lot more important than any sort of quantifiable skillset. It’s more like, hey, I really like Author X and want to push his stuff, but I think Author Y is an asshole, let’s throw some marketing money at X. There have been lots of really talented authors who’ve languished in obscurity at a publishing house while they tossed money and contracts at a talentless golden boy.

 

in a climate that is selective (perhaps too selective)

 

So you are all in favor of selectivity until—let me guess—you got rejected?

 

and based on the notion that that level of quality and commercial appeal is a rare and valued commodity, self-published authors are advised to, “Crank out loads of books. if you have to write little teeny short ones to get your catalogue pumped up, do that! Don’t worry about covers; your readers don’t give a hoot about artwork. It’s all about genre, easy reads, and low, low prices! And speaking of low prices, don’t even think about selling your books for more than a dollar or two, because readers who do bother with self-published books are too accustomed to bargain-basement prices to spend any more than that. This is the 99¢ Bargain Circus Book Store, where we push quantity over quality every day of the week!! CRANK OUT THAT PRODUCT!!”

 

I’m guessing nobody actually said that, and you’re using Guardian style “scare quotes”. But hey, pile that straw up and set it on fire!

 

I’ll bet good money Donna Tartt, Anthony Doerr, and other quality writers aren’t getting that same message from their publishers. First tier, baby.

Those Pulitzer prize winners aren’t in the same market position as the thousands of aspiring authors who are reading your asinine advice. You are correct. They are a different tier. And if your life plan is to emulate them, you’re about as naïve as the kid who drops out of school because his plan for the future is to become a rock star. It might happen, but it probably won’t.

But you want to talk first tier versus prolific, I’m sure George RR Martin’s publisher would love for him to hurry his ass up and not take six years to write a Game of Thrones novel. GRRM can get away with that because he’s got an HBO show and millions of people purchasing his backlist. The rest of us still have to write books.

Look, if your point and purpose as a writer is largely related to the numbers — of books sold, of Amazon ranking, of reviews garnered, of Twitter followers and Facebook “likes” — then, certainly; follow the advice of the article quoted about.

You mean all that evil capitalist stuff that lets professional authors make a living? How bourgeoisie.

Sadly, for those of us who aren’t trust fund babies couch surfing our way through life mooching off of our rich friends, we have to actually produce and sell books.  

I know many self-published writers who are, and though I have no idea how well that’s working for them, it’s certainly the prevailing trend.

Which brings up another issue… Why does this offend you? You are obviously aiming for that fancy, book of a lifetime, literati, idealized college English class, Oprah Book Club, Great American Novel, New Yorker book club market. Why does somebody turning out 4 indy books a year wound you so? Since you’re polishing your magnum opus so much, shouldn’t you be encouraging them to keep churning out crap, so that you look even better in comparison?

Or does it just really piss you off when some indy schlub wrote a book in three months and has more readers than you do?

But if your point and purpose as a writer is to take someone’s breath away, capture a riveting story, translate an idea — whether fantasy, love story, science fiction, human interaction, tragedy, thriller, family saga, memoir, non-fiction — in a way that raises hairs or gets someone shouting “YES!”; if you’re compelled to tell that story so beautifully, so irreverently, with such power and prose as to make a reader stop to read a line over just to have the opportunity to roll those words around one more time, then don’t listen to that advice.

 

On the contrary, you want to do all that stuff? Write more. Because the more you create, the more opportunities you have to create something truly magnificent.

Instead, do the opposite: take your time, work your craft; look for the best possible ways to tell your story and allow yourself time to change your mind, sometimes often, until you know it’s right. Allow your editors time to help you mold your narrative into peak condition. Give your formatters and copy editors time to comb through your manuscript, again and again, to make sure everything is perfect. Work carefully with your cover artist to create the most gorgeous, most professional book cover you can. TAKE YOUR TIME.

That’s really naïve, and not how publishing works at all.

Write the book. Make it as good as you can. Get it out the door. Start the next one. Don’t agonize forever for perfection, because you aren’t perfect. You hone your craft by practicing it.

You don’t “allow” your editors enough time. That’s bullshit. In indy, you are paying for a freelance service. Quality professional editors aren’t going to agonize over your book forever either. They’re going to have a schedule, and they’re going to do their job, finish it, and move on to the next job so they can GET PAID. In traditional publishing, your editor is even busier, and again, they’re not going to spend forever on your book. You might wait a long time to hear back from them, but that’s because they are editing twenty other authors at the same time. Either way, if they’re professionals, they’ll tell you what sucks and make suggestions how to make it not suck. Boom. Done. Get your ass back to work.

Copy editing again and again? Same naïve thing. Indy, you pay, they work. Traditional, it goes on the schedule, they copy edit, then send you the proof to go over. There is no again and again because they are collecting an hourly wage. There is no primadonna bullshit. This is their job.

Your cover artist also wants to GET PAID, and most of them are making even less than the authors. They take a commission and they produce a piece of art. If you dick around with them for months and months making them tweak stuff, you are wasting their time. Hire a good artist, they work to spec. In traditional publishing, you have almost zero input on your cover, and by the time you are successful enough to have input on your cover, that means you’ve sold enough books that you trust your marketing staff. So shut up, and get back to writing.

Take your time? What manner of fuckery is that? Do you not understand how publishing works? You are taking this lackadaisical literati wankery method that works in one specific genre (litfic) and extrapolating out this bizarro version of the rest of the publishing industry. The rest of the publishing industry runs on deadlines. In tradepub your book is probably on the distributors calendar months before you’ve finished it, and if you can’t consistently turn in a quality product that hits those deadlines, you’re toast.  

Then take lots more to research marketing options; ask questions, weigh contradicting information, and come up with the best possible strategy for your book.

 

Contradicting information? I’m happy to oblige.

 

Do what you choose with professionalism and without the misguided push to the “top of the list,” that pervasive attitude so rife with desperation and panic. 

 

The funny thing is, when you are actually being a professional and making enough money off of writing that you aren’t scrambling to figure out how to pay every bill, and you’re not working two jobs anymore, or having to live off of your spouse’s real job, authors become way less desperate. You want to improve the quality of your writing? Not being stressed out helps immensely.

 

You’re not in a race, with anyone.

 

Sure you are. You are in a race against the fans’ impatience and boredom, and every other author and form of entertainment willing to step up to fill that void you left in their heart.

 

You are a professional author working your book your way. Be an artist, don’t be a carnival barker.

 

Well, that’s a really idealistic way to look at it. Publishers have marketing departments for a reason. I know you don’t want to sully your artistic sensibilities, but marketing is part of the job. You need to be smart about it, because nobody likes That Guy. Don’t be That Guy. But the vast majority of prolific authors aren’t That Guy. We’re too busy.

 

Be a wordsmith, not a bean-counter.

 

As a retired bean-counter, now I’m offended.

 

Be patient, not hysterical.

 

Who exactly is being hysterical here?

 

Transact wisely, but don’t lose your soul in the process.

 

At this rate, I’m expecting her to warn us against listening to Heavy Metal or playing D&D.

 

I know I’m bucking the trend, and certainly there are quality issues and dubious motivations floating around both tiers.

 

Oh, there’s lots of something floating around here.

 

It’s also certain that, if you follow my lead, you will not be able to write four books a year, at least not four full-length books. You will write, perhaps, one.

 

One! Oh, but my artistic delicate sensibilities demand that I cannot be rushed! One whole book a year! How uncouth! Barbaric! My poor muse! This Pulitzer prize winner took eleven years!

 

So why is her suggested number of one okay, but some random indy pub author’s suggestion of four is so offensive? Shit. Just go write, people. This isn’t rocket science.

 

But if you do it right, taking time and taking care, you will have written one excellent book. One you’ll be proud of years from now.

 

Yay! A participation trophy! And then it can languish in obscurity because you didn’t keep writing enough to get more fans’ attention.

 

One your friends and family will keep on their book shelves.

 

Irrelevant. I should hope your mom keeps a copy. You want to be a professional writer? Then you need thousands of complete strangers to keep your books on their shelves.  

 

 One readers across the globe will talk about on social media.

 

Weren’t you just complaining about carnival barkers? Lady, social media is marketing. I had this conversation with somebody who was Huge On Twitter. Again, irrelevant, unless they purchase copies of your books.

 

One that tells the world, I am a writer and this book is my legacy.

 

My legacy is four amazing, well adjusted, loving, intelligent, wonderful children to carry on my name. My books are just how I pay to feed them.

 

Then you’ll go write another of those…and so on.

 

Only you spent the entire article harping on somebody who does it faster than you.

 

The rest of it — sales, rankings, reviews, viralness, likes, tweets, awards, kudos, peer admiration… all that? If you do it right, if/when any of those things come, they will be warranted and well-deserved. You can celebrate them authentically, because you did not sell your creative soul to get them.

Oh fuck me. You’ve got to be kidding. She went full hipster. Those prolific authors are such sell outs, man!

You actually made the far, far better deal.

No. No, you didn’t. You come across as a nose in the air, beret wearing, snoot, telling other artists that they are making art wrong, because their artistic process doesn’t fit your arbitrary definition of art.

Okay, now that we’re past all that pretentious nonsense, you know how most of us working professional authors actually write? Like Wyatt Earp said, take your time fast.

That means write, write, write some more, get it as good as you can, quit freaking out about it, and get it out the door. You’re going to learn and get better with each book. Practice makes perfect. Books are an investment of your time. You want to make a return on your investment. So make the book as fast as you can without fucking it up. If that’s one book a year. Great. If it is four books a year. Fantastic. If it is one book every three or five years, quit screwing around. Unless you’re already really famous or you’ve got some other get out of jail free card, that isn’t going to fly.

All those stupid pretentious coffee shop questions above were a waste of time. The real question is do you want to be a pretentious hobbyist, or do you want to be a professional writer?

 

I'll be at Rose City ComicCon in Portland this weekend
Library Journal reviews Son of the Black Sword

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371 Comments on "Fisking the HuffPo, because writers need to GET PAID"

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David, internet troll
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David, internet troll
1 year 16 days ago

And, if you would like to read an ever MORE extended discussion of Mr. Corriea’s views on writing, feel free to drop by

http://harrdharrharr.org/correia-first-week-1-of-2/

which is the beginning of notes from his writing class at Weber State in May that I am compiling and posting on my blog.

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
1 year 13 days ago

YAY thank you!

Expendable Henchman
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Expendable Henchman
1 year 12 days ago

If Larry kills off Grant by making him an organ bank for Franks, I’ll buy an extra copy of MHI and give it to a child. But the son of a bitch has to STAY dead.

jic
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jic
1 year 12 days ago

Hey, I like Grant. Or at least, I do after *Nemesis*.

Dan G
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Dan G
1 year 1 day ago

I still don’t like him, but he’s definitely not as one dimensional any longer.

TheWriterInBlack
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TheWriterInBlack
1 year 16 days ago

As a reader I don’t want “finely crafted work” or “brilliant prose” or any of that. I want characters I can care about in a story I can get lost in for a time.

As a writer, then, that’s what I try to produce.

I’m not a particularly fast writer, partly because of this whole day job and family thing. Other people are and they produce the kind of books I want to read. Those, for me, are “good books”.

Vlad
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Vlad
1 year 16 days ago

“A. I can’t bank on getting a major motion picture staring Jimmy Stewart and become mandatory reading for all high school students.”

How does one confuse with Gregory Peck for Jimmy Stewart?! 🙂

Murgy
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Murgy
1 year 16 days ago

Hey, now. He had to read through the HuffPo article, first. Attempting to decipher those (alleged) trains of thought could mess anybody up! 😀

TheWriterInBlack
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TheWriterInBlack
1 year 16 days ago

How does one confuse with Gregory Peck for Jimmy Stewart?!

Well, they’re both dead.

C. S. P. Schofield
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C. S. P. Schofield
1 year 11 days ago

They are also both better actors and better PEOPLE than anyone who has won an Oscar in the last ten years.

scot
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scot
1 year 14 days ago

Clearly by confusing “To Kill a Mockingbird” with “The Guns of Navarone”. Alistair MacLean didn’t write prize-winning literature (well, except for that first short story that got him started), but he wrote a lot, and entertained many.

Kevin R.C. O'Brien
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Kevin R.C. O'Brien
1 year 10 days ago

#Scot: And he Got Paid. Don’t forget that!

Robert G. Evans
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Robert G. Evans
1 year 16 days ago

“Oh, there’s lots of something floating around here.”

LOL.

TheWriterInBlack
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TheWriterInBlack
1 year 16 days ago

HuffPo only pays in “exposure”

Oh, and stealing from a commenter on Amanda Green’s entry over at Mad Genius Club (she wrote on this same piece today): “Exposure is what you die of when you don’t get paid.”

Julie Pascal
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Julie Pascal
1 year 15 days ago

I wanted this on a shirt for my daughter who is in a film-crew certification course. Her instructor has been warning them about people who will try to take advantage of them. Can’t get just one so… if anyone is interested the links are on my facebook and G+. 🙂

sheila
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sheila
1 year 14 days ago

It’s also important to remember that Huffpo is owned by an extremely independently wealthy person and that a lot of Huffpo’s contributors- especially in the beginning, have been celebrities. Their average contributor isn’t in the same boat as the average struggling writer, of course they don’t expect to be paid.

Zsuzsa
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Zsuzsa
1 year 16 days ago
A fisking! It’s like my birthday! The whole “more time” = “better book” is one of my pet peeves, especially since my anecdotal observation has been that the more time that passes between installations in a series that I like, the greater chance that the next one is going to suck. I’m somewhat confused by Ms. Wilke’s invocation of Harper Lee here. It’s pretty clear that she has not spent the last 50-odd years polishing and perfecting her next book; it seems more like someone took her first draft of Mockingbird and published all the parts she cut out without… Read more »
Amanda S. Green
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Amanda S. Green
1 year 16 days ago

She’s published a “clarification” of what she meant and, in the process, wiped out 60 or more comments. It seems she really didn’t mean to insult any other author. She just doesn’t want authors to think they have to write fast. She is, in her words, “championing choice”. In other words, according to her, you can choose to write fast or you can choose not to devalue your craft. Sorry, I’ll write fast, practice and learn and listen to my readers. I like having money in my bank account.

TheWriterInBlack
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TheWriterInBlack
1 year 16 days ago

Basically “I’m sorry you were offended.”

richard mcenroe
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richard mcenroe
1 year 15 days ago

Choice always seems to end up in unborn babies and unwritten books. Strange, that choice thing…

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
1 year 13 days ago

“Choice” translation from hipster pretentious SJW speak: “the only choices you’re allowed are the ones that we approve of.”

IMHO, more like aborted babies and aborted books.

Soozcat
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Soozcat
1 year 16 days ago
I have a few possibly familiar names to run past this pretentious hipster: Charles Dickens, who wrote in installments for popular magazines, and who was considered a huge hack in his day. Mark Twain, whose yearly output was astounding (quoting Wikipedia: “A complete bibliography of his works is nearly impossible to compile because of the vast number of pieces written by Twain (often in obscure newspapers) and his use of several different pen names.”), and whose work has now achieved “Great American Novel” status and become required reading in American high schools. Even freaking Pearl S. Buck won the Nobel… Read more »
TRX
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TRX
1 year 15 days ago
Really?! Twain is required reading in high schools now? In the mid-1970s I worked as a library aide in high school. One day I was handed a list of books and told to poll them from the shelves. The Federalist Papers, Tom Paine, and everything by Harriet Beecher Stowe and Mark Twain. When I brought my cart back up to the office, I was told to go to the card index and pull all the cards. When I asked why, I was told the books were being removed. When I asked why, they mumbled something about “racist.” Oh. I’d already… Read more »
Shawna
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Shawna
1 year 15 days ago

FWIW, I had to read Huck Finn in high school. But then, I went to private school.

P.S. It totally turned me racist. [/sarc]

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
1 year 13 days ago

I hope you rescued those books.

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roystgnr
1 year 13 days ago

I was assigned Tom Sawyer in middle school and Huckleberry Finn in high school. These were accelerated English classes, though, so I’m not sure if they trusted the median students to be able to detect ironic anti-racism-masked-as-racism too.

C. S. P. Schofield
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C. S. P. Schofield
1 year 11 days ago

When I went through high school, in the mid to late ’70’s, Tom Sawyer was required reading for 9th grade. I always felt this was fairly typical; kids too old to simply enjoy the thing, but too young to appreciate the craftsmanship.

snelson134
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snelson134
1 year 11 days ago

Not to mention Rudyard Kipling. Books, short stories and poetry. By the carload.

RLTIII
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RLTIII
1 year 16 days ago

I checked. Her book is currently 348000 on Amazon. In contrast MHI Nemesis published within a month of her book is 14000.

TheWriterInBlack
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TheWriterInBlack
1 year 16 days ago

348,000 is one sale today after a string of nothing. (BTDT)

(And a side note for Larry’s web person: I set “notify of all new follow up comments” in manage subscriptions but only received one notification, to this one, in my email” Curious minds want to know what the problem might be.)

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Dr. Mauser
1 year 15 days ago

Yeah, Amazon rank is not a stable figure. If you get one sale a month, your rank can go from 100K to 1 million and back. (That’s my world). Now if they kept a one or two month rolling average, that might be a little more useful for comparison.

Shawna
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Shawna
1 year 16 days ago
“It is called practice. How long does it take you to do your taxes? How long does it take a CPA to do your taxes? See? The CPA did it faster and better than an amateur could. ” That makes me think of this artist I support on Patreon. (Current count on her page says she makes about $65,000 per month–yes, month–through this. Why? Because she’s very good, very prolific, and she gives her patrons what they want for a price they’re happy to pay.) One of the things she does is provide videos of her making her various art… Read more »
Truman
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Truman
1 year 16 days ago

That sounds cool, what’s the artists name?

Shawna
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Shawna
1 year 16 days ago

Sakimichan. Most of her stuff actually qualifies as fan art, which is sort of funny. Fanfic authors can’t financially profit in any way from their fanfic, yet fan artists don’t seem to have this problem. It’s curious.

Patrick W.
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Patrick W.
1 year 15 days ago

Fanfic authors can’t financially profit in any way from their fanfic, yet fan artists don’t seem to have this problem.

Konami has actually moved against one fan artist re: the latest MGS installment. It isn’t even clear to me they were trying to profit from the art…

http://www.geekscape.net/konami-takes-down-metal-gear-solid-v-fan-art-on-twitter-for-copyright

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WyrdBard
1 year 15 days ago
It’s a weird thing. One of the key things that seems to be telling is the immediately different styles. That’s what most of the ‘policies’ I’ve seen allowing it seem to differentiate on (Note: this is mostly based on the convention and online scenes that I lurk quietly so there’s the salt). Basically the art world seems to have more lee way in making references as long as it’s not an obvious copy of extant work. (It’s fuzzy an imperfect, but it’s what I’ve seen.) On paper the issues would seem to be identical but the enforcement is very different.… Read more »
TheWriterInBlack
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TheWriterInBlack
1 year 15 days ago

I think some of it is that with fanart you are generally selling a piece of art. An original drawing or painting or what have you. With fan writing you’re not selling a single manuscript, but distribution of a story.

At least, this is what I’ve seen browsing art shows and the like.

If selling fanart were more “here’s a run of 1000 prints” and less “here’s my drawing” there’d probably be more backlash against it.

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wyrdbard
1 year 15 days ago

Except much of the fan art stuff is prints not the original drawing. (More and more of it is going digitally produced as well.)

Leah
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Leah
1 year 14 days ago
actualy, there is a very clear distinction of what you can or cannot sell as far as fanart is concerned and the only reason fanartists are getting away with it, because they tend to sell one piece of art to one person at a time (so going after them is just not cost effective and way too much bother). the moment you turn it into prints, aka mass production? then they go after you in truth. and even then… depends on volume and how soon they find you. but as far as rules go. player characters/original characters set in existing… Read more »
Shawna
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Shawna
1 year 14 days ago
Since I don’t frequent artists’ booths at cons, mostly when I talk about fanart I mean online. In some cases, artists sell digital high rez files of the fanart. In other cases, one can order a print of the fanart from the artist. In other words, most of what I’m seeing of people making money from fanart aren’t selling the original–and in fact, in the cases of those who paint in Photoshop, there is no real original. As for Fifty Shades, that wasn’t really fanart. I mean, it was, but the Twilight fandom has this whole huge subset of fanfic… Read more »
Shawna
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Shawna
1 year 14 days ago

Correction: Fifty Shades wasn’t really *fanfic*, not *fanart*.

Leah
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Leah
1 year 14 days ago
online fanart is the kind of fanart I was thinking of as well.. its actualy far easier to get away with selling fanart, and in bulk, natch – at the conventions, particularly smaller ones, than it is online. online commissions, you have to be tricky to gt into that gray area. I disagree with you both on 50 shades not being enough of a fanfic of twilight – she became known in a fandom BECAUSE it was twilight. that and yes, its possible to change things around well enough that people know that you are selling fanfic, becasue they have… Read more »
Reality Observer
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Reality Observer
1 year 14 days ago

It all gets very murky at times, too.

Compare Larry’s “MHI” and John Ringo’s “Wands” for instance. Organized group of professional monster hunters? Check. Rocky relationship with a “black” government agency that does the same thing? Check. Starts with a main character that stumbles into the whole thing by being in the wrong place at the right time? Check.

Two totally different series, though. Same feel, but you know when you’re reading in one or the other.

(Of course, those two now have to make it even murkier. If Barbara or the Asatru show up in MHI… Actually, that could be fun!)

Shadowdancer
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Shadowdancer
1 year 13 days ago
Interestingly, even in Japan the indie doujinshi (fan comic) market thrives – the comics themselves are limited runs (a thousand copies?), but I’ve seen entire telephone-book thickness fan-made manga omnibus volumes before – there was a Japanese bookstore in Paris that had the official stuff sold in the upper floor, while fan-related stuff was in the basement, along with related media. There was Rurouni Kenshin doujinshi that had volumes probably 3 inches thick, and they took up two whole meter-wide shelves. It was yaoi, but from what I gather there was lots of story as well (it was all in… Read more »
BigFire
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BigFire
1 year 13 days ago

Plenty of manga artist started out as doujinshi as well. What’s actually more amusing is that some manga artist does doujin of their own stuff. Stuff their editor probably wouldn’t publish.

richard mcenroe
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richard mcenroe
1 year 13 days ago

Konami seems to be coming down witha case of the Harmony Golds.

Reality Observer
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Reality Observer
1 year 14 days ago

My daughter have the videos made by the artist who is (was?) on PBS teaching painting. Couple of hours and you see the entire painting done. Mind, it’s a landscape usually, and not one directly from life. But you can tell there are no edits where he worked several hours on some piece of it; he’s doing every last bit as you watch him.

(Dang it, can’t recall his name right now.)

Feather Blade
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Feather Blade
1 year 14 days ago

Bob Ross, he of the happy little clouds and gentle, soothing voice.

Toastrider
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Toastrider
1 year 16 days ago

I like the bit about practice. There’s been a couple of authors who cut their writing teeth on writing fanfiction. Naomi Novik, for example, started out writing Transformers slashfic, before doing story writing for the Neverwinter Nights expansion pack ‘Shadows of Undrentide’.

Her Temeraire series is pretty neat, and I hear it got optioned for a possible movie or TV miniseries. Best of luck to her 🙂

Shawna
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Shawna
1 year 16 days ago

I’ve heard that too. (Not the part about Transformers slash. I stumbled across some of that once. It was… disturbing.)

I used fanfic as writing practice, too. I always recommend doing so whenever possible. I think it’s also a great way to get feedback from readers on what it is about your particular style and stories that people like. If I’d paid more attention to that sooner, I might have written a more marketable book by now.

bornlib
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bornlib
1 year 15 days ago

Just a reminder that Kindle Worlds is a thing, so one can, at least in theory, make money from writing fanfic

Shawna
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Shawna
1 year 15 days ago

That’s true, but only for a handful of specific fandoms (some of which I’d never heard of). If it ever expands to include fandoms that I actually have an interest in (or if I get any really good ideas for Vampire Diaries, which is the only current one I even sort of watch), I’d probably try it out. I wonder if regular fanfic for those fandoms took a hit when that option became available. I certainly know of one or two fanfic authors who I’d definitely pay money to read if necessary.

Alex Jeffries
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Alex Jeffries
1 year 15 days ago

If you want to write Valiant comic characters, Konrath/Crouch stuff, CW TV shows, or GI Joe. Otherwise… not so much.

Viking ZX
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Viking ZX
1 year 16 days ago

I saw this over on the Mad Genius Club this morning and had to shake my head and laugh. Good to see you fisked this one, even if it did take some time away from writing.

Jim
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Jim
1 year 16 days ago

I love this to the very core of my being. This works for art as well. I’m neither writer nor artist, but I know what I like and I will pay for enjoying it.

Thank you for sharing this fisking of Her Snootiness.

Jim Richardson
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Jim Richardson
1 year 16 days ago

OT: Any way to get the new format blog to spread out and use my whole browser window and not the middle third only? I feel like I’ve gone back to 1999 monitors

Oakenheart
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Oakenheart
1 year 15 days ago

If you’re using Firefox, Ctrl+ and Ctrl- zoom in / out

Jim Richardson
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Jim Richardson
1 year 15 days ago

yeah, I can make the font appear about 100 pts wide. Not really an improvment. But appreciate the help.

JackWylder
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JackWylder
1 year 13 days ago

Not without losing the sidebars. One is the easiest way to keep up with recent comments and the other helps Larry GET PAID. I’m not risking the wrath of the Monster Hunter Nation OR Wendell!!

Vlad
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Vlad
1 year 16 days ago
Besides confusing classic Hollywood actors, this was an excellent piece, Larry, ridiculing an imbecilic HuffPo article. However, there is definitely an upper limit on how many books a writer can produce in a year without descending into full-on hackdom. Now part of is dependent on genre, sure. Larry writing 2-3 action books a year is one thing. However, writing one full book a month is overkill and no author can do that without producing utter garbage. One can’t even make a financial argument for it; RL Stine released one Goosebumps book a month and ended up murdering his franchise and… Read more »
Matthew
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Matthew
1 year 16 days ago

Actually, I know Asimov did it at least once.

Vlad
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Vlad
1 year 16 days ago

Interesting; what year was that? And was it purely fiction, or his non-fiction works, too?

Matthew
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Matthew
1 year 15 days ago

Combined fiction and nonfiction

1966, 1972, and 1973

http://www.asimovonline.com/oldsite/asimov_titles.html

Vlad
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Vlad
1 year 15 days ago

Looking at 1966,

9 of those books are non-fiction works popularizing science, 1 is an essay collection (“From Earth to Heaven”) of which Asimov is merely editor
1 is a short story anthology (“Tomorrow’s Children…”) of which Asimov is editor and had written his short story (“The Ugly Little Boy”) in 1958, 8 years prior
1 is a fiction book (“Fantastic Voyage”)

Lists for 1972 and 1973 are very similar in distribution.

So uh, you’re not exactly disproving my argument that writing one new work of fiction a month is overkill. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Guest
roystgnr
1 year 13 days ago

“Merely editor”, of a collection of essays of which he was the sole author?

You’re right that Asimov is a point of evidence on the novels-vs-nonfiction argument, though. IIRC in his memoirs he treated writing nonfiction like breathing, something he couldn’t imagine living without doing even after having written hundreds of books; whereas there was a period (1958 to 1982) where his fiction output averaged a bit more than a short story per year and a novel per decade.

The Nybbler
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The Nybbler
1 year 14 days ago

Asimov is who I kept thinking of reading this. Incredibly prolific, and as far as polish goes… he claimed to submit his first draft much of the time.

TheWriterInBlack
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TheWriterInBlack
1 year 14 days ago
My first drafts tend to be about 80% of whatever the final result will be. Not saying I’m all that great, but rather that for wherever I am at any given time once I finish that first draft there’s not going to be a whole lot more improvement no matter how much I fiddle with it. So I usually do an editing pass after letting it sit for a bit, run it out to beta readers. Edit based on beta response. Final proofing, and out the door. Then on to the next one. Well, actually I usually have two or… Read more »
gingeroni
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gingeroni
1 year 15 days ago

The Doc Savage books came out 1 a month from Mar 1933 to Feb 1947 and were mostly written by one person. They were good enough to spawn movies and a 1980’s reprint. Dean Wesley Smith has been writing a magazine a month for almost 2 years now. Right now he has a challenge going of 10 novels in 4 months.

Reality Observer
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Reality Observer
1 year 14 days ago

DWS is an alien multiform. I stick by that assessment…

Vlad
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Vlad
1 year 14 days ago

I will have to check them out. The “Doc Savage” stories were a favorite of one of my all-time favorite science fiction writers, Philip Jose Farmer (in fact, he wrote several of his own versions and pastiches of the character), but I don’t know whether the originals were any good.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
1 year 12 days ago

That series sold over 300 million copies. May I once kill my books the same way.

Bruce
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Bruce
1 year 16 days ago

Is it me or did the author of that tripe sound like a very condescending adult talking down to a 4 year old? You know when you have an overly intelligent 4 year old that asks how something really complex works and the adult doesn’t have a freaking clue but tries to make crap up.

Michaelbrent Collings
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Michaelbrent Collings
1 year 16 days ago

I posted it on Facebook and I will post it here. As a person who writes 4 to eight bucks a year, and makes a living at it as an indie publisher, I can say this woman doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

http://michaelbrentcollings.com/2015.09.14.ShouldIPublishLots.html

Edward "Evil Ed" Stapleton
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Edward "Evil Ed" Stapleton
1 year 16 days ago

Thank you for yet another awesome fisking article. Out of curiosity, what are some good markets for short fiction these days? I have been considering a couple of short fiction ideas but I am just starting out looking into publishing while I work on the stories. I have been leaning heavily toward self publishing through Amazon since I probably don’t mesh with the average gatekeepers political or philosophical leanings.

Wendy S. Delmater
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Wendy S. Delmater
1 year 16 days ago

I suggest you look for good markets for short fiction on The Grinder (by Diabolical Plots) or at Ralan.com

Vivienne Raper
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Vivienne Raper
1 year 15 days ago

Edward. I’m trying to find this out right now. I’m a pseudo-pulp writer who is trying to learn my craft through shorts, but I’ve struggled to find any magazines (so far) that aren’t putting out literary stuff. It looks like someone (cross fingers) has just taken a short story from me (and it will be paid. Yay!) but I’m now looking for new markets. I don’t mesh with the average gatekeeper’s philosophical leanings either – I write sympathetic violent characters.

I’m going to do a bit of research and blog the results.

jic
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jic
1 year 15 days ago

Is this the sort of thing you’re looking for?

http://www.beattoapulp.com/home.html

Stealthy Jack
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Stealthy Jack
1 year 16 days ago

Fuckin hipsters, man.

Raptor
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Raptor
1 year 16 days ago
That was the biggest load of horse hockey that I’ve read in quite a while. The original article, I mean, not your fisking. That was pure gold, as usual. And I agree wholeheartedly: time spent polishing does not equal quality. Hell, I spent probably 6 or 7 years writing, editing, scrapping, re-writing, re-editing, scrapping again, lather-rinse-repeat my masterpiece that turned out to be an unpublishable pile of crap. Polishing a turd indeed. On the other hand, my first self-published work went from idea in my head to uploaded to Kindle Direct in a little over a month. Granted, it’s a… Read more »
Raptor
Guest
Raptor
1 year 16 days ago

Also, and apologies for being a pain in the ass, but just a heads-up: I tried to Connect With WordPress for my initial comment, but the blog still says that “Social Login” is not configured properly.

Truman
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Truman
1 year 16 days ago

I had this same issue with google and wordpress

Greg
Guest
Greg
1 year 15 days ago

I’ve had this problem all along. “Social Login” never seems to be working.

JackWylder
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JackWylder
1 year 13 days ago

I know how to fix it, but it involves the ILoH doing a bunch of stuff that takes away from his writing time. It WILL get fixed at some point, but it probably won’t exactly be “soon”- (at best “soon-ish”)

Greg B
Guest
Greg B
1 year 16 days ago

One does not simply write crap for the Guardian,
And not expect to get bitch slapped by the ILOH.

Greg B
Guest
Greg B
1 year 15 days ago

Whoops.
Huff po. Not Guardian.
My jokes aren’t even funny if I can’t get the subject right. Big dummy, geeze.

Aacid
Guest
Aacid
1 year 15 days ago

It takes defined palate to differentiate between grades of excrement

Jeff Gauch
Guest
Jeff Gauch
1 year 16 days ago

If the quality of a work is inversely proportional to the time taken to produce it, logic dictates that the perfect book is the one that is never published.

Which, in the case of Lorraine Devon Wilke (and so, so many others), is true.

Shawna
Guest
Shawna
1 year 16 days ago

“If the quality of a work is inversely proportional to the time taken to produce it, logic dictates that the perfect book is the one that is never published.”

Logic’d.

Guest
Dr. Mauser
1 year 15 days ago

As I said over on MGC, it’s the old Socialist/Communist “Labor theory of Value”. The value of a good is purely based on the amount of labor put into it.

It’s BS, of course. The value is what someone is willing to pay for it.

Greg
Guest
Greg
1 year 15 days ago
That is a misunderstanding and misapplication of the principle. The COST of the good inherently includes the value of all the labor participating in the production OF the good. Those numbers are important when considering whether or not the end-price truly reflects the entire costs of production, or if one or more of the producers are being forced to subsidize the consumer by accepting less than the cost of the good. The famous example from the 90s was the study that showed that paying migrant farmworkers picking lettuce a livable wage would raise the cost of an average head of… Read more »
Guest
Robin Munn
1 year 14 days ago

You’ve been badly misinformed about economics. The cost of anything is what people are willing to pay for it.

You could stand to read some more economists who get it right. I recommend http://patterico.com/category/human-action-and-choice/ for starters; it’s in backwards order, so start at the bottom for part 1 (you might have to click “Next Page”) and read upwards.

Greg
Guest
Greg
1 year 14 days ago

Incorrect. The cost of something is the expense in time and materials that go into producing it.

It takes X amount of material object and Y amount of labor to make a car, for example. If you don’t have X amount of material objects and Y amount of labor, you have no car.

There is no escaping this simple fact.

Expendable Henchman
Guest
Expendable Henchman
1 year 12 days ago

Actually, it takes 1.5X material and 10Y labor to make a car.

Julie Pascal
Guest
Julie Pascal
1 year 14 days ago

Labor exploitation in the US is mostly based on the laborers not speaking English. Legal or illegal, Mexican or some other nationality. It’s about being trapped in a job because you don’t have the language. It might be Vietnamese in Silicon Valley or grad students from Japan or unskilled labor the common factor is that someone who DOES speak your language can exploit your lack of ability to communicate. To say “screw you” and walk.

Greg
Guest
Greg
1 year 14 days ago

BS! Wal Mart workers are exploited left right and sideways, so are fast food workers. Most of them speak English just fine.

TheWriterInBlack
Guest
TheWriterInBlack
1 year 14 days ago
Wal Mart workers are exploited left right and sideways “You keep using that word…” You understand, don’t you, that Wal Mart’s net margin is only about 3.4%. Run that past the 1.4 million workers in the US and see that it gets you? (Hint: it’s not much.) I ran the numbers on “executive compensation” and if Wal Mart’s executives entire combined compensation packages–salaries, bonuses, options, profit sharing, etc. were waived and instead shared among the workers that would be about $10 per year per worker. So even if Wal Mart were to forego all profit (which would prevent any growth… Read more »
S1AL
Guest
S1AL
1 year 13 days ago

Hell, just working in a retail-parallel industry (i.e. DSD vendor), I can tell you that those workers aren’t being exploited… on the whole they’re simply completely inexperienced, incompetent, or lazy. If anything it’s the lower level management (Wal-Mart Assistant, Fast Food Shift) that gets exploited or underpaid.

But that just doesn’t fit the narrative.

Julie Pascal
Guest
Julie Pascal
1 year 14 days ago
“BS! Wal Mart workers are exploited left right and sideways, so are fast food workers. Most of them speak English just fine.” Evidence that you really can’t imagine, in your world view, what actual labor exploitation looks like. It’s not unheard of for someone to get arrested for slavery in the US… doesn’t happen often but the last case I recall was the exploitation of a Chinese grad student. The posters asking people to report human trafficking in Albuquerque? Those victims don’t work at Wal-Mart. I’ve tutored Vietnamese speakers in California who were desperate to get enough English so that… Read more »
Joe in PNG
Guest
Joe in PNG
1 year 14 days ago

So, Greg… I’m sure you pay all your Employees a full $15 + dollars per hour, and full benefits beside?
Or are you one of those people long on talk, short on actual experience?

Shadowdancer
Guest
Shadowdancer
1 year 13 days ago

Psh. “exploitation.’
http://www.news.com.au/finance/work/mambais-sewer-divers-make-your-job-look-like-the-greatest-profession-in-the-world/story-fnkgbb6w-1227532404297
Bet they wouldn’t do this job and run back to Walmart if given the choice.

Expendable Henchman
Guest
Expendable Henchman
1 year 12 days ago

Thanks, Shadowdancer. I will enjoy my job tomorrow, and be grateful for it.

Feather Blade
Guest
Feather Blade
1 year 14 days ago

The misunderstood/misapplied principle is the one that everyone in society uses.

Hence the students who turn in a crap model for critique and whine”but I spent so much time on this model!”

As if the amount of time they spent makes the model less crap.

Thomas Monaghan
Guest
Thomas Monaghan
1 year 16 days ago

c4c

gingeroni
Guest
gingeroni
1 year 15 days ago

.

Shadowdancer
Guest
Shadowdancer
1 year 13 days ago

dotting up too

Guest
Jason Cordova
1 year 16 days ago

I wrote 6 books last year. They all made me enough money that we bought a house. Screw you, Hoity Toity Literati Person.

bornlib
Guest
bornlib
1 year 15 days ago

I can only find two. You have a pen name?

Guest
Jason Cordova
1 year 15 days ago

No pen name. The three Kaiju Apocalypse books, Murder World: Kaiju Dawn, The Hand of God… huh. I was counting The Dead of Babylon as a book in my head but it’s only a short story. Okay, I miscounted. Only 5 books. My mistake.

Guest
Jason Cordova
1 year 15 days ago

Actually, I did write 6 books last year. Wraithkin just hasn’t sold yet.

Jon Camp
Guest
Jon Camp
1 year 16 days ago
I watched a couple of interviews that Andy Weir did about his writing of “The Martian” and he’d definitely be what you describe as a dilettante. He hasn’t quit his day job, and introduces himself as a programmer. Basically he did a thought experiment about what it would take to rescue someone stranded on Mars, wrote a simulation program for the orbital mechanics of it, and then put up serialized chapters on his website that anyone could read for free. People liked them, so he compiled them into a mobi file, but people couldn’t figure out how to download that… Read more »
jic
Guest
jic
1 year 15 days ago

So if it wasn’t for people who are incapable of performing simple tasks, he wouldn’t have had a huge bestseller that was adapted into a movie?

Guest
Dave H
1 year 15 days ago

That’s pretty much a programmer’s career, except for the “huge bestseller” and “adapted into a movie” parts.

When I worked in telecom my boss had a favorite saying, “Talking was free until the phone was invented.”

Kese Smith
Guest
Kese Smith
1 year 15 days ago

His audio book was also very good. Made the long commutes tolerable. In a related note: a friend of mine who works at NASA said Weir came by not long ago for book signings. A lot of people brought potatoes for him to autograph.

T.L. Knighton
Guest
T.L. Knighton
1 year 16 days ago
I freaking hate people like this. “A book should be lovingly crafted, agonized over for ages before finally being permitted to see the light of day.” And, if you’re someone special, you can make a living like that. Most of us can’t. At all. Since last April, I’ve published two novels (short by today’s standards, admittedly), a novelette, and three short stories. The novelette, which came first, is something I’m proud of. Not because of the writing. I cringe over that crap. No, I’m proud of it because that bitch SOLD! I put it up on Amazon, and people freaking… Read more »
roughcoat
Guest
roughcoat
1 year 15 days ago
So far today I wrote for about 3 hours. I was writing pretty slowly and kept looking stuff up because I was writing a scene where I wanted to get the technical details right. I think I wrote about 1700 words. I’m a night owl, so I’ll spend another 4-5 hours writing before I go to bed. I should easily hit 4000, maybe 5000 words today, and I’m not rushing. The story is just coming freely and I am enthusiastic about the idea so I want to see where it goes. I just started this story a few days ago,… Read more »
T.L. Knighton
Guest
T.L. Knighton
1 year 15 days ago

In all fairness, I remember reading something that had all these “pro” writers average daily word counts. Quite a few seemed rather happy with their 250 words per day average.

I sat here and realized that I can fart out 250 words. :/

roughcoat
Guest
roughcoat
1 year 15 days ago

If someone only writes 250 words a day, I have to assume they are either trauma surgeons on call 24/7 who only find time to write while taking a dump, or they like being labeled a writer a lot more than actually writing.

Ended up at ~6200 words yesterday, by the way, and that was with taking a 4 hour break to eat dinner with the family and watch the Yankees game, and generally letting myself get distracted left and right. *Shrug* Apply ass to seat and fingers to keys and it’s amazing how much work happens.

BigFire
Guest
BigFire
1 year 15 days ago

Glen Cook used to work in a GM plant operating a machine that requires his attention for brief period of time every once in a while. He wrote the first 3-4 Black Company and a couple of other novels in between the time that requires his actual attention.

Stan Bundy
Guest
Stan Bundy
1 year 10 days ago
The only times I ever averaged 250 words a day when actively writing was writing 2000 or so words a day for 2-3 days for an RPG project, sending out the results by email, and then waiting 10 days to get reports from my local players and internet playtesters on how the game mechanics of the items worked, or didn’t work. Ironically, by the time I’d finished the article a couple months later after several playtest passthroughs, the publisher was no longer accepting articles for their licensed products, only the ones they fully owned. It ended up as a well-tested… Read more »
Hugh Mannity
Guest
Hugh Mannity
1 year 14 days ago
On the strength of this post, I’ve just grabbed the Kindle version of _After the Blast_ OK, it was only $0.99 — but if I like it (which I suspect I will) I’ll buy all the other stuff that follows. Which is my usual modus operandi. It costs me a fortune with prolific authors, but it’s worth it. A good book beats a good TV show. Hell, a mediocre book beats a good TV show in terms of nutritional content for the brain. A good idea, poorly presented in a book leaves room for the reader to improve on it.
T.L. Knighton
Guest
T.L. Knighton
1 year 14 days ago

I appreciate that. I will maintain that it is FAR from my best work. I was serious when I said I cringe at some of my writing in that one.

But I’m appreciative of the support. 😀

Joe in PNG
Guest
Joe in PNG
1 year 16 days ago
Actually, the Huffpo person has a point. If you look at the article as advice for the hobbyist writer with literati pretensions, then it is right spot on perfect. This is a masterclass on how one can put on the artistic airs of being a writer without having actually published anything (coughdamiaencough). This allows the lazy writer to quell the voice of conscience with “I don’t want to write too much, I don’t want to be a hack”. It’s a bit like small business advice from the owner of one of those “Wealthy Wife” boutiques in a fashionable shopping district.… Read more »
Celia Hayes
Guest
Celia Hayes
1 year 15 days ago

Pretty much my impression as well … a dabbler and dilettante, wanting to put on the airs of being a writer, without a solid schedule of work and a visible track record.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew
1 year 16 days ago

Speaking of “Get Paid”, have yu considered pulling a Madmike and putting together an ebook of your blog posts, maybe arranged by topic (and maybe by hilarity level)?

Alex Jeffries
Guest
Alex Jeffries
1 year 15 days ago

“The Revolution Will Be Fisked” by Larry Correia.

Guest
Dave H
1 year 15 days ago

John Scalzi did it, and Baen sold me a copy.

John Van Stry
Guest
John Van Stry
1 year 15 days ago

*Applause*

Patrick W.
Guest
Patrick W.
1 year 15 days ago

http://www.amazon.com/gp/entity/Lorraine-Devon-Wilke/B00K2ZOLSA?ref_=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1442243859&sr=8-1&pldnSite=1

Lorraine Devon Wilke – writer,photographer, singer and songwriter – started early as a creative hyphenate.

A creative hyphenate. Umm, wut?

And for all of her going on about how important covers are, the ones I’m seeing look almost painful.

T.L. Knighton
Guest
T.L. Knighton
1 year 15 days ago

Seriously, she must not run in the same indie circles I do. I’ve had a LOT of discussions with folks about cover designs. It’s actually kind of a big thing for a lot of us, because we know that covers are marketing.

bornlib
Guest
bornlib
1 year 15 days ago

I do like your covers for the Soldiers of New Eden books one and two. Book three… what happened?

T.L. Knighton
Guest
T.L. Knighton
1 year 15 days ago

I had someone hook me up with new covers for 1&2. The third one will be getting a new cover as soon as I get paid enough to afford it. 😀

Were-Puppy
Guest
Were-Puppy
1 year 14 days ago

I’m going to get your first book when I come across some money. I like that it says the setting is in North Ga.

T.L. Knighton
Guest
T.L. Knighton
1 year 14 days ago

I appreciate that. Book One goes through Georgia and ends up in North Georgia. Books Two and Three are in Southeastern Tennessee.

They say write what you know, and I know the Southeast. Especially GA. 😀

Were-Puppy
Guest
Were-Puppy
1 year 14 days ago

How many Conan stories do you think those Frazetta covers sold? A good cover is great marketing. Unless the cover has nothing to do with whats inside.

Shawna
Guest
Shawna
1 year 15 days ago

I thought the funniest part was how her “from the author” section is in interview form. Since there’s no actual attribution for who the questions came from, I’m forced to assume that she made them up herself. In other words, she put to paper one of those fantasy interviews that authors daydream about before they get published–all the questions they hope someone will ask them–and then put that right out there on the internet instead of keeping it in her head where it belongs.

John Richard Ellis
Guest
John Richard Ellis
1 year 15 days ago

There’s a book by Howard Mittlemark and Sandra Newman, HOW -NOT- TO WRITE A NOVEL.

It’s eerie how many things they say in the book with tongue planted firmly in cheek this HuffPo writer says dead set seriously, without a hint of awareness. <_<

Guest
Dave H
1 year 15 days ago

Have you ever noticed how much of the stuff that people say on the Net is bitching about stuff other people said on the Net?

And before you folks start pummeling me, think:
1) I’m not just talking about Larry. Wilke shot first.
2) I’m doing it too.
3) And you’re about to.

Shawna
Guest
Shawna
1 year 15 days ago

As opposed to how lots of what people say in the real world isn’t about what other people are saying or doing? It’s not just the internet, Dave. It’s humanity.

Guest
Dave H
1 year 15 days ago

You’re right, I know. But when it’s a neighbor ranting about the guy across the street the noise goes away after a while. On the Internet, it never goes away.

Reality Observer
Guest
Reality Observer
1 year 14 days ago

Um? It’s called closing the browser window.

Note that the whole “Hugo” thing has died down to a low mutter for now. Yes, it will rev up again, inevitably – just like your neighbor.

deadcenter
Guest
deadcenter
1 year 15 days ago

She writes like Clamps.

T.L. Knighton
Guest
T.L. Knighton
1 year 15 days ago

Now that’s just mean.

Not that I’m not willing to take your word for it, mind you.

Shadowdancer
Guest
Shadowdancer
1 year 13 days ago

She writes what Clamps wishes he could write like. And she’s the kind of ‘advisor’ he’d listen to.

viktor
Guest
viktor
1 year 15 days ago

She needs to tell Georges Simenon he was doing it wrong:

He said, “You know, you have a beautiful sentence—cut it. Every time I find such a thing in one of my novels it is to be cut.”

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/5020/the-art-of-fiction-no-9-georges-simenon

BigFire
Guest
BigFire
1 year 15 days ago

I forgot which one of the classic Warner Bros. cartoon director went the extra mile of cutting the frame while audience testing his cartoon. He keep on cutting the unnecessary frames until it stop being funny.

Were-Puppy
Guest
Were-Puppy
1 year 14 days ago

That utilitarian style mindset can ruin things when taken too the extreme.

Cargosquid
Guest
Cargosquid
1 year 15 days ago

Oh my God……

No wonder she’s not getting read….if that turgid piece of crap is an example of her prose.

I can see the wrist on the brow, fainting couch near….. “I’m an artist!”

Frank Probst
Guest
Frank Probst
1 year 15 days ago

One critique: You shouldn’t be aiming to entertain just Oprah, but on the off chance that she picks your book for her book club, your book will probably get you six to seven figures. You can like or dislike the books she picks, but they all become instant best sellers. If you have to choose between Oprah or any sort of award, pick Oprah. Like her or not, you can’t deny that she gets books to sell.

Reality Observer
Guest
Reality Observer
1 year 14 days ago

Sigh. Unfortunately, my books are going to be ones she might actually pay attention to. So she can tell her faithful serfs what not to buy.

Ah, well, there are many heathens out there that are not members of the Oprah cult.

Av willis
Guest
Av willis
1 year 15 days ago

So if time spent preparing a manuscript equals quality, wouldn’t that make Damien Walker the next Stephen King?

T.L. Knighton
Guest
T.L. Knighton
1 year 15 days ago

Damien would be Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, and any number of a thousand other well known authors based on how long it’s going to take for that book to get written.

Doctor Locketopus
Guest
Doctor Locketopus
1 year 15 days ago

Tolkien is far more prolific than Damien Walter, and Professor T. has been dead since 1973.

T.L. Knighton
Guest
T.L. Knighton
1 year 15 days ago

I’m referring to quality. Damien started writing his book–with the UK’s tax dollars in his pocket– before my daughter was born. She’ll probably graduate medical school before it’s done.

Doctor Locketopus
Guest
Doctor Locketopus
1 year 13 days ago

I figured. I just thought it was funny that a guy who’s been dead for 42 years has published a half-dozen new books (not even counting translations, new editions, etc.) in the time that the Mighty Damien has been working on one.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 15 days ago

Lying in a fictional novel makes little sense, a thing which probably perplexes Walter like a Gordian Knot.

Shawna
Guest
Shawna
1 year 14 days ago

Psst… All novels are fiction.

Adam Lawson
Guest
Adam Lawson
1 year 15 days ago

“undeniably memorable books”

So… nothing by the anti-puppies SJW hacks, then.

Expendable Henchman
Guest
Expendable Henchman
1 year 12 days ago

In fairness, I think we’ll all remember “If You Were a Dinosaur My Love” for a long, long time.

snelson134
Guest
snelson134
1 year 11 days ago

I thought the brain blocked out traumatic experiences….

deadcenter
Guest
deadcenter
1 year 15 days ago
Seriously though, apply what she wrote to any craft profession rather than what she seems to be defining as an art. A cabinet maker, stone worker (not sculptor), heck a wood worker that produces musical instruments, approach the job the way she suggests means starvation and from her article it seems like she’d enjoy that ride because it was in pursuit of art. Idiot. As someone pointed out already, Dickens, Twain, Agatha Christie (short books yes, but a lot of them) all defined being prolific before being prolific was looked down upon. Is writing art? I don’t know if it’s… Read more »
Christopher M. Chupik
Guest
Christopher M. Chupik
1 year 15 days ago

I haven’t read any of his novels, but I admire Edgar Wallace. Dude wrote 170 novels and 900 short stories.

Cortland Budin
Guest
Cortland Budin
1 year 15 days ago

Loved this – thank you for posting! (btw I love your MH series!)

Sparky
Guest
Sparky
1 year 15 days ago

The weirdest part:

“I know many self-published writers who are, and though I have no idea how well that’s working for them,”

Then, uh, why don’t you ask them? Wasn’t this the entire point of the article to answer this very conflict, or am I missing something?

Aacid
Guest
Aacid
1 year 15 days ago

The article was so that she could pontificate and feel better for taking years on her own book.

SuperNaut
Guest
SuperNaut
1 year 15 days ago

“Get your ass back to work.”

Yep.

James May
Guest
James May
1 year 15 days ago

Stupid, stupid Max Brand.

TheWriterInBlack
Guest
TheWriterInBlack
1 year 15 days ago

The person being fisked reminds me of this other article I saw recently “nine signs you’re really a writer.”

Apparently, sitting down and writing isn’t one of them. @_@

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14328/9-signs-youre-really-a-writer-no-matter-what-your-day-job-is.html

Shawna
Guest
Shawna
1 year 15 days ago

Wow, that was one of the most inaccurately-titled articles I’ve seen in a while.

Guest
Dave H
1 year 15 days ago
Some web sites only post content to get clicks. It doesn’t have to be good content, just something with a catchy title to draw people in. And let’s face it, wannabe writers are some of the neediest people you’ll ever meet. (As opposed to real writers who are just getting started. They may not have many skills, but at least they know they have to do the work.) I’ve been approached to write content for web sites like that a couple of times, and even offered money. (Something like 50 cents per one page article and a whisker of a… Read more »
T.L. Knighton
Guest
T.L. Knighton
1 year 15 days ago

The funny thing is, I’ve probably sold more than that twit and none of those things are what makes me a writer.

Zsuzsa
Guest
Zsuzsa
1 year 15 days ago

Wow. By that standard, I believe that I’m really an electrician. I appreciate my electrical system when it works well, and when I run across something that’s wired in a stupid way (i.e. putting the light switch for the bathroom light outside the bathroom), I think, “Who was the idiot who got paid to do this? I could do better.”

The fact that I know almost nothing about practical electricity and have never wired up a circuit more complicated than attaching a battery to a light bulb would, by these standards, be entirely irrelevant.

Reality Observer
Guest
Reality Observer
1 year 14 days ago

Yep. BTW, there are extremely good reasons for putting the light switch outside of the bathroom. Two are that actually most bathrooms are some of the worst trip/slip hazard areas in a typical household (thus it is good to have the light on before you even set one foot inside), and that having it outside means condensing water cannot seep into the wiring (which is considered to be a badness kind of thing).

Zsuzsa
Guest
Zsuzsa
1 year 14 days ago
Interesting, though I don’t think that either of those reasons I have apply to the bathroom I’m thinking of (there’s no bath or shower, so there isn’t much condensing water, and the floor is carpeted, so no real slip hazard). Still good to know that there might actually be a reason for the arrangement that I just didn’t understand. Still, I don’t think that either of those affect my status as a “real electrician.” I don’t have to actually be able to do better (much less make a real circuit that’s better), I simply have to believe that I can,… Read more »
Leah
Guest
Leah
1 year 14 days ago
oy. I can pretty much answer yes to every one of those questions and i KNOW I’m not a writer. I especially love the “you love beautiful writing” and “you have celebrity crushes on writers”. yeah, I also love beautiful dancing, doesn’t make me a ballerina. and I have crushes on writers, becasue I admire their work, same way I admire the work of artists, actors, musicians etc. doesn’t make ME one. good lord. now. I WOULD argue that even if you haven’t sold a book yet, you could still be a writer. provided you have actualy written something, hopefully… Read more »
Shawna
Guest
Shawna
1 year 14 days ago

Thank you for recognizing that fanfic writers are writers. (Naturally, there’s a lot of crap, but there’s also some very professional-quality fanfic.) One of the best compliments I ever got on my fan fiction was a rec of my (300k-word) story that said, “This author deserves a publishing contract.” And as a reader, there’s a certain fanfic writer who I’d probably count among my top 10, maybe top 5 favorite living writers.

Guest
Robin Munn
1 year 14 days ago

… there’s a certain fanfic writer who I’d probably count among my top 10, maybe top 5 favorite living writers.

If that writer is Vathara (who would my personal pick for favorite fanfic writer and would probably land in my top 10), have you heard yet that she has a book out? Under the name “C. Chancy”:

http://www.amazon.com/Net-Dawn-Bones-C-Chancy/dp/1514759837

I haven’t bought it yet because I’m too busy right now and can’t afford to lose a whole day while I devour a book, but I’m DEFINITELY going to be buying it soon.

Feather Blade
Guest
Feather Blade
1 year 14 days ago

Awesome! Thanks for the link. I love her fanfic, and this book sounds all sorts of good ^_^

Shawna
Guest
Shawna
1 year 14 days ago

No, I hadn’t heard of Vathara. The one I was thinking of goes by the pen name Fernwithy. She’s got a marvelous feel for writing characters and relationships. Oddly, it seems her occasional attempts to write original fiction never goes very well. She can’t seem to get “inspired” to write anything unless it’s fanfic. Which is a pity, because she’s very good. (I read her during her Harry Potter phase, but she’s been on a Hunger Games kick for a good long while now.)

Bugmaster
Guest
Bugmaster
1 year 15 days ago
I originally marketed my stuff to an audience of gun nuts. It did great, and later I went mainstream and now my audience is far bigger. But that’s still my favorite market. Not just because I write for that market, but because I am that market. How do you strike a balance, though ? I mean, obviously you can make more money by writing for a more mainstream market, so why wouldn’t you just completely abandon your favorite niche (“gun nuts”, in this case) ? On a separate note, don’t knock pretentious hobbyists, some of the stuff they produce is… Read more »
Andrew
Guest
Andrew
1 year 15 days ago

If you have a fully functional game, you’re not pretentious. You’re actually a game writer/designer/programmer. Same for writing.

As for why not abandon the niche, I think that, in LC’s case, he’d have a hard time doing that. His perspective and story style is one that the gun culture likes, because he is that market. He’d have to write as a different person in order to depart from that. He’s writing from the place where the ven of “mainstream” and “gun culture” overlap, and the audience is everyone who’s tastes find that spot appealing.

Bugmaster
Guest
Bugmaster
1 year 15 days ago
If you have a fully functional game, you’re not pretentious. You’re actually a game writer/designer/programmer. What does “fully functional” mean, though ? As I said above, I’m very much looking forward to trying out No Man’s Sky, but IMO there’s a pretty good chance that the game will be boring to play — despite being fully functional from a technical point of view. I hope that’s not the case, but the dev team’s goals are really ambitious, so it’s possible. I’m not sure if that makes them “pretentious” or not. FWIW, I’ve played Gone Home without being aware of all… Read more »
Andrew
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Andrew
1 year 15 days ago
If a particular niche goes away, it means that with the entire internet available to see, download, praise and pay for it, it might just not be interesting enough to sustain a following. LC appears to be targeting his advice to people who want to be professional writers. That means “GET PAID” enough that you can primarily write. If a particular niche/writer combination doesn’t produce enough pay to sustain the combination, at least one part will have to change. If the niche doesn’t produce enough pay, it remains in the amateur domain, where work is done as a sideline at… Read more »
jic
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jic
1 year 15 days ago

Hey, they spent 15 years on *Duke Nukem Forever* and that was the best game in history.

Wasn’t it?

Leah
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Leah
1 year 14 days ago
one of my favorite video game developers (Naughty Dog) said something that resonated (and I think Larry might agree with that as well, since that’s basically how he writers) . make something YOU would enjoy playing/reading/etc wanting to get paid is not mutually exclusive with wanting to make something awesome. and honestly? everything is a risk. even when you have an audience in mind, when you take that first step? submit that first book, or that indy video game for greenlight? there’s a chance people will love it. and there’s a chance people will not. but you have to take… Read more »
James May
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James May
1 year 15 days ago
This woman is assuming a thing not in evidence: that time equals art. One could equally make an argument a lack of time equals art. If you look at the famous men’s magazine artist Mort Kuntler, there is no doubt in my mind the art he did under tight deadlines is superior to his later Civil War art he did at his leisure. Frank Frazetta was famous for putting off his deadlines til the last minute and then cranking out masterpieces. Look at film noir from the ’50s made in a matter of weeks on tight budgets compared to later… Read more »
Joe in PNG
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Joe in PNG
1 year 15 days ago

Look at Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”- cranked out as kind of a break from writing his article “Strange Rumblings in Aztlan”. Hell, most of Hunter’s best was stuffed into the Mojowire at the last possible second.

Ron
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Ron
1 year 15 days ago

I’ve found most writers or artists who finally get the time and financial security to produce their personal artsy-fartsy cherished magus opus usually turn out to be duds compared to their earlier works done quick and dirty on the cheap.

James Cameron’s Avatar is one example. Pretty eye candy, but all the energy is diluted with too much over the top preaching of the evils of capitalism gone amok–Which is ironic for a guy who made millions off the economic system he decries.

Celia Hayes
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Celia Hayes
1 year 15 days ago

I’ve never found anything quite so inspiring, creatively, as a tight deadline. As does my brother, the professional graphic artist.

TRX
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TRX
1 year 15 days ago

I always have enough going on that I have to have some minimal level of schedule. When something drops in with a tight deadline, everything else in that schedule then becomes late. And I *hate* being late.

Andrew
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Andrew
1 year 15 days ago

If I understand correctly, Wilke’s Highest Good Of Writing is to write a book that high schoolers will be forced to read. Way to aim high.

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Wolfmanjim
1 year 15 days ago

“The last time I got interested in winning an award, hilarity ensued. ”

For that I spent twenty minutes cleaning my screen and keyboard.

Aacid
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Aacid
1 year 15 days ago

And now we will have folks saying Larry wants a Pulitzer

Doctor Locketopus
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Doctor Locketopus
1 year 15 days ago
I read an interview with Neal Stephenson some time ago in which he talks about being invited to some “literary” event. After one of the panels, one of the other writers asked him what he did. Puzzled look. “Uh…I’m a writer. We were just on that panel together, remember?” “Yes, I know, but what do you do?” It turns out that the other writer just assumed that he was a literary writer (which, of course, he is… and a good one), and obviously that meant that he didn’t sell enough books to make a living. I have to admit, though,… Read more »
Captain Comic
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Captain Comic
1 year 15 days ago
Hope everyone can forgive a few customer’s views. “take your time, the readers will wait.” Got a response for that. A Method for Madness. Chtorr book five. Book four came out in 1993. Twenty-two years ago. People can now legally drink in this country who weren’t born, hell, who weren’t CONCEIVED when A Season for Slaughter was published. Gerrold said in Spokane that MfM was passed the real soon now stage and a draft was with the editors. Will it be good? Iunno. Will it be worth two decades plus on the rsn list? I doubt it. I’m not even… Read more »
James May
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James May
1 year 15 days ago
Chttor is great if you like giant furry purring alien penises. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. According to Wiki there is pedophilia – because science fiction. Natch, the hero is bi and has an on-again, off-again affair with a guy in a woman’s body or something because that’s very science fictiony. It’s never stated the aliens are from the Crab Nebula but given Gerrold’s dottering mentality I assume that’s part of the big reveal, plus the “Big Black Hole.” Don’t ask about the Bunny Men. Gerrold should co-author the finale with Ann Leckie because rather than not being… Read more »
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Dr. Mauser
1 year 15 days ago

And of course, since publishers never keep backlist available any more thanks to changes to the tax law, putting out a new book in a long extinct series will crash and burn. “You mean I have to read four other books that I can’t get anywhere before I can read this?”

DaveP.
Guest
DaveP.
1 year 15 days ago

Yep. I read all the original four, and I’ll say pointblank that even if Gerrold hadn’t shamed himself over SP, I’m just no longer interested enough to pay for the next book.