There is a lot of stupid out there on the internet. Still, very rarely does stupid come along that makes me so angry I take the time to blog about it calmly and rationally rather than with one of my fly by the seat of my pants epic humor filled rants.
Today I bring you the stupid that broke the internet in the form of a rather ignorant post made on Amazon in one of the discussion threads. Someone screenshotted this little gem and it’s taken the indie author corner of Facebook by storm.
I told you it was going to be painful, I mean where do I even begin? There is just so much fail in this post it isn’t even funny. I mean, I sincerely wish this were a troll post. I really do, but I don’t think it is. So there is a lot in here to cover. I’m going to start with the assertion that I am somehow doing my readers a grave injustice by releasing my series as a series rather than completing the entire thing and releasing it at one go for them to feast upon.
Like any author who has released a series and who has folks reading it and eagerly awaiting more, I suffer from releasing my novels out into the world only to have someone comment mere hours later, “When is the next one coming out?”
It is such an odd mixture of emotion when it happens too. First there is glee over the fact that they liked it enough to want more, but then comes the tsunami of anxiety about producing the next one and keeping things good for the readers. Then there is even a little anger. That voice in the back of your head that screams Really!? I mean REALLY!? And let me tell you, that voice is totally justified, especially where this special little snowflake is concerned.
Clearly this individual has no concept about what kind of work it takes to take a story from a vaguely amorphous notion or idea through to an 85-100,000 word novel that a person can hold in their hands, read and enjoy.
So allow me to clear some things up.
First, as an author you have to think about what you want to write about. When you have the idea, you need to spend hours, sometimes days, weeks, months or even years thinking about the characters, the world they live in and why everything is the way it is beyond what you are ever going to put down on paper. You need to have details for each of your characters that may never see the light of day. Why? Because when you put ink to page, what’s there will shine that much brighter with purpose and assurance because you have taken the time to figure all of this out.
Now comes the hard part. You need to sit your happy ass down and write it. That doesn’t sound like much, I know, but consider this… A well rounded, full length novel is considered to be around 60,000 words plus. Which is bullshit. If you really, really want a well rounded, full length novel then you are looking at something in the neighborhood of 85-100k words plus. Most of my SHMC novels, for example, are around 90k words in length.
As of the word ‘Stop’ right up there you have read 561 words. I want you to think about that. Now I want you think about this. Including distractions going on around me, I’ve been writing for over an hour. Lets do the math, shall we?
100,000 words divided by 561 words equals 178ish. That is 178 hours and that doesn’t include the time you hit writers block and can’t think of where to go or the point where you just hit that wall and are sick to death of the act of typing or reading or creating to the point where you look at the screen and just want to vomit. No you have to factor in that time as well.
You also have to factor in the time that you look at your fiancé and say, “Sorry honey, I can’t go to the movies/hang out with you and your boss/have sex with you right now, I have a book to finish. It doesn’t factor in the time you take away from your kids. It doesn’t factor in the sleepless nights or the times you have poured so much of your brain power, heart and soul into a manuscript you shuffle away from the keyboard like a zombie and you just don’t have anything left brain that day.
And that’s just the beginning. You’ve finished your book, it’s sitting in front of you, and now the actual work begins. Now you have to find someone to edit it, because let’s face it. 90% of us storytellers are just that, creative story telling types that doesn’t know our ass from a hole in the ground when it comes to comma placement.
So you start looking for an editor… and you realize that editors are really fucking expensive and you get really damned discouraged because here is your dream of becoming a published author sitting in front of you, so close to complete you can almost taste it and you can’t find anyone affordable to make it look shiny. Because honestly, in today’s world, who has a spare $700.00+ laying around to pay a professional editor their .002 cents per word for your 100,000 word manuscript?
Not to be deterred, you suck it up, you valiantly call on your friends, your family, your high school English Teacher, anybody you know with grammar skills that are better than yours to go over your baby. You tinker, you fix, you rewrite and you spend weeks if not months with ‘Line Editing’ or ‘Copy Editing for Dummies’ open at your elbow or on your Kindle slaving away at trying to get it right.
Finally, you’ve scraped up some confidence and are ready to go forward and you look at all the books out there and realize… shit. I need a cover. Not only do I need a cover, I need one that is going to stand out, draw people in, a cover that screams out to anyone passing by ‘Read me!’ and so you go looking for a cover artist. Well guess what, they aren’t as expensive as an editor, but they’re still expensive. So you find someone, you hire them, you save like a mofo and you’ve got your cover and you breathe a big sigh of relief and you go through the crazy formatting guidelines and you finally close your eyes, go for broke and hit ‘publish’.
Or if you’re lucky you explode all over the internet, but for the majority of us.
Then you realize… oh… no one knows my book exists. How do I reach my audience? So you start doing homework on marketing your book and you fall in with a bunch of bloggers and marketing people that tell you “Oh yeah yeah! I’ll do this, and I’ll do that and we’ll get your book seen and all it’s going to cost you is…”
More money that you didn’t have in the first place. And you think that it sounds like a really good deal, so you save save save and pay this person or that and they take your money and post a buy link once on their site and you realize you’ve been had and it’s soul crushing.
You want to give up, but you believe in your book and so you join forums and chat rooms and promote it yourself every spare waking moment and people start reading it and the next thing you know, you’re selling copies and then someone asks.
“Is there going to be another one?” and you think… you know? I do have an idea… and the whole process starts all over again, only this time, you take the money you earned off your first book and you recycle it into your next one. You manage to hire that editor, you manage to get a better cover and maybe even recover the first book. You’ve figured out by now who the reputable bloggers and marketing people are and you hire one of those too. You’ve burned through all the profits you made on that first book making your second book a reality and things start moving. Pretty soon you are brave enough to chance a third book…
That is how this works. It is HARD work.
And then you get things like what sparked this entire blog in the first place and as my buddy and fellow author put it, you want to ‘throat punch this bitch in the throat with a steak knife’. Because I am telling you… “I’m in this for the money,” SAID NO INDEPENDENT AUTHOR EVER when first starting out.
I leave you with this: