Friday, September 2, 2011

The gloves are off the 3rd! Just because you've written a book doesn't make you a writer

I've been thinking about this for a long while, pondering if I should post this, but I feel I need to say something. It's my blog in the end and I can post whatever I like, right?
I've been watching the Indie community for the past few months and I've been among 'writers' for over two years now. What I have observed is a lot of people who have written a book, think they are now a writer and will be famous author. Their mum, auntie, sister, gran and two best friends said their book's great, too, so it must be true. Bursting with confidence they submit their humble scribblings. Then: the truth hits home, rejection after rejection; soon, they will be able to plaster their entire house with them. Still, they don't think something's wrong with their writing, it's the others who don't recognise their genius.
They decide to go for self-publishing. Heavens thank Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. They get their friends and family to buy a copy each and write a review. Of course it's all praise. Ah, it looks so pretty, doesn't it? When the first real reader buys the book and complains about the bad editing, poor characterisation and plot, apart from the typos and other errors, it's the arsehole who didn't get it, when more negative comments arrive, they cry out for people to put those stupid reviewers right.
No joking, I've seen it all. I wonder if the 'never give up' advice might do more damage than good to some of the 'authors' out there. Stephenie Meyer's and J.K. Rowling's rejections are quoted. Well, Meyer had about 15 and Rowling 12. That's nothing in publishing. I got about 45 for all my three book together. Then, I don't write YA and I don't have a series at the ready. I know why my books got rejected, though I had an acceptance for the shorts stories and an offer to resend after tweaking for No Wings Attached, both of which I denied in the end.
I hear pure readers when they say they have enough of Indies, though there are quite a few who are good, sell well and made themselves a name, there are still far more who receive dream-shattering reviews on their books. Or there are plenty of Indies who don't sell, despite all effort to market their books. Maybe that's a hint for them to either write something else, or just give up. Maybe that's why they got so many rejections in the first place (unless they write for a small market)? Perhaps they need to learn a bit more about writing and hone their skills before they throw their unreadable books at the public. Many readers already voice their demand for some sort of quality for the Indie books, I absolutely agree. I guess that would shake up the market considerably and we'd have about a third of books left. A certain standard would force aspiring authors to edit and proof-read their books until they're green in the face. A shame they're not doing it already voluntarily, it's part of the 'job'.
And: not every person who has written a book is cut out for the industry. To survive as an author, you need to learn constantly, produce at least one book a year - a book of quality, that is, the Indie-market is fast and every changing, before you know it, you're forgotten. And that's the pressure many self-appointed authors can't handle.

Always remember: just because mummy says you've written the next bestseller, doesn't necessarily mean it's true.

JUST ADDED after misunderstandings: I'm not addressing the issue of cutting edge literature or books that don't fit into neat genres, they often have a small readership, hence the low sales. 

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