What Does It Take to Be a Writer?

Writing a book in a tent in the middle of the snowy forest.
What will YOU be doing in 2018? Is this where we need to go to write a book?

I started reading a book by a somewhat successful author about a week ago. I get a few pages into it and then I’m actually happy to put it down and fall asleep when I feel the urge. I wanted to read a book of his because I never had, and many people enjoy his books.

From about the second page, I was annoyed by the way he writes. I’ve pushed through now and I must be on page 30 or something –  hard to say on a Kindle without pages – but, somewhere around there. His style seems to be to question openly what the main character likes, wants, is thinking… and more. It’s overwhelmingly annoying – and I’m not sure I’ll make it much further in the book.

I started to wonder today –

What does it take to be a writer?

By the question, I mean, a successful writer. One that writes and lives off the income produced from writing. I’m talking about books. When the ebook opened up the publishing domain to any yip-yap with a story – that’s what happened… we got yip-yaps writing stories and there is a heap of junk on Amazon and the rest of the ebook channels.

I know there are heaps without having read a good percentage of them, because I am reading what are supposed to be the best of the best – and I’m not happy with most of them either.

This writer I’m reading now – is selling about 20 books per day – of just this one book. That’s how his Amazon rank looks to me based on books that I sell at 20 per day. How in the HELL is he selling that many, for the value he is giving, I’m almost at a loss.

I’m not at a loss though, I think I can figure it out to some degree.

Number 1 – He’s a known entity. He has written about a dozen books in a specific niche for over a decade. There are not many writers in the niche. The niche has a lot of readers with nothing to do (retired).

Number 2 – His book covers are OK, about 1-step above mine in professionalism. Mine work, his must work a little better I’m guessing.

Number 3 – He is almost bigger than life in this little niche he writes in. He gets great review after great review.

I know now, because of #3 – I’ll need to find and read one of his books that got him a great review. Hopefully, I can find it for free somewhere, because I can’t stand the thought of paying any more money for value I’m not getting. Maybe this current book of his is a Flop and I need to see more of what he’s done that got great reviews. I think that’s the plan. In fact, that gives me an excuse to stop torturing myself about continuing to read this book. I can stop now and save some brain cells.

Over the past year of reading other e-books released at Amazon, I have come to a conclusion…

It does not take much to be a writer today. There must be thousands of authors that aren’t worth the spit coming out the corner of their droopy bottom lip and slobbering up their shirts. Thousands, I’m telling you.

Now, this is both good and bad for me.

Good because:

  • the competition sucks
  • though I am not a great writer, I am good in comparison
  • the e-book marketplace hasn’t come close to peaking – I can write for another 5 years and get better as I do so, eventually becoming a great writer

Bad because:

  • bad writers writing junk books are clogging up Amazon with competing books
  • e-books might get a bad name due to hordes of inept writers clogging up the virtual bookshelves
  • readers will continue to buy paper-based books because there is a higher quality product there due to review by publishers and agents

It’s good for you, because if you can just write a long story of 200-300 pages that doesn’t absolutely suck flies – you can be a writer too.

Really, that’s about all that is necessary right now. Write a book to the best of your abilities, have it edited so at least people can understand it – and publish it. That’s it. Someone will call you a writer. Someone will buy your schlock.

Kind of a weird state of the industry – right?

When did music ever reach this stage? You put out some absolutely average, uninspiring songs on mp3… will you get people to buy them if they suck? No.

Videos? Can you make a junk video – I mean TRASH video, even worse than what hits the movie theaters today – will you make enough money to survive? No.

Art… if you make mediocre art, can you live off that?

Unfortunately – hell yes, and nearly all artists these days are producing junk I wouldn’t barter for a shaved shih tzu. So, art doesn’t work for this…

The art of telling a story well takes a HELLuva lot of skills. The art of writing that story out so it is fascinating and at the top of the game – is mind-numbingly difficult – even for those that can do it, or that have done it before with other books. If you can do it once – amazing. Twice? Astounding. Thrice? GTFO!

So, I’ll spend the rest of my life shooting for once. Hopefully, some karmic energy will supply me with the magic that will be needed to write an amazing book – even once. I’ll take once…

 

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