I’ve been thinking about success and failure as a writer. Obviously penning a best seller is for many the ultimate mark of success. What is the opposite? What is complete failure? If you finish your book you have passed the point of complete failure. But what happens if you book just sits there, unread and unwanted. Well the Creative Pen has a great article on just that subject. https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2017/08/24/7-reasons-to-smile-not-a-bestseller/ To that I would add an even worse scenario, your book rockets to the top of the list for a few weeks and then nothing. Even worse your next book is a dud. Can you say one hit wonder? I don’t know if thinking of a writing career in terms of success or failure is healthy. There are so many little successes and smaller failures that they all kind of blur together. We can celebrate and wail for a bit with each of them as we move on to the next.
One of my favorite YouTube channels is from Anderton’s Music Store, this week they had to put up a short video that due to recent trolls in their comments section they would be deleting comments and blocking posters. I had to ask myself, What kind of shithead trolls a music site that has videos of various guitars and amps? Apparently a lot of them. The anonymity of the internet has provided a great hedge for despicable people to hide behind and lob eggs from. None of these people would last in a direct confrontation but thanks to technology they are emboldened to think their opinion matters. Truth be told no one’s opinion matters. Even as I’m writing this in my head I going, yeah that’s my opinion but it doesn’t matter because trolls will be trolls.
Expressing one’s self is the heart of what makes us human. The freedom to do so without fear of reprisal is what makes America so great. Some see that as carte blanche to attack and deride others. As a librarian I abhor the thought of censorship but when it means I don’t have to wade through a sea of garbage I’m backed into an uncomfortable corner. The only solution starts with each of us. That solution is as simple as treating everyone online not even as you would treat them in real life but as you would like to be treated. It’s not that difficult for the intelligent among us who probably have already figured that out. For the rest there is always the ban hammer. Sadly that only seems to encourage the trolls more so it really is a death spiral of sorts.
The blog, Publishing and Other Forms of Insanity, released a list of writing contests open to submissions in the month of August. I’m terrible at entering these and even worse at winning, but they are still a great way to get your writing out there. A contest win could also be the spark that gets your writing career burning. Give the link a click here: http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/2017/07/28-free-writing-contests-in-august-2017.html
While this article offers some interesting tips, http://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/2017/07/getting-your-self-published-book-into.html, take it from me, when it comes to self-published books the library is not likely to find a place for your works. The major providers of books to libraries, Baker and Taylor and Ingram, do very little for self-published and or print on demand books. The other side is the demand in libraries still falls within the confines of the monolithic New York Best Sellers Lists. There is only so much money in the book budget and when 250 people want to read the latest Patterson book you can bet the library has to order many copies.
Another side to this has to do with vetting the titles. Libraries are very conscious of works that will for lack of a better term, ruffle the feathers of their patrons. There is a huge concern in libraries that because self-published works do not fall within the same editing and proofing routines of traditionally published books they will contain content that would put the library in an awkward light. I have to say some of that may be justified. Books with erroneous information or unsubstantiated information would definitely incur the ire of any librarian, this one included. The degree of this is subjective and even extends to traditionally published books but on the whole the concern mostly falls on self-published books justified or not. That is to say nothing of books who have not been properly edited, both for story and development as well as copy editing.
Where does that leave all the writers doing it on their own or via a small or niche house? Well you still should frequent your local library. There are programs for writers and if it is a library that processes their own books you may still see your works on the shelf if you strike up a friendly conversation with the director. Please take this for what it is, my take on things I see everyday. Other libraries may have different policies so please check with them. I just wanted to write about what I have seen and told to writers who have come to my library.
I read today about Joe Scarborough’s intention to leave the Republican party. I have been mulling a post like this for some time and I figured now was as good as any. In the whole arena of discourse, certain topics have managed to find themselves on one side of a line or another. It is either a topic Democrats are for and Republicans are against or vice versa. It is not even an ideological division as many of these things once were. People clearly agree with one side and disagree with the other. Yet even in the realm of sports you can have a favorite team but on an off year you are more likely to say, “yes these guys played like bums,” more likely than a Democrat would say, “you know what there could be a lot of reasons for the climate to be changing.”
This is not how you have a healthy debate. Hell this isn’t even how you learn. It is as though the saints in silk suits have pissed in peoples’ ears and no amount of evidence , rational talk, or information will sway them from the knowledge granted from a party affiliation. I am guilty of this too and it’s even cost me friends. What is the point?
We all are intelligent people capable of forming our own opinions. Even in this era of constant bombardment of information we should never turn that faculty off. But we do. I’m a Democrat. But I don’t think single payer is the answer to our crisis in health care. I don’t think gun control works by banning guns. I came to these opinions by listening to the other side and reexamining my own. I guess what frustrates me the most is when others are so locked into their party speak that all that comes from them is an endless stream of the same mumbo-jumbo. I think we can all be a little saner and safer if we read, think, evaluate, and then expound.
I love these articles about the myths and fantasies vs the reality of a writing career. Here is a good one from Anne R. Allen’s blog. http://annerallen.com/2017/06/6-fantasies-stop-writing-success-fight-back/
For all of us a successful book is the goal/dream, I call it my gream, that we all work towards. It’s always good to have a sense of reality smack us a bit just to keep things in check.
I’ve seen this a few times in my news feeds. The part that scares me is that there are people who actually believe that Globalization is some sort of agenda being forced on us and not a response to the technology that has brought thew world closer together than any time in history. These people would cling to the idea of our country, your country. An idea that has led to two world wars, but maybe I’m oversimplifying things. I’m not even going to call out the sowing of mistrust in the news media which is the chief tool in the despotic regime’s tool box. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion but when I see an opinion that flies in the face of logic I am left to fear for this country of ours.
I know I’m a little behind with the blogging and this is probably old news by now but something that struck me. I understand that anyone in the public’s eye has a very unique position in that a few seconds coupled with a stupid decision can really alter their world. The problem is those decisions come so quickly, would anyone of us recognize one? I know I’ve made a flippant remark or two that I later regretted. The benefit of someone in my case is my circle is so small that remark disappears. Even should I post a picture, my level of celebrity is such that seconds later that picture is swallowed up and lost to the cacophony of the Internet. That may not always be true. I guess a part of me should hope to be so famous that my stupid decisions become news worthy and set off a flood of commentary. Oh the things I could say. In the end, though, stupidity shouldn’t be front page, or even third screen news. Wouldn’t that be a great word to live in? I know I’m a dreamer, but then again wasn’t the Internet created by a bunch of dreamers?
I came across this article in my news feed the other day. I admit when it comes to making money off of social media, the whole advertiser, influence gig is a bit of a mystery to me. Personally I can’t imagine anyone being interested in what I am doing but apparently others are and there is money to be made. A lot of money, and when there is a lot of money at stake the game is on. However, once you let the monster out it is not easy to get it back in the cage. Instagram Created a Monster: A No B.S. Guide to What’s Really Going On.
As I said, some of this was familiar to me and and some I had no clue about. I know many make a living on social media and every time I think about it I get that Dire Straits song, Money for Nothing, stuck in my head. But I guess it’s not nothing, a lot of money is spent on getting the word out to people, no matter what the word is, or who the people are, or where it’s coming from. As an unknown writer, (an undiscovered talent I would add), I know I have to reach as many possible readers as I can. Social media is the vehicle to do that, engaging content is the way. But when you don’t have anything, and just abuse the system to make a buck it hurts everyone. When it looks like the system is designed to be abused, well, then everyone looks silly.