October 15, 2010 by Renee
Who watches Oprah? I used to, when I had time for television, but not so much anymore. I do remember she did this thing where she’d list “What I know for sure…” and usually it was inspirational and all that and don’t expect to get that here. If you want inspiration, go buy those Chicken Soup books. Today’s blog post is related to writing, of course, and here’s how it will work. I’m going to list things that are ‘debated’ in the writing/publishing industry and then post ‘What I know for sure’ based on my own experience. I’d love it if you would comment on your own learning experiences and let us know what you know for sure as well. Here we go:
Traditional publishing is better than self publishing.
Ouch. Don’t you hate when people say or imply that they’re better simply because they’ve got a publisher, agent or whatever? Me too. Irritating. But I know from my experience that traditional publishing is better FOR ME. What I know for sure is that you need to educate yourself, learn all you need to know about both options and decide with that knowledge which route you want to go. Neither is ‘better’, it depends on what your personal goals are for your career.
To network or not to network.
My writing should sell my books not my personality. You have to get out there, get known. I don’t like people and I don’t intend to pretend I do. Why can’t I just write the book and be done with it? **Sigh**
Here’s what I know for sure: Twitter, Facebook, etc. won’t actually sell your books. That’s up to you. BUT, networking puts you out there, makes you known and makes your work visible. Without that you’re going to have a tough time selling that first, even that second book. You don’t have to be exciting, you don’t have to be likable, and you don’t have to tweet about how you remembered to wipe your ass today. Readers don’t care. You DO have to make the attempt to at least be familiar. I have about 250 followers on Twitter. When I publish a book, 100 to 150 of those people will not give a shit and will not bother buying. 100 of them might say, “Hmm. Interesting.” Of that 100, 50 might go out and buy my first book. More realistically, 25 or 15 of them will. Not much when you consider I have 250 followers. However, if not for Twitter, I wouldn’t even have that small number buying. Then 5 of that 15 might review the book favorably. They might have 1000 followers and 10 of those might buy because of that review. A couple of them might review as well and another 5 of their followers might buy, and so on and so on…you get what I’m saying?
What does professional mean?
I’ve blogged about this already. I am what I am. What I know for sure is that I cannot convincingly pretend I’m anything else. If you don’t like me, well I’m not going to kiss your ass and try to change your mind. If you don’t want to read my writing because I have a voice and I use it, then you most likely aren’t my target audience anyway. Professionalism is about respect, in my opinion. If you’re respectful to others, and you are honest and real, then you are being professional. It doesn’t mean stuffy, fake, and nice to everyone. Professional means being you.
I want to write, but I just can’t find the time.
What I know for sure is that if you can’t find the time to write, you don’t really want to write.
Reviews. Don’t comment on them.
I’m on the fence about this one. I know for sure that to comment on a negative review where you attack the reviewer isn’t the wisest career choice. If you comment on an unfair negative review that is insulting you or your readers….I can see me doing that. Is it right? Not likely. I think that this particular issue is a ‘case by case’ problem. What I know for sure is that you should NEVER comment as someone else. If you’re the writer, be honest. If you don’t have enough balls to comment as yourself don’t bother commenting.
Agents and publishers just don’t want new writers.
What I know for sure is that this comment is a load of crap. Of course they want new writers. If you’re giving up simply because you’ve gotten a rejection or 500, then you shouldn’t be writing. This business takes persistence and a backbone of solid steel, and if you allow yourself to get discouraged, you’ll never make it. I have bad days. I cry, bang my head on hard surfaces and pitch tantrums where I concoct brilliant schemes that eliminate all agents and publishers in one giant blow but at the end of the day, I still send another query and cross my fingers for luck. It only takes one.
Renee is obvioulsy heavily medicated and shouldn’t be blogging this week.
What I know for sure is that yes, I am medicated. No, I probably shouldn’t be blogging and probably make no sense at all. But it beats lying on the couch moaning in pain. No one here listens anyway.
So, what do you know for sure?