Authors should be paid for their writing, just like musicians should be paid for their songs, but it’s a crazy competitive market out there, and newbies need to get noticed. Musicians do it by playing crappy clubs for next to nothing, sending demos to record producers, and a few high-tech pioneers even build websites that allow free downloads.
It’s a weird thing because music and my writing are very closely bound. When I write a story, I need the music playing in my head, and when I’m done the story, I know because the two meld. With short stories, this wasn’t particularly challenging, but with novels and their huge scope, it’s intensely sweeping. With novels, I know I’m done when I’ve got the movie trailer in my head.
I’ve watched with fascination over the last four years as self-publishing changes. In the early days (2010), when many authors still feared self-publishing, selling novels on Amazon was much easier. My short stories used to go at the rate of one or two a day. Now, even getting people to download your free novel by the thousands (which also used to be easy) is a challenge because the market is so crowded.
Blogs live and die on content, and I admit mine has been pretty dead. The challenge is that I like to write quality posts about what I read or what’s happening, but life just won’t give me the four hours it takes me to grind out a blog. I know that sounds like a lot of time for six-hundred words, but
I don’t necessarily believe that all change is good even though that’s the fashion these days. We’re all supposed to embrace change and love change, as if everything that already exists is inferior, but sometimes change isn’t for the better, or is sideways. Our school board changed how they taught math, and that’s resulted in lower scores on standardized tests for kids in grades three to six, not exactly a good change.
The great thing about e-publishing is that readers can actually influence writers in a way that simply was not possible in the traditional publishing model. Didn’t like a chapter? Write the author to tell him/her, and they can actually change it and seamlessly update the work on Amazon or Smashwords. I’m not suggesting that writing should become a collaborative effort, but if hundreds of people e-mailed me to say they loved my novel except for one non-essential chapter, I’d toss it.
I never attend a con without learning something new about the publishing industry, or at least about trends in publishing, and SFcontario4, which was held in Toronto this weekend at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, was full of surprises.