I had meant to write about a post I recently read by Derek Haines over at The Vandal, that is before the proposal bug swept through this past weekend. So here I am a day late, but the conversation is still timely.
Derek wrote about e-book garbage in his post titled Who's Killing The E-Book Revolution?
The argument is quickly becoming a tried and true, old-hat kind of discussion found throughout the indie publishing world. JA Konrath calls it the race to the bottom and he repeatedly denies that it exists. The race to the bottom, not the discussion.
The basic viewpoints are as follows:
- There is a glut of self-published authors who have saturated the market to the point where it is impossible for readers to find authors and authors to connect to readers. Derek refers to a pond of writers becoming an ocean.
- JA Konrath opines that cream rises. Basically, there has always been a glut of writers and somehow readers find what they want. He has in the past pointed to the internet as an example how there are millions of sites and still, the best of them get the views while the rest are ignored.
Where do I stand? I don't believe there ever existed a guarantee that completing a book or a short story meant people would read what you wrote or that they would pay for the privilege. There has to be a confluence of conditions met in order for you to succeed, and writing well is just one condition. I don't want to call it luck alone but luck too is a needed condition for success-
The truth is, too many indie writers are not getting it. There is work involved beyond writing and if you don't want to put in the work, then you have almost no chance of getting ahead. You certainly can't count on a paycheck. You have to learn about your craft and you have to learn the business. It is about writing well, it isn't about writing period. Indie writers who know the market, have connections, make smart business choices, they can worry a lot less about writing because presumably, the writing is the least concern for a writer.
If you are a writer, the words come, but sales? That's another matter. The e-book revolution has a glut of authors who won't or can't promote and that is because they consider the e-book revolution as simply a matter of writing. Stop that!
The successful writers will continue to sell and make livings and too many good folks will sit and be baffled by why they have sold a couple copies of their books (probably to enthusiastic friends and family).
The e-book revolution is alive and well for those who understand what the revolution means. Get on board. Put in the work. Support, be supported and learn the business instead of bemoaning how difficult it is to get paid. I haven't been paid for thirty-five years and yet here I am, still plugging away and the only difference now?
I am not as stupid as I once was. I'm learning. You all should, too. Let's get the revolution rocking, already.