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Author earnings down?

Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Steerpike, Sep 16, 2015.

  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I think you have to admit, though, that your posts are often condescending and/or mildly insulting when someone mentions that they're not writing for mere entertainment, so you're doing the same thing you accuse valiant of. I'm not sure why you have that reaction, to be honest. Or why valiant has the reaction he has, above.

    It's a good thing that we have writers who want to write just for entertainment AND writers that want to write for other reasons - art, advancement of literature, to comment on the human condition, or whatever. There are plenty of readers for both groups, and a lot of those readers crossover into both groups.

    I don't see any reason for either group to be offended if someone else doesn't want to write the same stuff, or the same way, they do. So someone has different goals than you, or different goals than me. So what? They're all perfectly valid goals.
     
  2. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Steerpike,

    I feel like the overall vibe of this place favors those who value artistic merit and uniqueness. On the whole, those values seem to be championed and cherished greatly while those who merely seek to entertain using trite formulas are looked down upon.

    Maybe I'm overly sensitive on the subject, but that's the way I interpret the dominant vibe of this place.

    If the vibe were as you and Nimue want, I wouldn't feel the need to comment.

    Take valiant12's comment for example. Greg clearly stated, "If you want to succeed commercially, this is the best path forward." The response to that was, essentially, "Well I wouldn't want to waste my time writing 50 Shades of Grey ripoffs." Really?
     
  3. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I think you're being too sensitive, Brian.

    I'm in the same camp as you. I write with a focus toward entertainment. There's many reasons for that, but the "whys" don't matter much.

    At the same time, I can appreciate much more thought provoking literature. Neither is truly more "art" than the other. The ability to entertain is an art form on its own.

    I personally don't bother much with how others might view my goals. I also don't worry much about the reasoning behind another's goals unless that person is working with me for a mutual benefit. And even then, it's only so I can understand where they're coming from, their vision.

    Further, originally your post claimed that both mindsets are as valid as the next. I wish you would've left that part in your post. It makes all the difference, and in that line of thinking, you were correct.

    Also, keep in mind, many people have dreams of some lofty art form for their writing. Some may achieve those goals. Others may change over time. When I first started out, I was going the write the next great American novel. After some ten years honing craft, I want to entertain. Maybe, at some point in the future, my goals will shift back to where they began.

    Let's try to leave room, on both sides. I'd hate for everyone to have the same dreams and goals. How boring.
     
  4. valiant12

    valiant12 Sage

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    I'm sorry if I have offended you, that was not my intention. Sometimes I just want to believe that writers write only because they love to write.
    I posted my comment because I'm not one of the people that can start a new book the moment he finish the last or write fast or make a living by writing. And I don't really care which is the most successful genre at the moment. Im not saying that people who earn their living as writers should not follow these trends.
     
  5. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Maybe you're right, but here's what I'm seeing:

    Someone posts really condescending comments about those who seek to entertain. I respond.

    Two people post taking offense at my comments. Note that neither of them posted in response to the original comments. I guess my feeling is that, if no one else is going to call out posts for insulting people who want to entertain readers, I will.

    Don't misunderstand me, because I think MS is a great site that has helped me. It also, though, caused me to be discouraged for a long time because I walked away from here thinking that it is not possible except by luck to succeed as an author.

    I'm so glad that I found other sources that showed me otherwise.

    This whole seeking art is the important thing is a major downer to people who want to entertain. You don't think that hearing "Hey, everything you're working toward is worthless since it's not memorable" can't be discouraging?

    Maybe you're immune to such, but I'm not. I don't think others are either.

    I agree completely. It's not like I'm starting threads that say, "Art sux!!!" I simply responded to a very condescending post that stated that writing as entertainment sucked.

    So, again, I ask, "Where is the condemnation of the original post?"

    You see why I might get the feeling that the whole vibe of this place favors the art crowd?
     
  6. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    I definitely disagree with valiant12's statement, particularly designating everything written in a popular genre as a "rip-off", as thought authors couldn't possibly genuinely enjoy the genre or be inspired in a non-derivative way by popular books.

    But when somebody says "Writing that way is stupid", I don't think insisting "Not writing that way is stupid!" is a good response.

    Also, it's just...you say you spent a while honing your style and craft, but then turn around and belittle people who are doing the same thing, and just haven't met their own standards, as you've met yours and started publishing. Everyone here is at a different part of a different road.

    Edit: BW, I did react to valiant12's comment in my first post...

    Tried to quote it on mobile and gave up, but I was explicitly addressing the post to both of your opinions
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
  7. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    But even in saying this, you're implying that it's ... bad ... somehow to write for a motive other than "love."

    I have no objection if you want to write as a hobby. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But my dream in life is to make a living doing what I love - writing.

    Again, there's nothing wrong with writing as a hobby. The vast majority of people who start writing aren't going to make a living at it.

    It sounds like, though, you're frustrated that you can't make a living by doing things the way you want to?
     
  8. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Yes, but only after I posted.

    It's an effective response, imo.

    The fact is that I tend to actively dislike a more artistic style. Obviously, that doesn't mean anything. I don't like present tense, either, but my personal taste doesn't somehow invalidate the whole perspective.

    It seemed to me, however, that the poster was so wrapped up in his opinion of what writers should be doing that there was absolutely no consideration given to an alternate viewpoint existing. I simply shared my viewpoint on the subject.
     
  9. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Assuming this is true, then who cares what anyone else, here or anywhere, has to say about this? This is a really good position to be in.

    I'm not sure valiant makes much sense to me either, lumping LotR in with Fifty Shades. Worlds apart. Apparently this person just doesn't like anything that is popular no matter what.
     
  10. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I can't speak for the other posters, but I'm not condemning either approach. As I said before, I don't care much what another writer's goals are. Goals, and opinions on goals, are personal and individual. They have zero to do with my pursuits.

    My only interest here is in keeping the peace.

    Not really. I understand you perceive things to be so, but I can't say my experience has been the same. In fact, I'd say most of the people actually publishing in this community fall more in line with entertaining. That says volumes, in my opinion.

    Either way, there's plenty of room for differing approaches. Personally, I feel the place your in is a more mature outlook on one's own work. Meaning, you've been down that road already and your outlook has changed as a result of your journey. Considering that, maybe you should allow others, who might not have the same experience to form their own determinations as they progress.

    Further, it may not be a matter of maturity in craft. It may purely be a different outlook...one that could have been presented in a more even light perhaps.
     
  11. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    And bluntly derided any other viewpoint as being a fairytale, essentially.

    This. This kind of statement. You cannot convince me that it represents genuine concern; it's pure, needling condescension. There are better ways to advocate for your writing process than trying to shame and discourage other people into the same route.
     
  12. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    It is a good position to be in.

    Understand exactly where I am, though:

    I've published exactly one novella. My novel is going live at the beginning of next month. And I'm working hard to finish the next novel (the first in a new series) in time to release it in November.

    I've put in a lot of work to get to this point. Lots of early morning and late nights. I don't expect to start seeing much of a profit until I published the 3rd book in my main series. That's a lot more work ahead of me before I start seeing any daylight at all.

    In the meantime, I check sales daily to see very few results.

    Being a writer is hard, and it's easy to get discouraged.

    So sometimes, comments on a message board do have an impact.
     
  13. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Exactly. It does.

    And the fact that the voices of those who are having success aren't exactly the dominant ones says something else.

    Again, if others take more of a stance against posts like the original one, I won't feel the need to be vehement. How about I agree to take a breath before responding so vehemently if others agree to chime in against posts like the original one?
     
  14. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    It's genuinely how I read the statement. Isn't that the way the poster came across to you?

    I didn't create the marketplace; I'm simply trying to react to it the best way that I can. I don't think that it does anyone any good to say, "Well, write what you love and you'll succeed."

    There are multiple paths to success. Wasn't The Martian by a self-published debut author? Writing one memorable book can work.

    Unfortunately, I think the chances of an author hitting it big with one book is very small. If you want the best shot of making a living, everything I'm reading is that following Greg's advice gives you your best chance.

    It sounds to me like valliant12 is frustrated because the advice is accurate.

    It sucks to be in that situation. And I really do feel empathy for anyone in that situation. But, truthfully, there are only three paths forward for such people that I see:

    1. Just accept writing is a hobby.
    2. Shoot for the single book and hope you hit the lottery
    3. Change by finding the intersection between what you write and what the market wants. I firmly believe that anyone can write entertaining novels and can do so quickly.
     
  15. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Could be those voices are busy doing something else...writing & publishing. Could be they don't bother with that viewpoint because they once thought the same, but don't care to impose their experiences on a member who is beginning their journey. The latter is my reasoning, but who knows why others don't react?

    If I was to take offense at that post, I'd likely approach it differently. I'd impart my experience, my growth to where I am now and let it stand at that. Now, that's a bit unfair. I recognize that my reactions have not always been viewed in the best light. I'm speaking in ideals.

    In all honesty, and meaning no offense myself, I often read posts with claims like the one that sparked this debate as an excuse...or reasons not to write and publish. We've all had those thoughts. I've certainly deluded myself in the past with similar thinking. And, that's how I take it, but with an understanding that my experience may not be general to all.


    I think it's a hard ask when you want others to react and respond in a certain way.

    I understand your reaction, but maybe a better approach would be to think about why a person might think that way before inferring an insult they might not intend.
     
  16. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    If someone in this thread said this, I didn't see it. Are you sure you're not putting words in people's mouths?
     
  17. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    No. And I wasn't saying that someone did say it.

    I was simply bringing up a possible way I could have responded. Instead of saying, "Hey, I think you're frustrated at the way things work in the real world," I could have said, "It'll be okay; just do what you want."

    I'm really not sure what your point is in pulling out this quote from the whole statement.
     
  18. Nimue

    Nimue Auror

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    It just baffles me that you're upset about being discouraged by a forum post, as you say, while you're so thoroughly discouraging others. The point I was originally trying to make is that this kind of rhetoric cuts both ways.

    Look, I'm two years out of college; I don't have the resources to invest in self-publishing without knowing that I'll earn it back, nor the desire to crank out a book every three months, turning my writing time into a second job. It's just not a possibility for everyone, or even what they want to do.

    A lot of people here are younger, writing as a hobby, maybe working on their first big project. Is it really that helpful to go around telling people to stop dreaming, how are you going to make this into a livelihood? It's the entire tone of your reaction; who is this meant to help, really?
     
  19. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    Which is kinda funny because I did that at the end of my last response to the poster, and Nimue immediately accused me of being disingenuous.

    And didn't you go off on me recently in a situation where I intended no offense at all? No offense, but you didn't exactly extend the benefit of the doubt to me in that situation until a long way down the road.
     
  20. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Possibly. You'd have to refresh my memory. I deal with many different personalities and arguments as a moderator.

    I've known you awhile, in the on-line sense. I think it'd be safe to say you enjoy argument, even seeking out argument &, at times, poking the bear intentionally. You've admitted as such before. In light of that, it shouldn't astound you when members react to your assertions to a greater degree than a far less frequently argumentative member.

    Is that fair? Maybe, maybe not, but it may be worth consideration.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2015
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