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Self Publishing Stratification

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Russ, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. Russ

    Russ Istar

    Wasn't sure where to post this, so I figured here was a good default.

    An interesting article about growing stratification amongst self published authors:

    Ambition may divide self-publishing authors

    It echoes a lot of what I am hearing from some successful self-publishers or hybrid authors that I have been speaking to.

    It also makes me wonder if it would not be valuable that when people post a question about writing or research here in these boards that they could mention something about the purpose of their writing. I have seen some people post lengthy, thoughtful responses only to be met with "Thanks, but I don't have to worry about that because I am just world building for my RPG" or "that doesn't matter because I am only writing for myself." I think one can both get and give better advice or comments by knowing at least a little about the goal of the work.

    Just a thought rambling around in my mind.
  2. FifthView

    FifthView Vala

    That's an interesting article, and it reflects something I've noticed on MS over the months.

    Some members have been far more interested in sales, marketing, trends and so forth while others have been more interested in telling stories, improving their writing, or simply sharing an interest in the craft.

    There's overlap, of course. Just because someone is more interested in telling better tales in better ways, this doesn't mean they are not or won't be interested in the business side of things. And people who are actively trying to earn a living from self-publishing may be interested in improving their craft.

    I've also thought that explaining goals and purpose would probably be a good thing on MS. At one point, I wondered if maybe a new line in the left column, joining "Join Date," "Location," "Posts," and "Reputation" under member name and image would be good. Purpose or Goal of writing. Hobby, RPG, Self-Publishing, Fan Fiction, etc.
    Devor and Russ like this.
  3. I love this idea!
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    That's a cool idea. I've raised it for discussion with Black Dragon and the other mods.
  5. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    ^Great idea and I hope the mods approve of it. Having a point of reference for answering people's questions would not only save those responding time and effort, but allow us to provide feedback that is specific to the goals of the writer asking the question.

    In regards to the article, yes. Yes, yes. Where we want to take our writing divides us...although it seems ridiculous that it does. Publishing is publishing, whether we're doing that with trade or Indie. That's one thing that troubles me about this site lately, too, is that often responses here are dimissed because, "oh, well, I'm going with a trade publisher so your response is invalid" and vice versa. I think everyone who bothers giving responses in writing question threads here, most often than not, have valid thoughts and experiences that can help all of us regardless of where we are on this journey. Sure, some things are more specific than others (meaning publishing info might not be something a fan fic writer cares to know about at this point in time, for example). But writing is writing, and if we want to improve, then that's one goal we all share in common. Just my 2 cents.
    Russ likes this.
  6. Russ

    Russ Istar

    As usual I think you are wise and correct. Craft is something I hope all writers want to improve at. But having context to answer a question helps so much. It also cuts down the chances of disputes, misunderstanding and accidentally offending someone. For instance if someone asks a craft or direction question but they are simply writing for personal development or academically or some non commercial reason it would be kind of useless to same something like "I don't think editors or the market are looking for that right now." Sometimes a question can be answered with a commercial or market approach or can be answered with a more theoretical or academic approach. For me at least it would help me frame what kind of answer to give someone rather than either potentially missing the mark, or trying to cover everything.
  7. mythandrevelry

    mythandrevelry Acolyte

    I know I get frustrated when I'm dealing with someone who puts their work out there, even as a hobby, but expresses no desire to improve, and essentially hides behind whatever the most convenient excuse is. Sure, you don't necessarily need or want to reach for a particular level of mastery if you're writing for yourself, your friends, a personal RPG, etc., but how much joy do you take in what you're doing if conscious practice and improvement doesn't appeal to you? More to the point, why would you make it public instead of putting it behind a wall where only people you've invited to look at it will be able to see it?

    People can write for any reason they want at any level they want and it's up to them how much effort they want to put into it. I've no problem with that, and I can't stand elitism. Nobody has the right to force what they think onto others. With that said, I can't understand the cognitive dissonance that has to accompany putting something out there and being surprised or offended when people comment or offer feedback. You can't stop that from happening; you open Pandora's Box as soon as you hit publish. From that point onward, it's up to the author to privately discern what comments they believe are worth listening to and which ones aren't.

    Aside from that, I completely agree that offering the ability to note the primary purpose of your writing in your profile is a fantastic idea. The kinds of feedback that are most helpful vary wildly depending on why someone writes, and I'd love to be able to have that out there without needing to state it up front, or to have it be asked over and over again. Likewise, I'd like to know what someone wants from me when they put their work in front of me so I can provide the best feedback I'm capable of producing without wasting anyone's time. I'm still dipping my toes in different communities to see where I fit best, but a feature like this would go a long way toward making this site one of my top options, if not the top option.
    Russ likes this.
  8. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

    I note an evolution among at least some writers on this site.

    They arrive with big plans for a trilogy or series. Maybe post a few excerpts from the first chapter or two in Showcase. Excerpts get ignored or critiqued, sometimes rather harshly.

    Next they initiate or participate in threads dedicated to world building and the more technical aspects of writing. Maybe an occasional Challenge.

    Then they vanish, or almost vanish, checking in once in a rare while with more technical questions, this time often pertaining to publishing and marketing.

    Some time after that, they announce the release of the first book in their series, and offer advance reader copies. From that point on, their posts are mostly self-promotional, or concerned with arcane publishing issues.

    Getting published is their priority.

    Others follow a different course.

    That said, I have downloaded a fair number of tales onto the Kindle my daughter gave me. Some are very well executed. Others, well plot bugs, world building issues, and just plain poor grammar abound. Again, many of these stories are series.
  9. Miskatonic

    Miskatonic Auror

    Either that or there's this perpetual need to have their hand held throughout the entire process, often as a means to put off actually writing anything. I was going to write an entire rant here about that approach when seeking out advice/wisdom on a forum like this but I think this is clear enough. Every idea has to be checked to make sure it's acceptable. It becomes more about needing validation than actually progressing as a writer. I find it to be an extreme waste of time and I'll leave it at that.
  10. mythandrevelry

    mythandrevelry Acolyte

    Its is, especially if someone wants to create art. What makes art scary is you don't know how good it is or how acceptable it'll be until you're done, and even then, it may be years - possibly generations - before something of merit is seen for what it is. Of course, there are people who are so egotistical they believe any criticism stems from people not understanding their brilliance, but I think most people have the opposite problem where they aren't willing to stand by their creation and feel shamed by anything that isn't given unqualified praise by their audience.

    I could go all psychoanalytical on that point, but I think it best not to write an essay. My main point is I think it's a shame when people forego growth as writers and as people because - when you get down to it - it's uncomfortable. I'm paraphrasing, but I can't help but think of when James Altucher said something like "it's when you're scared you know you're writing something good," or maybe it was more "you're not writing something interesting if it's not scary." Nobody gets anywhere inside their comfort zone. So much angst results from wanting the rewards that lie beyond it without having to take the risks involved in stepping into the unknown.

    Again, not everyone particularly cares about their craft. For some it's more about letting off steam than it is anything else. When it comes to the ones who are stuck, I hope higher numbers of them find the courage to get unstuck. It's hard to do at first, but gods is it worth it when you follow through.

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