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Old 06-21-2012, 08:06 AM   #1
VydorScope
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Letter to a writer who is losing confidence

Intresting post I saw come by on Twitter...

http://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/2...ng-confidence/

What do you all think?
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:34 AM   #2
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I'm surprised that the "letter" managed to miss an all-important question which I believe all novelists ask themselves, whether they admit to it or not:

Will anybody care?

I don't believe writers write in a vacuum. If they write, it's because they want someone to read what they've written. If no one wants to read your book--if no one will buy it--it does two things to a writer: It breaks down a great deal of the confidence that was built up in order to write it; and it forces the writer to consider whether all that effort, no matter how good, no matter how enjoyable, was worth it.

After writing a number of novels, I firmly believe that I know how to do it right. But lack of interest and lack of sales does more to discourage me, and prevent my bothering to write the next novel, than all of the other points in that letter combined. (It still may prevent me from writing the novel I'm actually developing right now; at any moment, I might "come to my senses" and pull the plug.) If that letter had been written to me, and it did not touch upon that point, it would be essentially worthless to me.

As an aside, Roz might have also asked Lucy if she was comfortable with the state of publishing, the industry turmoil she'd be injecting herself into, the multiple channels of the ebook industry she may have to master, the likelihood that ebook piracy would rob her of some amount of possible profit, etc. All of that has been known to sink many a prospective author before they'd sailed.

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Old 06-21-2012, 08:55 AM   #3
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Launching off your point... I see piracy as the answer to "does anyone care" The fact that my books ARE pirated make me think that at least some people care, else why pirate it?

But you are right. If no one ever bought my books I might loose steam. The fact that they are selling (even slowly) is an encouragement.
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:01 PM   #4
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I do a couple things that are compensated in a laughable way — writing novels and building traditional kayaks. I keep doing them both because I enjoy making something out of next to nothing. For me, that's the prime motivator. Everything else is secondary. I feel good about selling a book, but it's not really the reason I bother. As an economic activity, stealing aluminum cans from recycling bins would make more sense. I don't view writing or boat building as purposeless, but you think it helps to look inside rather than outside for the justification.
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Old 06-21-2012, 02:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by VydorScope View Post
Launching off your point... I see piracy as the answer to "does anyone care" The fact that my books ARE pirated make me think that at least some people care, else why pirate it?
Actually, I would consider that NOT caring, since they care little enough of me to willingly steal from me; and therefore more of a discouragement to writing. But maybe that's just me.

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I don't view writing or boat building as purposeless, but you think it helps to look inside rather than outside for the justification.
I can certainly see you enjoying a boat you've built. But unless you enjoy re-reading your own books, I just don't see the joy in writing a book no one will read. And if I thought no one would read my books, I'd rather ask you for kayak-building lessons.

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Old 06-21-2012, 03:24 PM   #6
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Actually, I would consider that NOT caring, since they care little enough of me to willingly steal from me; and therefore more of a discouragement to writing. But maybe that's just me.
I guess that depends on whether you think it's more important that someone reads the book, or that they pay for the privilege before they do.

Everyone is different. I dabble in writing off and on, and my husband is the only one who has ever read any fiction I have written. The process of creating something is what makes me happy and motives me, and whether someone reads it when it's done or not, doesn't matter to me. Everyone is different, which means that what motivates is us different.
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:30 PM   #7
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When I write, I largely cut myself off from family and friends for months at a time. I'd rather not do that to my family and friends for nothing; and if no one reads my books (or they steal them from me), I consider that nothing gained for the time spent. I'd be better off spending quality time with my wife.

I understand that not everyone feels that way, but I think it's something that should be considered by all authors at least once: Is my time and effort worth no reward save personal satisfaction?
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:42 PM   #8
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I understand that not everyone feels that way, but I think it's something that should be considered by all authors at least once: Is my time and effort worth no reward save personal satisfaction?
Absolutely. I don't think anyone is willing to work for no reward at all. What form the reward takes is where people differ. Like I said, I merely dabble, so since I spend a comparatively small amount of time and effort, I am happy with a small reward. For someone who write as a full-time job, or even for an hour or two every day, I would not expect my little reward to be nearly enough.

It all comes down to knowing why we do what we do, and what we want to get out of it, and realizing that just because answer "A" works for everyone else doesn't automatically mean it will work for me, and vice versa.
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Old 06-26-2012, 10:53 AM   #9
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I guess that depends on whether you think it's more important that someone reads the book, or that they pay for the privilege before they do.
Buying a product is a simple social agreement. I want to be paid for the effort I put in to entertain you, a time-honored tradition understood by everyone. I take absolutely no satisfaction from someone who takes my book and enjoys it, but does not pay me; I don't care if they thought it was the greatest book since Lawrence of Arabia... they're still a thief, and I don't care about the opinion of a thief.

If they don't want to pay for my book, let them go read Dumas.
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:28 AM   #10
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Buying a product is a simple social agreement. I want to be paid for the effort I put in to entertain you, a time-honored tradition understood by everyone. I take absolutely no satisfaction from someone who takes my book and enjoys it, but does not pay me; I don't care if they thought it was the greatest book since Lawrence of Arabia... they're still a thief, and I don't care about the opinion of a thief.
If you're keeping track, I think you know what side of this issue I fall on, but I'll ask for the sake of discussion:
Would your opinion of the person be different if AFTER reading the pirated book, the person in question sent you a Paypal payment of price of the book, with a thank you note?

ApK
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Old 06-26-2012, 02:41 PM   #11
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If you're keeping track, I think you know what side of this issue I fall on, but I'll ask for the sake of discussion:
Would your opinion of the person be different if AFTER reading the pirated book, the person in question sent you a Paypal payment of price of the book, with a thank you note?

ApK
Frankly, no.

If that person was somehow capable of accessing a PayPal payment link, they'd also be able to access an actual pay site, including my own (which uses PayPal); so there's really no excuse for pirating the book and paying for it later... any more than there's an excuse for me stealing a donut from a baker, and coming back with a dollar for it the next day.

If you want it... pay for it first. It's really that simple.
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:33 PM   #12
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Frankly, no.

If that person was somehow capable of accessing a PayPal payment link, they'd also be able to access an actual pay site, including my own (which uses PayPal); so there's really no excuse for pirating the book and paying for it later... any more than there's an excuse for me stealing a donut from a baker, and coming back with a dollar for it the next day.

If you want it... pay for it first. It's really that simple.
That would assume they actually knew you existed before they downloaded it. So it would be more like finding a donut in the street, then figuring out it rolled out of some building you've never noticed before.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:10 PM   #13
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That would assume they actually knew you existed before they downloaded it. So it would be more like finding a donut in the street, then figuring out it rolled out of some building you've never noticed before.
And how would that have happened, exactly? Is an ebook fairy involved?
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:20 PM   #14
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And how would that have happened, exactly? Is an ebook fairy involved?
More likely a standard search feature or tag cloud function on the torrent site where that reader found the book
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:23 PM   #15
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More likely a standard search feature or tag cloud function on the torrent site where that reader found the book
Would not a similar search on a legitimate book store site yield similar results?
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