Sunday, June 28, 2015

About Patience and Learning

I’ve come across a number of blogs this week by experienced writers advising new writers to slow down, learn the craft, and stop trying to cheat their way to fame and fortune.

For those of you who are aware of subscriptions services like Kindle Unlimited (KU), you’re also probably aware that many (though not all) writers have lost incomes and, according to Kristine Katherine Rusch, have quit. Rusch and many others cite gaming the system as one of KU’s problems. Rusch refers to gaming the system as elevating book sales by doing something non-writing related, and she’s plenty angry about it. Apparently, people are studying Amazon’s algorithms to find ways to increase sales. Personally, I’m puzzled why writers would even bother spending time analyzing algorithms when they should be spending precious time and energy writing better books. Sure, algorithms might help improve a writer’s sales, but algorithms change, and then more time must be spent trying to figure things out. Even now, KU has changed how authors will be paid in an attempt to sort out the problem.

A second, quite aspiring blog comes from author Elizabeth Hunter who advises self-published writers to fully embrace the concept of owning their work by not bitching about poor sales, discoverability issues, and vast competition. She encourages writers to take full control of self-publishing and be proactive in improving their situations rather than whining about how hard it is to sell books. It’s great advice, but is it as easy as she makes it sound?

Lastly, I’ve chosen to share a poignant blog by Hope Clark, owner of the fundsforwriters newsletter and a mystery writer herself. Hope is a pretty positive person in her weekly blogs, but this week she too laments about writers who want quick money without putting in the time to hone their skills. She wants writers to stop focusing on commercialism and get back to the basics of digging deep to write and rewrite the best story possible until it is truly ready to be shared with the world. Incidentally, she also quotes a really striking bit from John Steinbeck who addressed the dark side of success.

Each of these blogs essentially says the same thing. If writers want a career, then they must be patient. They must take the time to learn the craft, to learn the business, and to keep learning as change is inevitable in this business. These authors wouldn’t bother blogging about their concerns if they weren’t seeing huge numbers of people trying the quick, easy route, and that’s a shame.

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