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(The Millions)   Think you'll write the great American novel some day? Here are the unfortunate stats, Hemingnoway   (themillions.com) divider line 95
    More: Unlikely, Hemingnoway, Americans, narratives, young adult novels, small press, online books, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, ISBN  
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5003 clicks; posted to Main » on 31 Dec 2013 at 12:49 PM (37 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



95 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2013-12-31 11:14:28 AM
That's funny. I laughed.

I wrote a novel as part of NaNoWriMo.

I didn't write for anyone but me.

So fark off.
 
2013-12-31 11:45:29 AM
2012 fiction books published with an ISBN: adult fiction 67,254; YA and juvenile fiction 20,339
2012 Net book sales: $27.1 billion

So, that would mean the (mean) average book made $387,000.   That actually seems rather high, but, my guess is the "median" average would be more around $1,000, and the "mode" likely is $0 (or fairly close to 0).
 
2013-12-31 12:52:24 PM
I missed the "no". Then I re-read the headline....

/OK raise your hand if you suck like me.
 
2013-12-31 12:54:10 PM
I am currently co-editing an academic work.  I have two novels written in various stages of editing.  I have another I'm working on while the others grow cold.  I've published a few short stories.  I refuse to self-publish.  My problem is that there are very few agents who want work that doesn't fit into a very narrow sliver of what they perceive to be marketable.  Basically, all plots should be boiled down to one sentence and nothing within the novel should upset anyone.

That's tough for people who want to create challenging narratives.
 
2013-12-31 12:54:11 PM
This author just wrote an article about his financial incentive to discourage you from writing.
 
2013-12-31 12:55:14 PM
"How you uh, how you comin' on that novel you're working on? Huh? Got a a big, uh, big stack of papers there? Got a, got a nice little story you're working on there? Your big novel you've been working on for three years? Huh? Got a, got a compelling protagonist? Yeah? Got a obstacle for him to overcome? Huh? Got a story brewing there? Working on, working on that for quite some time? Huh? Yeah, talking about that three years ago. Been working on that the whole time? Nice little narrative? Beginning, middle, and end? Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends? At the end your main character is richer from the experience? Yeah? Yeah? No, no, you deserve some time off." - Stewie
 
2013-12-31 12:55:27 PM

whizbangthedirtfarmer: I am currently co-editing an academic work.  I have two novels written in various stages of editing.  I have another I'm working on while the others grow cold.  I've published a few short stories.  I refuse to self-publish.  My problem is that there are very few agents who want work that doesn't fit into a very narrow sliver of what they perceive to be marketable.  Basically, all plots should be boiled down to one sentence and nothing within the novel should upset anyone.

That's tough for people who want to create challenging narratives.


If you write somewhat offensive work, perhaps you should try your hand at video game plots: the more offensive, the better.
 
2013-12-31 12:56:46 PM
Once upon a time, there was a beautiful young publishing editor ...
 
2013-12-31 12:57:29 PM
Author wants to discourage the competition does he? It's as honest as paid journalists telling people to not get into journalism.

Way to climb the ladder, saw off the rungs.
 
2013-12-31 12:57:44 PM
There is no hate like failed novelist hate.
 
2013-12-31 12:58:27 PM
The article wasn't about the quality of novels, it was about sales.

Gene Wolfe has more skill in his pinky toe than Stephanie Meyer has in her entire body, but her sales blow his out of the water.  Hell, most people have no idea who Gene Wolfe is.

Talent and skill will not necessarily make a novel sell, so if your goal is to write the next great American novel you may be successful in that regard if you practice a lot and study other well written works and their authors.  Just don't expect to get rich off of it.
 
2013-12-31 12:59:11 PM
Fark the poop-weigher and his stinky tomes
 
2013-12-31 12:59:28 PM

Wangiss: whizbangthedirtfarmer: I am currently co-editing an academic work.  I have two novels written in various stages of editing.  I have another I'm working on while the others grow cold.  I've published a few short stories.  I refuse to self-publish.  My problem is that there are very few agents who want work that doesn't fit into a very narrow sliver of what they perceive to be marketable.  Basically, all plots should be boiled down to one sentence and nothing within the novel should upset anyone.

That's tough for people who want to create challenging narratives.

If you write somewhat offensive work, perhaps you should try your hand at video game plots: the more offensive, the better.


Nothing offensive, but I've been told by agents that I need more "action" and I should not have digressions.  A simple paragraph in which I talk about a character having taken psychotropic meds in the past garnered the comment that I need to "show the reader the character taking the pills," because some "readers might miss the detail."   Basically, they want everything to be a thriller novel.  As someone who reviews thriller novels part-time for a paper, well, that's not a high standard.
 
2013-12-31 12:59:43 PM
Pffft. Nobody ready anymore.
 
2013-12-31 01:04:36 PM
This article is basically another example of "there are more reasons not to do something than to do it" but none of that should matter. You only get one turn at life. If you want to write a novel, write one. And good luck to you!

And if nothing else, do what a friend of mine is doing: he puts his up a few pages at a time on social media. So what if it doesn't make him rich? He did it because he wanted to - and he's very good at it.
 
2013-12-31 01:04:49 PM
Every successful author is a black swan. But you can use teh webz to increase the likelyhood that someone will read your stuff. Develope a base, blog readers and twitter followers. Don't bother with the publishing houses at first, they're more useful after you're a little successful.

As a used book dealer I know They don't know what makes a real hit. They pump money into marketing and placement and a bunch of people buy the book to never finish it, dump it into used channels where nobody wants it because the marketing blitz is over. I see best sellers go to nothing in a matter of weeks because their status was just marketing.
 
2013-12-31 01:05:00 PM

whizbangthedirtfarmer: Wangiss: whizbangthedirtfarmer: I am currently co-editing an academic work.  I have two novels written in various stages of editing.  I have another I'm working on while the others grow cold.  I've published a few short stories.  I refuse to self-publish.  My problem is that there are very few agents who want work that doesn't fit into a very narrow sliver of what they perceive to be marketable.  Basically, all plots should be boiled down to one sentence and nothing within the novel should upset anyone.

That's tough for people who want to create challenging narratives.

If you write somewhat offensive work, perhaps you should try your hand at video game plots: the more offensive, the better.

Nothing offensive, but I've been told by agents that I need more "action" and I should not have digressions.  A simple paragraph in which I talk about a character having taken psychotropic meds in the past garnered the comment that I need to "show the reader the character taking the pills," because some "readers might miss the detail."   Basically, they want everything to be a thriller novel.  As someone who reviews thriller novels part-time for a paper, well, that's not a high standard.


No offense, but do your characters never leave the Shire?
 
2013-12-31 01:05:13 PM

DROxINxTHExWIND: Pffft. Nobody ready anymore.


I think people still read, it's just shifting to e-readers.  I no longer have a major bookstore within 75 miles of my home.  I have to order what I want online, because the only remaining bookstores around here carry college text books, whatever the top selling fiction happens to be, and not much else.
 
2013-12-31 01:06:35 PM
There are a few things I find disturbing about this.
First...  I read ALL the time.  I love to.  Yet, I've barely scratched the surface of the number of books out there.  And looking at these numbers, it would take many lifetimes to even come close.

Second...  If it's so difficult to get published professionally, let alone noticed as having written something worth reading, how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?  And what about Stephanie Myers, EL James or even JK Rowling?  (the last of which actually wrote something good.)  They were all virtually unkown (Rowling was on welfare for chrisake!!), and are now the proud owners of multimillion dollar franchises.  2 of which already completed their films series'!!

I suppose it's just like every other form of entertainment.  Success depends on like 10% talent and 250grillion% incredibly good fortune.
 
2013-12-31 01:09:03 PM
Ugh! Why bother?
 
2013-12-31 01:09:18 PM

durbnpoisn: There are a few things I find disturbing about this.
First...  I read ALL the time.  I love to.  Yet, I've barely scratched the surface of the number of books out there.  And looking at these numbers, it would take many lifetimes to even come close.

Second...  If it's so difficult to get published professionally, let alone noticed as having written something worth reading, how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?  And what about Stephanie Myers, EL James or even JK Rowling?  (the last of which actually wrote something good.)  They were all virtually unkown (Rowling was on welfare for chrisake!!), and are now the proud owners of multimillion dollar franchises.  2 of which already completed their films series'!!

I suppose it's just like every other form of entertainment.  Success depends on like 10% talent and 250grillion% incredibly good fortune.


No, it's striking the interest of the readers.  And readers are mostly interested in relatable turmoil and banal, impulse-driven drama.  If you can use that while bringing something new AS WELL, you're Joss Whedon.  Enjoy your spoils.
 
2013-12-31 01:09:23 PM

dletter: 2012 fiction books published with an ISBN: adult fiction 67,254; YA and juvenile fiction 20,339
2012 Net book sales: $27.1 billion

So, that would mean the (mean) average book made $387,000.   That actually seems rather high, but, my guess is the "median" average would be more around $1,000, and the "mode" likely is $0 (or fairly close to 0).


One is total book sales while the other is fiction only.
 http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/financial -re porting/article/53112-industry-sales-pegged-at-27-2-billion.html puts it at 7.07 billion total or 80k average. That's... not very good at all.
 
2013-12-31 01:09:53 PM

durbnpoisn: There are a few things I find disturbing about this.
First...  I read ALL the time.  I love to.  Yet, I've barely scratched the surface of the number of books out there.  And looking at these numbers, it would take many lifetimes to even come close.

Second...  If it's so difficult to get published professionally, let alone noticed as having written something worth reading, how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?  And what about Stephanie Myers, EL James or even JK Rowling?  (the last of which actually wrote something good.)  They were all virtually unkown (Rowling was on welfare for chrisake!!), and are now the proud owners of multimillion dollar franchises.  2 of which already completed their films series'!!

I suppose it's just like every other form of entertainment.  Success depends on like 10% talent and 250grillion% incredibly good fortune.


I think you nailed it.
 
2013-12-31 01:09:58 PM
wait - Penthouse Forum doesn't count?
 
2013-12-31 01:13:16 PM
Look, if you're going to write, you're going to have to self publish. The big established names are the last big established names. Grisham, King, etc. They're dying out slowly. (Clancy, Crichton) What made them (big publishing) is dying too. So all you can do is stake out a small corner of your genre. Whatever is left of the publishing industry will be plucking you and others from the indies.
 
2013-12-31 01:13:17 PM

dundapig: wait - Penthouse Forum doesn't count?


Actually, it kind of does.  50 Shades of Grey was originally an erotic Twilight fan fiction
 
2013-12-31 01:13:47 PM

durbnpoisn: how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?


His parents owned a publishing company, IIRC. That helps.
 
2013-12-31 01:14:29 PM

durbnpoisn: There are a few things I find disturbing about this.
First...  I read ALL the time.  I love to.  Yet, I've barely scratched the surface of the number of books out there.  And looking at these numbers, it would take many lifetimes to even come close.

Second...  If it's so difficult to get published professionally, let alone noticed as having written something worth reading, how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?  And what about Stephanie Myers, EL James or even JK Rowling?  (the last of which actually wrote something good.)  They were all virtually unkown (Rowling was on welfare for chrisake!!), and are now the proud owners of multimillion dollar franchises.  2 of which already completed their films series'!!

I suppose it's just like every other form of entertainment.  Success depends on like 10% talent and 250grillion% incredibly good fortune Work ethic



FTFY.

Sure, folks get lucky but most successful people create their own luck through hard work and sacrifice.  Think of how many times you've decided to watch Wheel of Fortune instead of working on your book that night. Or the Saturday where you wanted to sleep in all day instead of researching your novel topic. IMHO, you have to be slightly obsessed to obtain that kind of success. All of us who allow life to get in the way of living find excuses (work schedule, the kids, the commute) while these people push past the obstacles.
 
2013-12-31 01:14:49 PM
B-b-but, I wrote about incestuous vampires and fantasy plots that take miles to unravel!! Isn't that what the kids want these days?
 
2013-12-31 01:14:54 PM

que.guero: There is no hate like failed novelist hate.


All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
 
2013-12-31 01:16:39 PM

dundapig: wait - Penthouse Forum doesn't count?


I write letters to Prudence with a 50% acceptance rate. That Pocket Ninja guy better not try to invade my turf there.
 
2013-12-31 01:18:51 PM

durbnpoisn: There are a few things I find disturbing about this.
First...  I read ALL the time.  I love to.  Yet, I've barely scratched the surface of the number of books out there.  And looking at these numbers, it would take many lifetimes to even come close.


If it helps take a stroll along the self published novels on Amazon. Most of them are dreck and there's no reason for anyone to read them. I honestly think the self publishing revolution is interesting but it's incredibly hard to sort out the stuff that is really worth reading.

Second...  If it's so difficult to get published professionally, let alone noticed as having written something worth reading, how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?  And what about Stephanie Myers, EL James or even JK Rowling?  (the last of which actually wrote something good.)  They were all virtually unkown (Rowling was on welfare for chrisake!!), and are now the proud owners of multimillion dollar franchises.  2 of which already completed their films series'!!

I suppose it's just like every other form of entertainment.  Success depends on like 10% talent and 250grillion% incredibly good fortune.


Pretty much. It's almost exactly the same process as memes. There's initial exposure, some word of mouth, and then in ways no one can usually qualify some things get incredibly popular and then roll along on their own popularity. There's no reason, for example, that Rebecca Black should specifically have been singled out from all of the terrible low rent music videos on YouTube. She just was and now when I type "rebecca" into Google it autocompletes with "Rebecca Black."
 
2013-12-31 01:24:29 PM
whizbangthedirtfarmer:

A simple paragraph in which I talk about a character having taken psychotropic meds in the past garnered the comment that I need to "show the reader the character taking the pills," because some "readers might miss the detail."

I feel your pain somewhat, but I can also see their point. If you are trying to sell a product, it's got to reach certain demographics. If those demographics can only understand that scene by having a two sentence description of "taking the pills" because their experience with mind altering substances (prescription or otherwise) is limited to popular media or that one time they got high a long time ago, then that's what you have to do to sell the product.

I know this is small comfort to you when you have a very good reason for setting up your scene the way you set it up, but we don't live in a world where wealthy aristocratic patrons hire writers to show off how powerful they are. It's largely a capitalistic enterprise, so it's got to play by those rules.

Now, once you're established as a writer, you can get all fancy and artsy. And if it makes you feel any better, some wonderful American novelists moonlighted as Hollywood sreenwriters to make money when they weren't making enough money from their writing.. Check out F. Scott Fitzgerald's IMDB page and see all that early movies he helped write... without getting the credit in many cases. You can do the same thing with Faulkner, although he did get credit for writing The Big Sleep at least (although he was a recognized success by then...).
 
2013-12-31 01:26:08 PM
And you're guaranteed to not write the great American novel if you don't even try.
 
2013-12-31 01:26:40 PM

DROxINxTHExWIND: durbnpoisn: There are a few things I find disturbing about this.
First...  I read ALL the time.  I love to.  Yet, I've barely scratched the surface of the number of books out there.  And looking at these numbers, it would take many lifetimes to even come close.

Second...  If it's so difficult to get published professionally, let alone noticed as having written something worth reading, how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?  And what about Stephanie Myers, EL James or even JK Rowling?  (the last of which actually wrote something good.)  They were all virtually unkown (Rowling was on welfare for chrisake!!), and are now the proud owners of multimillion dollar franchises.  2 of which already completed their films series'!!

I suppose it's just like every other form of entertainment.  Success depends on like 10% talent and 250grillion% incredibly good fortune Work ethic


FTFY.

Sure, folks get lucky but most successful people create their own luck through hard work and sacrifice.  Think of how many times you've decided to watch Wheel of Fortune instead of working on your book that night. Or the Saturday where you wanted to sleep in all day instead of researching your novel topic. IMHO, you have to be slightly obsessed to obtain that kind of success. All of us who allow life to get in the way of living find excuses (work schedule, the kids, the commute) while these people push past the obstacles.


Eh.  Me and a few other people I know are pretty discipline writers (for my latest novel, I've been putting 1000 good words a day), but it's not luck and it's not effort.  It is literally, who you know and how accessible the work is.  Do you have contacts in the industry?  You can get in.  Can you keep the novel pretty simple?  Then you have a shot.  Basically, think of all of the people who ripped off Harry Potter.  Most of them sucked, but they still got contracts, because agents have a groupthink going on.  That's what happens when you take a 5 - 10 percent cut.  A shiatty Harry Potter knockoff (or, now, the Hunger Games) will earn you more money than an original work that is new and fresh.

So, yes, it's who you know and how well you're willing to sell a part of your integrity.

\perhaps a FARK Writer's group would be interesting
 
2013-12-31 01:27:04 PM
For those talking about convention and pandering to a reader base, take note of Infinite Jest. Released in 1996 it has been a persistent seller, although never a star. Barely sci-fi, strangely dystopian, it's full of drugs and tennis. It goes on for a thousand pages, and instead of reaching a conclusion it reaches an end, which might explain why most read copies appear to have been flung across the room.
 
2013-12-31 01:38:41 PM
Somehow I doubt the "great American novel" will be sci-fi or fantasy.

And given our electorate these days, it'll probably be a children's book....perhaps coloring, but I hear scratch-'n'-sniff books are making a comeback.
 
2013-12-31 01:39:13 PM

Dirtybird971: "How you uh, how you comin' on that novel you're working on? Huh? Got a a big, uh, big stack of papers there? Got a, got a nice little story you're working on there? Your big novel you've been working on for three years? Huh? Got a, got a compelling protagonist? Yeah? Got a obstacle for him to overcome? Huh? Got a story brewing there? Working on, working on that for quite some time? Huh? Yeah, talking about that three years ago. Been working on that the whole time? Nice little narrative? Beginning, middle, and end? Some friends become enemies, some enemies become friends? At the end your main character is richer from the experience? Yeah? Yeah? No, no, you deserve some time off." - Stewie


*punch* - Brian
 
2013-12-31 01:39:59 PM

If Stephine Meyer can get published so can you.

 
2013-12-31 01:40:19 PM

Paelian: whizbangthedirtfarmer:

A simple paragraph in which I talk about a character having taken psychotropic meds in the past garnered the comment that I need to "show the reader the character taking the pills," because some "readers might miss the detail."

I feel your pain somewhat, but I can also see their point. If you are trying to sell a product, it's got to reach certain demographics. If those demographics can only understand that scene by having a two sentence description of "taking the pills" because their experience with mind altering substances (prescription or otherwise) is limited to popular media or that one time they got high a long time ago, then that's what you have to do to sell the product.

I know this is small comfort to you when you have a very good reason for setting up your scene the way you set it up, but we don't live in a world where wealthy aristocratic patrons hire writers to show off how powerful they are. It's largely a capitalistic enterprise, so it's got to play by those rules.

Now, once you're established as a writer, you can get all fancy and artsy. And if it makes you feel any better, some wonderful American novelists moonlighted as Hollywood sreenwriters to make money when they weren't making enough money from their writing.. Check out F. Scott Fitzgerald's IMDB page and see all that early movies he helped write... without getting the credit in many cases. You can do the same thing with Faulkner, although he did get credit for writing The Big Sleep at least (although he was a recognized success by then...).


Not to sound like a complete putz, but I didn't get into it for the money, but rather the challenge.  Unfortunately, I've discovered in the past several years that the playing field is stacked in such a way that authors with a true amount of integrity have to resort to very small press or to selling out in some ways.  I can't remember which recent novel it was, but there was a short book written about how that particular novel was written by an author and then rewritten, basically, by the editors so that the public would buy it.  They did (sorta), but the author seemed distressed that his original vision had been rather shattered by the marketing arm.

On a side note, most writers tend to be ridiculously territorial and refuse help from fellow writers.  A long time ago, I joined the Horror Writer's Association (along with some others).  The HWA, at the time, widely promoted a mentorship program where a relatively unpublished writer would get some feedback from an established author.  When I asked about it, the HWA admins basically said, look, we have two or three authors willing to do this, and about 500 newbies on the list.  In other words, no dice.  When I complained, I did get some good feedback from Stefan Petrucha, who was a generally nice guy.  Even so, the HWA and other writer's boards tended to exist so the established authors could flame the newbies at will (in some cases, the response was priceless: "hooray!  I just got flamed by xxxx!  I love that guy!").  It was absolutely horrible.
 
2013-12-31 01:41:06 PM
If you're good, you'll be successful. Most writers aren't very good.
 
2013-12-31 01:43:40 PM

DROxINxTHExWIND: durbnpoisn: There are a few things I find disturbing about this.
First...  I read ALL the time.  I love to.  Yet, I've barely scratched the surface of the number of books out there.  And looking at these numbers, it would take many lifetimes to even come close.

Second...  If it's so difficult to get published professionally, let alone noticed as having written something worth reading, how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?  And what about Stephanie Myers, EL James or even JK Rowling?  (the last of which actually wrote something good.)  They were all virtually unkown (Rowling was on welfare for chrisake!!), and are now the proud owners of multimillion dollar franchises.  2 of which already completed their films series'!!

I suppose it's just like every other form of entertainment.  Success depends on like 10% talent and 250grillion% incredibly good fortune Work ethic


FTFY.

Sure, folks get lucky but most successful people create their own luck through hard work and sacrifice.  Think of how many times you've decided to watch Wheel of Fortune instead of working on your book that night. Or the Saturday where you wanted to sleep in all day instead of researching your novel topic. IMHO, you have to be slightly obsessed to obtain that kind of success. All of us who allow life to get in the way of living find excuses (work schedule, the kids, the commute) while these people push past the obstacles.


I'm sorry, but that is a load of crap!

www.durbnpoisn.comli.com

There is almost no coorelation at all between the amount of work and effort someone puts into their art, and whether or not they get noticed.  Some of the most dedicated musicians (for instance) that I've ever known, never got any kind of break, even though they are incredibly talented, very professional, and work very hard to get themselves noticed.  Yet there are legions of talentless hacks out there that somehow became very popular because of money, connections, or just sheer dumb luck, like someone noticing a YouTube video.

I will give you the point that you make about wasting time when you should be working.  I cannot argue that.  But it does seem really amazing to me how many people DON'T waste their time like you're suggesting, ARE very talented, and STILL haven't got anything to show for it.
 
2013-12-31 01:45:40 PM

Gunther: durbnpoisn: how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?

His parents owned a publishing company, IIRC. That helps.


Plus, the author himself is a human-interest story. The "author is just a kid" angle made his books very marketable. I think half of the readers read it just to find out whether the kid is a prodigy or not (answer: not).
 
2013-12-31 01:49:58 PM
whizbangthedirtfarmer:

/perhaps a FARK Writer's group would be interesting

OK
I'm an indie author, and I'd love to start a FARK Writer's group.
It would be like going into one of those bars where the hostess gets to tell you Fark Off.

/actual dirt farmer
 
2013-12-31 01:52:08 PM

cgraves67: Gunther: durbnpoisn: how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?

His parents owned a publishing company, IIRC. That helps.

Plus, the author himself is a human-interest story. The "author is just a kid" angle made his books very marketable. I think half of the readers read it just to find out whether the kid is a prodigy or not (answer: not).


I read the first book.  Oddly enough, I bought it on impulse at Barnes and Noble one day, without knowing anything about it or the author.
My quick review...  It's okay.  Fairly well written.  But many of the ideas, if not the entire story, were taken, and very obviously, from other stories.  So, meh...  It's just okay.
 
2013-12-31 01:57:01 PM

durbnpoisn: DROxINxTHExWIND: durbnpoisn: There are a few things I find disturbing about this.
First...  I read ALL the time.  I love to.  Yet, I've barely scratched the surface of the number of books out there.  And looking at these numbers, it would take many lifetimes to even come close.

Second...  If it's so difficult to get published professionally, let alone noticed as having written something worth reading, how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?  And what about Stephanie Myers, EL James or even JK Rowling?  (the last of which actually wrote something good.)  They were all virtually unkown (Rowling was on welfare for chrisake!!), and are now the proud owners of multimillion dollar franchises.  2 of which already completed their films series'!!

I suppose it's just like every other form of entertainment.  Success depends on like 10% talent and 250grillion% incredibly good fortune Work ethic


FTFY.

Sure, folks get lucky but most successful people create their own luck through hard work and sacrifice.  Think of how many times you've decided to watch Wheel of Fortune instead of working on your book that night. Or the Saturday where you wanted to sleep in all day instead of researching your novel topic. IMHO, you have to be slightly obsessed to obtain that kind of success. All of us who allow life to get in the way of living find excuses (work schedule, the kids, the commute) while these people push past the obstacles.

I'm sorry, but that is a load of crap!

[www.durbnpoisn.comli.com image 32x32]

There is almost no coorelation at all between the amount of work and effort someone puts into their art, and whether or not they get noticed.  Some of the most dedicated musicians (for instance) that I've ever known, never got any kind of break, even though they are incredibly talented, very professional, and work very hard to get themselves noticed.  Yet there are legions of ...


Didn't mean to offend. I'm really speaking from personal experience and there may have been some projection on my part. I have a talent that I think is marketable and I've been told by people that they expected big things form me for a long time. But, I have used work, fatherhood, and a host of other things as excuses for why I couldn't do what was necessary to show people that I am talented. I don't question why them and not me because I know all of the times when I came home from work, poured a drink, and played PS3 until bed. So, I think that it has a lot more to do with work than we admit. Sure, people have it easier when they know someone and some people get lucky breaks but there has to be a more logical reason for most of it.
 
2013-12-31 02:05:15 PM

DROxINxTHExWIND: durbnpoisn: DROxINxTHExWIND: durbnpoisn: There are a few things I find disturbing about this.
First...  I read ALL the time.  I love to.  Yet, I've barely scratched the surface of the number of books out there.  And looking at these numbers, it would take many lifetimes to even come close.

Second...  If it's so difficult to get published professionally, let alone noticed as having written something worth reading, how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?  And what about Stephanie Myers, EL James or even JK Rowling?  (the last of which actually wrote something good.)  They were all virtually unkown (Rowling was on welfare for chrisake!!), and are now the proud owners of multimillion dollar franchises.  2 of which already completed their films series'!!

I suppose it's just like every other form of entertainment.  Success depends on like 10% talent and 250grillion% incredibly good fortune Work ethic


FTFY.

Sure, folks get lucky but most successful people create their own luck through hard work and sacrifice.  Think of how many times you've decided to watch Wheel of Fortune instead of working on your book that night. Or the Saturday where you wanted to sleep in all day instead of researching your novel topic. IMHO, you have to be slightly obsessed to obtain that kind of success. All of us who allow life to get in the way of living find excuses (work schedule, the kids, the commute) while these people push past the obstacles.

I'm sorry, but that is a load of crap!

[www.durbnpoisn.comli.com image 32x32]

There is almost no coorelation at all between the amount of work and effort someone puts into their art, and whether or not they get noticed.  Some of the most dedicated musicians (for instance) that I've ever known, never got any kind of break, even though they are incredibly talented, very professional, and work very hard to get themselves noticed.  Yet there are ...


Not offended at all.  And I hope I didn't offend you.

For what it's worth, I commend what you are saying here, and can relate to it.
In my view, if you are an artist, and you wish to create art, then you should do it for that reason.  If one is doing it to become famous, they're barking up the wrong tree.
And for those that achieve that level of success, while barely putting any effort, it becomes very frustrating to those that are far more deserving.  And, for the record, I'm NOT talking about myself as a musician.  I never wanted to be famous.  I could barely handle the pressure at the level I DID play at.
 
2013-12-31 02:06:24 PM
 DROxINxTHExWIND:

I saw a tweet about a Writer's business plan workshop.

The idea is you pay $25 so someone can talk to you about your goals for the next year.

The secret to making money writing fiction is claiming to know the secret to making money writing fiction.
 
2013-12-31 02:07:58 PM

Klippoklondike: DROxINxTHExWIND: Pffft. Nobody ready anymore.

I think people still read, it's just shifting to e-readers.  I no longer have a major bookstore within 75 miles of my home.  I have to order what I want online, because the only remaining bookstores around here carry college text books, whatever the top selling fiction happens to be, and not much else.


Why aren't you using the Ishpeming Public Library? I don't know how big their holdings are but they are part of a huge interlibrary system.

My local library is also part of a huge system that I can find most non-academic books in and an ILL normally takes 2 days or less.
 
2013-12-31 02:09:56 PM
Much like the goldrush in bitcoin I (and most likely the author) are bitter we missed the goldrush in cryptozoological porn.
 
2013-12-31 02:13:14 PM
durbnpoisn:

Not offended at all. And I hope I didn't offend you.

For what it's worth, I commend what you are saying here, and can relate to it.
In my view, if you are an artist, and you wish to create art, then you should do it for that reason. If one is doing it to become famous, they're barking up the wrong tree.
And for those that achieve that level of success, while barely putting any effort, it becomes very frustrating to those that are far more deserving. And, for the record, I'm NOT talking about myself as a musician. I never wanted to be famous. I could barely handle the pressure at the level I DID play at.



Truer words never spoken.
 
2013-12-31 02:15:46 PM

whizbangthedirtfarmer: I am currently co-editing an academic work.  I have two novels written in various stages of editing.  I have another I'm working on while the others grow cold.  I've published a few short stories.  I refuse to self-publish.  My problem is that there are very few agents who want work that doesn't fit into a very narrow sliver of what they perceive to be marketable.  Basically, all plots should be boiled down to one sentence and nothing within the novel should upset anyone.

That's tough for people who want to create challenging narratives.


You might want to rethink your refusal to self publish, with the proliferation of e-readers, there's a whole new world of publishing.  If you have a good product and put it out there with some self promotion, people will read it.

You can do it pretty easy on Amazon.  It doesn't cost anything.  You retain the copyright and you set the price.  If the book is less than $9.99, you get 70% of each sale (a ton more than a traditional publisher will pay).

I've done it and I've been pretty happy with the result.  I haven't made a fortune, but I made a lot more than I would have made sending my book to agents who probably don't even read it.

Just a suggestion.
 
2013-12-31 02:17:05 PM
Damn you subby, now I've got that song stuck in my head:

Hemingnoway, hemingnoway hemingnoway, hemingnoway
In the juungle the mighty jungle...
 
2013-12-31 02:21:38 PM
2011 books published: traditionally published 347,178; self-published 235,000

76 percent of all books released in 2008 were self-published


Something is wrong with these statistics.
 
2013-12-31 02:28:22 PM

HairBolus: Klippoklondike: DROxINxTHExWIND: Pffft. Nobody ready anymore.

I think people still read, it's just shifting to e-readers.  I no longer have a major bookstore within 75 miles of my home.  I have to order what I want online, because the only remaining bookstores around here carry college text books, whatever the top selling fiction happens to be, and not much else.

Why aren't you using the Ishpeming Public Library? I don't know how big their holdings are but they are part of a huge interlibrary system.

My local library is also part of a huge system that I can find most non-academic books in and an ILL normally takes 2 days or less.


I always forget about the library, thanks for reminding me
 
2013-12-31 02:32:52 PM
durbnpoisn:

Second...  If it's so difficult to get published professionally, let alone noticed as having written something worth reading, how the HELL did authors like Christopher Paolini (Erogon) get noticed at friggin 19, for writing a book that had nothing new or original in it?

Paolini got noticed by his parents, who owned the publishing company and blitzed the marketing because of it.
 
2013-12-31 02:38:22 PM
Want to be a successful novelist? Marry a rich divorcee who owns a publishing company.
 
2013-12-31 02:46:54 PM
There's not much room in the business for another Great American Novel, so I recommend writing the Great Canadian Novel instead.

It should have:

beer
maple syrup;
a hockey game;
a life and death struggle to avoid freezing to death standing next to Lord and Lady Black of Crossharbour;
landscape that is more alive and interesting than any of the characters;
a theory of history heavy on commodities;
a theme of survival;
an author who is South African, Australian or American, or what not (no White Anglo Saxon Protestants need apply, unless they are feminazis);
an author who wins the Nobel Prize because of books she wrote in the Third World forty years before she emigrated to Canada;
enough weirdness to qualify as Magical Realism;
kitchen table dialogue;
a lot of Canadian dialect;
a setting in the Rockies, on the Praries, in Rosedale, or in Newfoundland.

It's open to you all to write it provided you were born in, hailed from, emigrated to, or got an Arts Grant from, Canada. At least two weeks residence in Canada at some point in your life will qualify. Heck, you could even be a Nigerian Prince writing a 150,000 word begging letter as long as you follow the rules.
 
2013-12-31 02:49:40 PM

Decillion: Look, if you're going to write, you're going to have to self publish. The big established names are the last big established names. Grisham, King, etc. They're dying out slowly. (Clancy, Crichton) What made them (big publishing) is dying too. So all you can do is stake out a small corner of your genre. Whatever is left of the publishing industry will be plucking you and others from the indies.


This is horrible advice. Get published in literary journals until you have enough good work to submit to real presses.
 
2013-12-31 03:15:28 PM

kevinfra: whizbangthedirtfarmer: I am currently co-editing an academic work.  I have two novels written in various stages of editing.  I have another I'm working on while the others grow cold.  I've published a few short stories.  I refuse to self-publish.  My problem is that there are very few agents who want work that doesn't fit into a very narrow sliver of what they perceive to be marketable.  Basically, all plots should be boiled down to one sentence and nothing within the novel should upset anyone.

That's tough for people who want to create challenging narratives.

You might want to rethink your refusal to self publish, with the proliferation of e-readers, there's a whole new world of publishing.  If you have a good product and put it out there with some self promotion, people will read it.

You can do it pretty easy on Amazon.  It doesn't cost anything.  You retain the copyright and you set the price.  If the book is less than $9.99, you get 70% of each sale (a ton more than a traditional publisher will pay).

I've done it and I've been pretty happy with the result.  I haven't made a fortune, but I made a lot more than I would have made sending my book to agents who probably don't even read it.

Just a suggestion.


Maybe I need to swallow some of my ego, but I've always felt that SP is where the dregs of writing reside.  I'm not saying I'm all that great, but I've seen that even the most famous self-published works are the result of so-so writing (or worse) and pretty decent marketing.  I don't think I've read any SP where I thought, "yeah, this should have been published."
 
2013-12-31 03:25:45 PM

durbnpoisn: There is almost no coorelation at all between the amount of work and effort someone puts into their art, and whether or not they get noticed.  Some of the most dedicated musicians (for instance) that I've ever known, never got any kind of break, even though they are incredibly talented, very professional, and work very hard to get themselves noticed.  Yet there are legions of talentless hacks out there that somehow became very popular because of money, connections, or just sheer dumb luck, like someone noticing a YouTube video.

I will give you the point that you make about wasting time when you should be working.  I cannot argue that.  But it does seem really amazing to me how many people DON'T waste their time like you're suggesting, ARE very talented, and STILL haven't got anything to show for it.


Farking this.  I had this argument again with my parents over the holiday after watching a documentary on the beginnings of US electricity production.  The Westinghouse Electric Corporation was all set to begin the construction of an AC electric grid when J.P. Morgan essentially walked into Westinghouse's office and declared that he was going to sue for Westinghouse's AC patents.  Morgan had absolutely no claim to the patents and would have lost the court battle, but he did have vast amounts more free capital than Westinghouse and would have been able to bleed Westinghouse dry.  As a result, the patents were signed over and General Electric became the first major US supplier of energy.  It's a perfect example of it's not what you know, or even who you know, but how much farking money you start off with.
 
2013-12-31 03:34:43 PM

whizbangthedirtfarmer: kevinfra: whizbangthedirtfarmer: I am currently co-editing an academic work.  I have two novels written in various stages of editing.  I have another I'm working on while the others grow cold.  I've published a few short stories.  I refuse to self-publish.  My problem is that there are very few agents who want work that doesn't fit into a very narrow sliver of what they perceive to be marketable.  Basically, all plots should be boiled down to one sentence and nothing within the novel should upset anyone.

That's tough for people who want to create challenging narratives.

You might want to rethink your refusal to self publish, with the proliferation of e-readers, there's a whole new world of publishing.  If you have a good product and put it out there with some self promotion, people will read it.

You can do it pretty easy on Amazon.  It doesn't cost anything.  You retain the copyright and you set the price.  If the book is less than $9.99, you get 70% of each sale (a ton more than a traditional publisher will pay).

I've done it and I've been pretty happy with the result.  I haven't made a fortune, but I made a lot more than I would have made sending my book to agents who probably don't even read it.

Just a suggestion.

Maybe I need to swallow some of my ego, but I've always felt that SP is where the dregs of writing reside.  I'm not saying I'm all that great, but I've seen that even the most famous self-published works are the result of so-so writing (or worse) and pretty decent marketing.  I don't think I've read any SP where I thought, "yeah, this should have been published."


What about erotica?
 
2013-12-31 03:59:43 PM

InterruptingQuirk: whizbangthedirtfarmer: kevinfra: whizbangthedirtfarmer: I am currently co-editing an academic work.  I have two novels written in various stages of editing.  I have another I'm working on while the others grow cold.  I've published a few short stories.  I refuse to self-publish.  My problem is that there are very few agents who want work that doesn't fit into a very narrow sliver of what they perceive to be marketable.  Basically, all plots should be boiled down to one sentence and nothing within the novel should upset anyone.

That's tough for people who want to create challenging narratives.

You might want to rethink your refusal to self publish, with the proliferation of e-readers, there's a whole new world of publishing.  If you have a good product and put it out there with some self promotion, people will read it.

You can do it pretty easy on Amazon.  It doesn't cost anything.  You retain the copyright and you set the price.  If the book is less than $9.99, you get 70% of each sale (a ton more than a traditional publisher will pay).

I've done it and I've been pretty happy with the result.  I haven't made a fortune, but I made a lot more than I would have made sending my book to agents who probably don't even read it.

Just a suggestion.

Maybe I need to swallow some of my ego, but I've always felt that SP is where the dregs of writing reside.  I'm not saying I'm all that great, but I've seen that even the most famous self-published works are the result of so-so writing (or worse) and pretty decent marketing.  I don't think I've read any SP where I thought, "yeah, this should have been published."

What about erotica?


You rang?  :)

My first novel's at the NSFW Fark link, followed by NSFW Smashwords link in case the first doesn't work.  You'll have to enable Adult Content on the top right tab.  Free sample available. 

Sequel's about 3/8 done.

http://www.fark.com/comments/8074510/Featuring-hot-lesbian-bondage-F ar ker-Pungents-first-novel-makes-perfect-Christmas-gift-foryouve-already -gone-to-link-youre-reading-free-sample-arent-you

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/391479
 
2013-12-31 04:07:18 PM

kliq: Decillion: Look, if you're going to write, you're going to have to self publish. The big established names are the last big established names. Grisham, King, etc. They're dying out slowly. (Clancy, Crichton) What made them (big publishing) is dying too. So all you can do is stake out a small corner of your genre. Whatever is left of the publishing industry will be plucking you and others from the indies.

This is horrible advice. Get published in literary journals until you have enough good work to submit to real presses.


I think I missed a joke in there somewhere. Literary journals? Is it 1972?

If your work is good why not keep control of your art? Put it on amazon and do your own promoting. No publishers will. Hire a cover artist and editor. A one-time cost. Control everything and get %70 royalty.

Or give that up for the bottom shelf of a bookstore (which are going bankrupt) 18 months later  and %12 royalty (after advance is earned).
 
2013-12-31 04:07:27 PM

PunGent: What about erotica?

You rang? :)

My first novel's at the NSFW Fark link, followed by NSFW Smashwords link in case the first doesn't work. You'll have to enable Adult Content on the top right tab. Free sample available.

Sequel's about 3/8 done.

http://www.fark.com/comments/8074510/Featuring-hot-lesbian-bondage-F ar ker-Pungents-first-novel-makes-perfect-Christmas-gift-foryouve-already -gone-to-link-youre-reading-free-sample-arent-you

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/391479


Self-promotion always being a helpful tool for success. :)

/I'll be interested when you write one with a Steve or Bill in place of Linda
 
2013-12-31 04:12:34 PM

InterruptingQuirk: PunGent: What about erotica?

You rang? :)

My first novel's at the NSFW Fark link, followed by NSFW Smashwords link in case the first doesn't work. You'll have to enable Adult Content on the top right tab. Free sample available.

Sequel's about 3/8 done.

http://www.fark.com/comments/8074510/Featuring-hot-lesbian-bondage-F ar ker-Pungents-first-novel-makes-perfect-Christmas-gift-foryouve-already -gone-to-link-youre-reading-free-sample-arent-you

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/391479

Self-promotion always being a helpful tool for success. :)

/I'll be interested when you write one with a Steve or Bill in place of Linda


Once I'm done with this (projected) trilogy, I've got one in the rough planning stages.  Submissive male, but it's still got a dominant female.  Don't know if that's what you're looking for.

If you're looking for gay male action, sorry.  I'd love to increase my readership, believe me; it's just not my thing, though.

Basically, if it doesn't arouse me IRL, it comes across as dull and mechanical when I try to put it on the page.
 
2013-12-31 04:15:03 PM

whizbangthedirtfarmer: kevinfra: whizbangthedirtfarmer: I am currently co-editing an academic work.  I have two novels written in various stages of editing.  I have another I'm working on while the others grow cold.  I've published a few short stories.  I refuse to self-publish.  My problem is that there are very few agents who want work that doesn't fit into a very narrow sliver of what they perceive to be marketable.  Basically, all plots should be boiled down to one sentence and nothing within the novel should upset anyone.

That's tough for people who want to create challenging narratives.

You might want to rethink your refusal to self publish, with the proliferation of e-readers, there's a whole new world of publishing.  If you have a good product and put it out there with some self promotion, people will read it.

You can do it pretty easy on Amazon.  It doesn't cost anything.  You retain the copyright and you set the price.  If the book is less than $9.99, you get 70% of each sale (a ton more than a traditional publisher will pay).

I've done it and I've been pretty happy with the result.  I haven't made a fortune, but I made a lot more than I would have made sending my book to agents who probably don't even read it.

Just a suggestion.

Maybe I need to swallow some of my ego, but I've always felt that SP is where the dregs of writing reside.  I'm not saying I'm all that great, but I've seen that even the most famous self-published works are the result of so-so writing (or worse) and pretty decent marketing.  I don't think I've read any SP where I thought, "yeah, this should have been published."


Check out Smashwords.com.  There's a ton of crap there, no doubt.  But then look at 50 Shades, and tell me with a straight face that 'traditional' publishing has better taste or style.
 
2013-12-31 04:16:22 PM

StrangeQ: durbnpoisn: There is almost no coorelation at all between the amount of work and effort someone puts into their art, and whether or not they get noticed.  Some of the most dedicated musicians (for instance) that I've ever known, never got any kind of break, even though they are incredibly talented, very professional, and work very hard to get themselves noticed.  Yet there are legions of talentless hacks out there that somehow became very popular because of money, connections, or just sheer dumb luck, like someone noticing a YouTube video.

I will give you the point that you make about wasting time when you should be working.  I cannot argue that.  But it does seem really amazing to me how many people DON'T waste their time like you're suggesting, ARE very talented, and STILL haven't got anything to show for it.

Farking this.  I had this argument again with my parents over the holiday after watching a documentary on the beginnings of US electricity production.  The Westinghouse Electric Corporation was all set to begin the construction of an AC electric grid when J.P. Morgan essentially walked into Westinghouse's office and declared that he was going to sue for Westinghouse's AC patents.  Morgan had absolutely no claim to the patents and would have lost the court battle, but he did have vast amounts more free capital than Westinghouse and would have been able to bleed Westinghouse dry.  As a result, the patents were signed over and General Electric became the first major US supplier of energy.  It's a perfect example of it's not what you know, or even who you know, but how much farking money you start off with.


This, this, this.  Hard work is fine.

Luck and nepotism are better, as the Eragon example proves.
 
2013-12-31 04:18:23 PM

odinsposse: durbnpoisn: There are a few things I find disturbing about this.
First...  I read ALL the time.  I love to.  Yet, I've barely scratched the surface of the number of books out there.  And looking at these numbers, it would take many lifetimes to even come close.

If it helps take a stroll along the self published novels on Amazon. Most of them are dreck and there's no reason for anyone to read them. I honestly think the self publishing revolution is interesting but it's incredibly hard to sort out the stuff that is really worth reading.


Agreed.  It'll be interesting if some bright young programmer figures out a way to sort them, or classify them, or something.
 
2013-12-31 04:19:30 PM
whizbangthedirtfarmer:

Fark Writer's group?

I'm in.
 
2013-12-31 04:19:38 PM
Art, if it is to vault one into the public conscious, has to be catchy.   Once you're there, it's your stage.

Gershwin got famous not for Rhapsody in Blue but for Swanee.
Who you know? Sure, there's that.  Knowing William Daly certainly came in handy, but it didn't make George's work good and it didn't make it catchy.   Do you think Al Jolson wanted to water down his stardom with something less than catchy?  No, he knew what to sell.  Key word: sell.  If money's your aim, you'll get it the same way everyone else does: by working within the rules or making the rules work for you.

That's the joke on all you who don't want to "sell out."  You think you deserve my money because you wrote something beautiful?  It doesn't work that way.  You can get rich like JP Morgan, but you'll notice he didn't leverage the unbalanced legal system to steal a non-catchy idea.  He knew what the public wanted.  If you want to write something the public don't want, go a-farking-head.  You won't get their money.  That's the "secret" to capitalism: it's trading something people want ("catchy" is just code for "something lots of people will like") for something you've convinced to want less than it (money or whatever the hell else you want from them).  If you can make your art compatible with what people want while remaining true to your principles, maybe you're as clever as you think you are.

That's why my novel, John Galt's Twilight Potter Games Bible is doing so well.
 
2013-12-31 04:21:27 PM
PunGent:
Basically, if it doesn't arouse me IRL, it comes across as dull and mechanical when I try to put it on the page.

Dull and mechanical, huh?  I'll be in my bunk.
 
2013-12-31 04:22:41 PM

PunGent: whizbangthedirtfarmer:

Fark Writer's group?

I'm in.


That would be nice, but I have no idea on how to get started.  I'm just a Liter.
 
2013-12-31 04:22:46 PM

PunGent: Once I'm done with this (projected) trilogy, I've got one in the rough planning stages. Submissive male, but it's still got a dominant female. Don't know if that's what you're looking for.


img.fark.net
 
2013-12-31 04:25:48 PM

Decillion: I think I missed a joke in there somewhere. Literary journals? Is it 1972?


I've gotten a few short stories into some of the mid-tier literary journals.  The problem with them is that most of the editors wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire, and that's if they like your work.  I've had short stories sit at a journal of some esteem for, literally, years.  And then they biatch when people do simultaneous submissions.  And then they biatch about how people can't follow the seventy step instructions for submitting something.  And then they biatch when readers complain about reading fees.

So, yeah, lit journals are out there, but I've not seen much recently in which I would think that it would be a stepping stone.  I think most lit journals are now dominated by writers who have published novels and are seeking a quick per word payout.
 
2013-12-31 04:29:12 PM

whizbangthedirtfarmer: Decillion: I think I missed a joke in there somewhere. Literary journals? Is it 1972?

I've gotten a few short stories into some of the mid-tier literary journals.  The problem with them is that most of the editors wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire, and that's if they like your work.  I've had short stories sit at a journal of some esteem for, literally, years.  And then they biatch when people do simultaneous submissions.  And then they biatch about how people can't follow the seventy step instructions for submitting something.  And then they biatch when readers complain about reading fees.

So, yeah, lit journals are out there, but I've not seen much recently in which I would think that it would be a stepping stone.  I think most lit journals are now dominated by writers who have published novels and are seeking a quick per word payout.


I should start one of those.  Sounds like the perfect way to feel important while deliberately limiting the number of people I benefit.  Ivory tower meets capitalist plutocracy for the win.
 
2013-12-31 04:32:12 PM

Klippoklondike: The article wasn't about the quality of novels, it was about sales.

Gene Wolfe has more skill in his pinky toe than Stephanie Meyer has in her entire body, but her sales blow his out of the water.  Hell, most people have no idea who Gene Wolfe is.

Talent and skill will not necessarily make a novel sell, so if your goal is to write the next great American novel you may be successful in that regard if you practice a lot and study other well written works and their authors.  Just don't expect to get rich off of it.


I for one have never heard so Stephanie Meyer either. Is that better or worse?
 
2013-12-31 04:42:24 PM

Decillion: kliq: Decillion: Look, if you're going to write, you're going to have to self publish. The big established names are the last big established names. Grisham, King, etc. They're dying out slowly. (Clancy, Crichton) What made them (big publishing) is dying too. So all you can do is stake out a small corner of your genre. Whatever is left of the publishing industry will be plucking you and others from the indies.

This is horrible advice. Get published in literary journals until you have enough good work to submit to real presses.

I think I missed a joke in there somewhere. Literary journals? Is it 1972?

If your work is good why not keep control of your art? Put it on amazon and do your own promoting. No publishers will. Hire a cover artist and editor. A one-time cost. Control everything and get %70 royalty.

Or give that up for the bottom shelf of a bookstore (which are going bankrupt) 18 months later  and %12 royalty (after advance is earned).


How is one to get tenure this way? I don't have my first book out yet, but I have around 90 publications in Ivy and upper tier university literary magazines. I'm slowly building up my name so that when I do publish my first book, my name will have some recognition in the literary world.
 
2013-12-31 04:43:18 PM

Wangiss: whizbangthedirtfarmer: Decillion: I think I missed a joke in there somewhere. Literary journals? Is it 1972?

I've gotten a few short stories into some of the mid-tier literary journals.  The problem with them is that most of the editors wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire, and that's if they like your work.  I've had short stories sit at a journal of some esteem for, literally, years.  And then they biatch when people do simultaneous submissions.  And then they biatch about how people can't follow the seventy step instructions for submitting something.  And then they biatch when readers complain about reading fees.

So, yeah, lit journals are out there, but I've not seen much recently in which I would think that it would be a stepping stone.  I think most lit journals are now dominated by writers who have published novels and are seeking a quick per word payout.

I should start one of those.  Sounds like the perfect way to feel important while deliberately limiting the number of people I benefit.  Ivory tower meets capitalist plutocracy for the win.


Oh, hell yes.  And the funny thing is: a lot of people have done just that.  Take a look online for lit mags and journals, and the number has become massive.  Many of the lower-tier ones stick around for a year or so at the most, but the reason most people start them, I think, is because they want to "judge" writers and, really, put them through the wringer. It is a finer art of bullying.
 
2013-12-31 05:20:46 PM
I rarely read fiction.  Out of the 120-130 books I've bought in the last 18 months, just a handful were fiction and if I do it's usually from the late 1800s.  Sherlock Holmes can take up quite a few evenings.
 
2013-12-31 05:36:31 PM

uber humper: I rarely read fiction.  Out of the 120-130 books I've bought in the last 18 months, just a handful were fiction and if I do it's usually from the late 1800s.  Sherlock Holmes can take up quite a few evenings.


Did you catch the Neil Gaiman short story, written in Doyle's style, but set in a Cthulhu setting?

Study in Emerald, might have been the title, but don't hold me to it.

I thought it was outstanding, and I'm not that big a Gaiman fan.
 
2013-12-31 05:39:56 PM

InterruptingQuirk: PunGent: Once I'm done with this (projected) trilogy, I've got one in the rough planning stages. Submissive male, but it's still got a dominant female. Don't know if that's what you're looking for.

[img.fark.net image 420x294]


I've actually been kicking short stories and vignettes based on the idea for about thirty years.
Seriously, don't hold your breath, but if I can sustain my momentum here, kick out the sequels to Wiseass in January and February, respectively, I could get something done and polished by early summer, I think.

Sooner if I take a break after book 2, later if the print-on-demand and audiobooks are more work than I expect.

Never, if I get hit by a bus.
 
2013-12-31 05:42:01 PM

Wangiss: PunGent:
Basically, if it doesn't arouse me IRL, it comes across as dull and mechanical when I try to put it on the page.

Dull and mechanical, huh?  I'll be in my bunk.


"Hot in here, isn't it?" said Goofus.  Gallant slowly peeled off his shirt, revealing his chiseled abs...
 
2013-12-31 05:42:38 PM

whizbangthedirtfarmer: PunGent: whizbangthedirtfarmer:

Fark Writer's group?

I'm in.

That would be nice, but I have no idea on how to get started.  I'm just a Liter.


Likewise.

Yahoo still support groups?
 
2013-12-31 06:00:43 PM

PunGent: Wangiss: PunGent:
Basically, if it doesn't arouse me IRL, it comes across as dull and mechanical when I try to put it on the page.

Dull and mechanical, huh?  I'll be in my bunk.

"Hot in here, isn't it?" said Goofus.  Gallant slowly peeled off his shirt, revealing his chiseled abs...


Okay, yeah, that's not the dull and mechanical I was thinking of.

www.robotliving.com

Just kidding.  That's not my thing, either.  I'm sleep deprived and I was amusing myself with a joke that's funny even though it's low-hanging fruit.

Low hanging fruit, huh?

I'll be in


Nevermind.
 
2013-12-31 06:05:07 PM

PunGent: whizbangthedirtfarmer: PunGent: whizbangthedirtfarmer:

Fark Writer's group?

I'm in.

That would be nice, but I have no idea on how to get started.  I'm just a Liter.

Likewise.

Yahoo still support groups?


I think the thing nowadays is a Facebook group.  I'm in a few of those to help me design and promote games.  I'm launching a Japanese-learning card game's Kickstarter in two days and they've been infinitely helpful.  Also, I've invented a game of checkers that is played in a hypercube.  That'll be later in 2014, but it's being released with a novel I'm writing in which that very game is played.  It'll be a fun co-promotion opportunity for me.  It shouldn't surprise you after the rather overt capitalism in my posts above: I'm in marketing.
 
2013-12-31 06:21:35 PM

Wangiss: PunGent: whizbangthedirtfarmer: PunGent: whizbangthedirtfarmer:

Fark Writer's group?

I'm in.

That would be nice, but I have no idea on how to get started.  I'm just a Liter.

Likewise.

Yahoo still support groups?

I think the thing nowadays is a Facebook group.  I'm in a few of those to help me design and promote games.  I'm launching a Japanese-learning card game's Kickstarter in two days and they've been infinitely helpful.   Also, I've invented a game of checkers that is played in a hypercube.  That'll be later in 2014, but it's being released with a novel I'm writing in which that very game is played.  It'll be a fun co-promotion opportunity for me.  It shouldn't surprise you after the rather overt capitalism in my posts above: I'm in marketing.


Have you done this before?  I have my own weapons...

Seriously, good for you...sounds cool.
 
2013-12-31 07:13:28 PM
Spouse has 50 published books.  Long career writing.  Not so much in the reward department.
This March was #50 (or 49, I forget)
By April, we knew we were buying a house.
When Amazon sells 100,000 of your books, they send you one of these.
i.imgur.com
 
2013-12-31 07:21:13 PM

PunGent: Neil Gaiman short story, written in Doyle's style, but set in a Cthulhu setting? Study in Emerald, might have been the title


"A Study in Emerald". It was fairly good, definitely worth reading if you're a fan of H.P. Lovecraft or Arthur Conan Doyle, but I liked Gaiman's more original stories better.

I wrote a novel a long time ago. I never tried to publish it. About 50 people read the dot-matrix/laser-printed copies I ran off and spiral-bound. Several people said, "You should try to publish this. Far worse books have been published." One guy said, "Your book has the same flaws as Wizard's First Rule, so if you fix those things, it'd be a much better book." OTOH, I don't think the mass market wants a sci-fi post-apocalyptic book right now, so nobody would touch it.

I have also written a few fantasy short stories. (High school losers + magic + angst + attempted rape = plot ; power struggles among feral cats + magic + evil bastards = other plot.) Lack of good backups killed the text of those stories, sigh. The silly "Wolfcano" screenplay here is not much like the other stuff I've written, but it could be produced on a low budget.

The big problem for me is time. Now that I've got a regular job, I don't have much energy for writing stuff. The Internet doesn't help either. I used to think about plots and characters when I got bored. With the Internet, I'm never bored, which means I'm less creative.
 
2013-12-31 07:48:39 PM

whizbangthedirtfarmer: PunGent: whizbangthedirtfarmer:

Fark Writer's group?

I'm in.

That would be nice, but I have no idea on how to get started.  I'm just a Liter.


Believe it or not, I hosted the TotalFark Writer's Workshop for almost two years running. We covered a LOT of ground and had some fun with short story contests. I got too busy with work and it died a quiet death.

Like you, I have a finished novel that I have yet to seriously query, a sequel started (all of my writer friends say not to waste time on it unless the first one sells but I sneak back to it every now and then) and another one about 60K words in that will ultimately challenge James Michener for size and scope. I think you have to do it for yourself first no matter where it might someday go.
 
2013-12-31 10:45:32 PM

danceswithcrows: PunGent: Neil Gaiman short story, written in Doyle's style, but set in a Cthulhu setting? Study in Emerald, might have been the title

"A Study in Emerald". It was fairly good, definitely worth reading if you're a fan of H.P. Lovecraft or Arthur Conan Doyle, but I liked Gaiman's more original stories better.

I wrote a novel a long time ago. I never tried to publish it. About 50 people read the dot-matrix/laser-printed copies I ran off and spiral-bound. Several people said, "You should try to publish this. Far worse books have been published." One guy said, "Your book has the same flaws as Wizard's First Rule, so if you fix those things, it'd be a much better book." OTOH, I don't think the mass market wants a sci-fi post-apocalyptic book right now, so nobody would touch it.



Agree with you about the Internet being a huge time suck, but I'd go ahead and self-publish.  It's free; can't beat that with a stick.

And nobody thought the mass market wanted poorly written S&M, yet 50 Shades sold what?  70 million copies?  some ridiculous number.
 
2013-12-31 11:17:14 PM

danceswithcrows: OTOH, I don't think the mass market wants a sci-fi post-apocalyptic book right now, so nobody would touch it.


PunGent: And nobody thought the mass market wanted poorly written S&M, yet 50 Shades sold what?  70 million copies?  some ridiculous number.


The market was swamped with vampire stories and editors were firmly saying NO MORE VAMPIRES many months before the TWILIGHT series came out.  What people think is market saturation routinely is only their perception.

And poorly written S&M?  I'm not sure how many people on this thread know what happened after 50 SHADES came out.  An author I know decided to basically clone 50SHADES and self published it.  She was under contract from multiple publishers, behind on her deadlines with multiple publishers and took the time to put out the first of that trilogy.  Sold like hotcakes. A different publisher notices the sales, offers her a cool million to take it off the market and have them publish it.  She finished the other two books, and made well over 3 million in the space of two years. Well up in the NYTimes list and full page ads, the whole bit.  The publlshers who she still owed the old books to would have normally cancelled their contracts, but they've wisely just prompted her to publish what she promised.  Yeah, this is the effect of the overflow from the demand for 50SHADES.

So, if you think sci-fi post apocalyptic fiction isn't in demand, you are very sadly mistaken.  The overflow from these latest movies is big.

That said, here's the best piece of advice you'll hear about writing all thread:
Know who your REAL audience is.  Write to them.
It's the hardest thing you'll ever do, because there's a very good chance the author of the work(you) isn't in the audience he/she/you is writing to.
 
2013-12-31 11:24:06 PM
Anyone qualified please correct me this if this is a misconception...

I always figured writing fiction was like singing. You do it because you must, because it makes you feel connected, because you can, because it satisfies an urge whether anyone listens or not. Intrinsic motivation. Most people who sing reach only a very small audience in their lifetime. Most people who sing well enough to be asked to sing again don't receive significant pay for their efforts, if any. Plenty of people sing whom we'd rather not hear.

So, now that we have the ability to record, store, and disseminate anything and everything, how do we sort through it?
What level of exposure qualifies as fame? What is influence? What is success? And who cares how many other people are writing novels out there? That's like asking how many other people in the world are talking at the same time you are. What does that matter, when the relevant question is, do you have an audience and do you have something to say?
 
2014-01-01 10:11:18 AM

E5bie: Anyone qualified please correct me this if this is a misconception...

I always figured writing fiction was like singing. You do it because you must, because it makes you feel connected, because you can, because it satisfies an urge whether anyone listens or not. Intrinsic motivation. Most people who sing reach only a very small audience in their lifetime. Most people who sing well enough to be asked to sing again don't receive significant pay for their efforts, if any. Plenty of people sing whom we'd rather not hear.

So, now that we have the ability to record, store, and disseminate anything and everything, how do we sort through it?
What level of exposure qualifies as fame? What is influence? What is success? And who cares how many other people are writing novels out there? That's like asking how many other people in the world are talking at the same time you are. What does that matter, when the relevant question is, do you have an audience and do you have something to say?


Actually, those are pretty damn deep questions you're asking...sure you're on the correct site?  :)

I've got a novel under my belt now, so I'll take a crack.

First, the "do it because you must" thing, I'll agree with that.  I basically sat for two weeks straight at my computer, and the characters just climbed out of me onto the page.  No contract, no advance, and I'm realistic about the chances of writing a best-seller.  I just did it.  It was kind of cool, actually...I've been kicking the ideas around for years, but it was probably the longest sustained burst of raw creativity I've ever experienced.

As far as "how do we sort through it?"...excellent question.  Short answer, we don't.  Long answer, programmers are already figuring out ways to grade essays; the programs suck, so far, but they'll keep getting better.  Eventually they may find a way to filter novels, art, etc, by computer, so the consumer can say "I want detective novels in the style of Ngaio Marsh", and the web will offer him 10,000 vetted choices, instead of 100,000 poorly-sorted ones.  Add more filters, narrow your selection, find what you want.

If you get bored, hit 'random', let the system surprise you.  And word-of-mouth will still be important, I think.

People will cling to the old systems, of course.  Literary agents, publishers, printers, critics.  And that's fine.  It's hard to change someone's mind when their paycheck depends on NOT changing their mind.  They'll resist the new systems... just like companies that made buggy whips resisted the automobile.  I won't guess how long the process will take.  And, frankly, I like elements of the old system; like books, especially old books...an e-reader is fine, but just isn't the same.

My book?  I sent out a few query letters, didn't even get the courtesy of a rejection notice.

Screw 'em.  Best revenge?  Sell a hundred thousand copies, then sell the movie rights.  Sure, it probably won't happen.  But if I sit around waiting for a big publishing house to deign to print my stuff...that I KNOW is better than some of the crap they already print...I'll grow old and grey waiting.

Screw that.  A slim chance is better than no chance.  And if you can't be a dinosaur, be one of the little mammals running around in the underbrush.

Now, as far as influence and success?  the easy way to define them remains money.

Personally, and it's the reason I've got the leisure time to sit down and write a novel, I define success as having the time to do what you want with your life.

Money is infinite; the time you get to do things is not.
 
2014-01-01 08:42:33 PM
Everyone always tells me I should be a writer. Im too sporatic. My ideas range from a one sentence blurb to an massive idea that I cant chronologically organize and fill in the gaps. I did a bit of quick math in my head.... knew there was no chance. But I do like to write. I think I just dont give enough of a chit if anyone else sees it.
 
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