Friday, March 7, 2014

I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing...

Over at The Passive Voice, indie authors discuss trends and data and writing and readers. Normally, we find all sorts of interesting tidbits that help to clarify our career decisions, trigger story ideas in underserved genres and generally give us a better understanding of the exploding universe that is the publishing industry.

But lately, there's been an odd little comment that pops up with great  regularity whenever a new idea is presented.

"What's in this for me?"

Needless to say, Annoyed Writer has said this. But others have that well...I thought they knew better.

What is it with the need for instant gratification in our culture? Why does someone else have give these people a step-by-step instruction manual on how to interpret data that MAY help their individual case? Who do they think they are to demand such things in the first place?

What it really comes down to is these people have no faith in their own talent. Why doesn't someone GIVE them the Magic Formula (TM)? Why work harder when all they have to do is find that blasted Magic Formula (TM)? Because they KNOW people are deliberately hiding it from them!

And even when they don't believe in the Magic Formula (TM), then the reason they aren't raking in the money has to be because other writers are holding them back! They moan that all the other writers and all the other genres should just GO AWAY! If the field was totally clear, then EVERYONE would buy their books!

Um, no, kids. It doesn't work like that. The reason the BHPs have been seeing slow, steady losses over the last decade is because they weren't giving readers the stories that they wanted.

Yes, revenue is dropping, mainly because the middleman is being cut out of the deal which means lower prices for consumers. Reading and unit sales are rising. More of the revenue is going to writer pockets. It's a win-win situation for both readers (more variety) and writers (more money).

However, if you're new to the indie game, it takes time to build a backlist. It takes time to build a fanbase. It takes time to market your stories. Some writers think they were promised a rose garden with 20's and 50's hanging on the thorrny branches.

Please show me who promised y'all this because I sure as hell didn't. And I want one of these magical rose bushes.

I also want a lightsabre and the U.S.S. Enterprise-D while you're at it.

In the meantime, only you can make your career decisions. I can't. No one can, but you.

Have faith in yourself. Have fun. And if something doesn't work, then the lovely thing about indie publishing is that you can change it.


  1. Enterprise-D?

    What the hell is wrong with you?

    [And no submitting your entire blog as an answer!]

  2. Ah, Stu Rate. I'm old, I'm retired, and the Enterprise-D is the closest Federation starship to a tricked out RV. It even has it's own bartender.

  3. The good news is that the people hunting for the secret handshake will stomp off in a snit fit soon enough and we won't have to listen to them anymore. Unfortunately they'll be replaced by new people looking for the secret handshake, but at least we get some variety in our entitled whining. [cough]

    “The only way to build a fan base is to have a lot of material out there for readers to find. You can't manufacture a fan base. You create it, one story at a time.” Kristine Kathryn Rusch

    That [points up] is one of the many reasons why I pay money on a regular basis to listen to her talk about writing.


  4. Some day, Angie, you'll drag me to one of Kris' workshops. And we'll go in our tricked-out Enterprise D with a bartender and be the most popular people at the workshop.

    Until then I'll have to settle with reading her online and donating the occasional $10.

  5. I had a completely awesome time at the anthology workshop. Dean's taking sign-ups on the private list for 2015, and will open it up soon. You write multiple genres -- you should sign up, and we can go together next year. :D