Wednesday, 11 August 2021

The Trouble With Writing

It's hard enough to actually get the words on paper - but after that you have to do the self promotion thing.

That's when you find out that, rather than the world clamoring to read you work, you're just one of thousands upon tens of thousands of writers in exactly the same place.

Writing a book used to be the goal - that many splendorous achievement that marked you out as special. Now?

Join the queue.

Getting publishers interested in your book is - and always was I guess - a total uphill struggle. But it's getting worse.

The whole publishing industry seems set up to say 'no', before you've even had time to pitch your idea, hone your proposal or edit down your synopsis.

Publishers explain they already have a huge back catalogue of work they have yet to publish, that, really, they don't need to see your manuscript, even before they know what it's about.

But then you read that traditional publishing is on the way out anyway.

Kindle is taking over - the majority of books sold are now electronic.

There's always self publishing - a minefield and a nightmare combined for the average wannabe author of a hard copy.

There are many companies already on line whose sole aim seems to be to take your money, make you poorer and do nothing much to help you or your work.

Self publishing - I know because I do it - shouldn't cost you more than around $500 for 50 books.

That's the reality.

That's how much it actually costs.

So why do others - who say they are "publishing you" and will get you to sign a contract - and then charge you around $5,000 to $15,000?

These companies use the fact that writers find it so hard to get published to fatten their wallets at your expense.

Talk about profiteering.

Need an agent?

Fugedaboudit.

Agents are besieged by manuscripts they can't sell.

Even when you get one - and I've had a few - my experience is that they find it just as hard (and sometimes harder) to get work published as we solo authors do.

Think that having an agent gives you an edge in the publishing world?

Uh-uh.

Times ain't like that anymore.

And here again there are individuals who call themselves agents - who prey on writers desperation to be represented - and rip you blind before you can say, "Can you please read my book?"

It's enough to make you despair!

Fact is, you're most likely to sell books if you self publish them - by which I mean finding a cheap POD printer and doing it yourself and then go on a speaking tour of your local libraries and shops and physically selling your books out of the trunk of your car.

I know traditional publishers who suggest you do this this anyway - they call it a 'launch tour' - difference being they will take 90% of the cover price of your book.

At least when you self-publish you get to keep 50% or more.

I read an editor's blog recently that 99% of all books sold less than 200 copies each - and that includes the books sold by traditional publishers.

Makes you want to seriously reconsider your decision to be a writer, doesn't it?

But still we do it.

I write every day. I more books I want to get out there - when I'm done editing.

I have over a hundred published books - and the royalties are nice but, of course, could be better.

This last decade my income from self published work has actually far outstripped my income from publishers.

It's not just me.

Writers everywhere face this new dilemma.

Is it really worth hawking around the publisher circuit anymore?

After all, they can take up to a year - and sometimes longer - to reject a MS.

That's way too long to make a writer wait in my view.

Far better to take the bull by the horns (don't you just hate cliches) and do it ourselves.

I think this is what the future holds for writers.

We gotta do it ourselves. Build the following one reader at a time.

Get ourselves out there and sell our books one at a time - and make a small profit from each one.

Take back control from an industry that is finding it increasingly hard to support us with the onslaught of new technology.

Refuse to get sucked in to those companies and individuals who prey on writer's dreams.

Make the decision.

Decide to take back control over our destiny - and let those big publishing companies know their days are numbered.

Thanks for letting me rant.

Keep writing!

Rob's Writing Academy