Author Topic: Where'd everybody go?  (Read 2277 times)

Shoe

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #50 on: December 08, 2019, 11:51:45 AM »
I am fine with people offering their services.

I don't lose sleep if they do, and Timothy has them all nicely sequestered here, but on the other board their presence is on the spammy side.
Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 
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JRTomlin

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #51 on: December 08, 2019, 12:02:17 PM »
Oh, I agree with that! When you want to find a service, you know where on the board to go and it doesn't intrude when you don't. Timothy has done a good job with that.
 

Marti Talbott

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #52 on: December 08, 2019, 02:18:31 PM »
It's my fault, I haven't thought of a silly question to ask in a few days. Don't worry, I'll make up for it later.
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cecilia_writer

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #53 on: December 08, 2019, 08:04:01 PM »
I enjoy coming in here as it is mostly a more relaxed place than any similar online places. There's sometimes a kind of Chekhovian feeling of resigned melancholy about this site, but I think that could be partly the general zeitgeist, not just in publishing. (Anyway, Chekhov is one of my favourite playwrights)
Whenever I've asked a question it's been answered helpfully and although I don't post very often I do visit at least once a day. I've been leaping from one domestic crisis to another this past month or two, though.
Maggie Ann, hope you're feeling much better.
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twicebitten

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #54 on: December 09, 2019, 02:08:27 AM »
no one should expect to earn a living from writing

"No one?" I've never seen that said here, and I find it hard to believe everyone on a thread said it. Too many people here do make a living.

It's extremely unlikely you'll make a living as an author, and that's just a fact, and I read that in 1980 before there was an internet and when a "writing group" was a local bunch of ten people you met with twice a month. It was true then and it's true now, with the only difference being we have much better access to the precise numbers now. Any book ranked worse than #50,000 at Zon  (and worse than about #500 at other vendors) isn't making the author much money, and there are over 10 million books that aren't ranked that high. I don't see how this can be disputed.

It's clear to me from what my zon author ranking has been while wide and in KU (#125 at the highest, but briefly, and usually above #5000) that around 3000 people can make a living as writers, assuming an average ad spend and taking the median income for people with a BA/BS in the US as "making a living" and assuming they live in a place with guaranteed medical care or have a spouse with medical insurance or can tolerate not having health insurance. I don't know with certainty how many of those 3000 are novelists. Half to two thirds, I estimate, but I could be wrong about that.

Some writing groups are there to make a buck off wannabes (or $500 each off a number of them), and so of course their message will be "Anyone can do this! Everyone can do this! Come to our convention or take our classes and we'll show you how!" As I'm not trying to sell false hope (just novels), I can stick to the dull truth when newer writers ask for this information. It'd be lovely if all the skilled and hardworking made it, but the arithmetic just doesn't allow for that, no more than it'll allow every beautiful and talented-enough high school actor moving to LA upon graduation a FT career in TV and movies.
 
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Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #55 on: December 09, 2019, 02:27:41 AM »

Also, when people started out, made some success, and announced it with joy (over at The Other Place, I mean) they often found that their 5* reviews were down voted, 1* reviews started appearing, and the jealous and the twisted did their best to shoot them down. Small wonder that they either shut up, or moved on.

This is what I was going to suggest  :icon_rolleyes:. I miss posts by Hugh Howey etc and was sorry that many of the authors who contributed useful info left when the new owners took over at the other place. I felt that I had lost some good friends.  :icon_sad:

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Marti Talbott

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #56 on: December 09, 2019, 03:03:06 AM »
It's true, a lot of people fell for the "write a book and get rich quick" nonsense people were promoting. It is also true that the jealous trashed those making money with negativity. There were rough times for those of us who were just trying to help. I still haven't managed to overcome the bad reviews blasting the first book in my Marblestone Mansion series in 2014. Can't get a BB ad on it because of that review. And, the 171 "helpful" votes that followed keeps it at the top and the first one people see. I've asked, but Amazon won't remove it. That's why I learned not to tell anyone if I do or do not make a living.

That's why a lot of authors don't list their books on that other board or on this one. I too am glad to see civility and curtsy on this board. It makes it a much more pleasant place to keep up. I do go to that other place to see if there is any useful news, but I haven't posted in a very long time there.

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elleoco

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #57 on: December 09, 2019, 03:32:01 AM »
no one should expect to earn a living from writing

"No one?" I've never seen that said here, and I find it hard to believe everyone on a thread said it. Too many people here do make a living.

A word quibble here - after all we're writers. "Expect" isn't a good word. Considering the number of people who write and don't make more than coffee money, much less a living, no one should expect. Low success figures aren't even low enough since they can't encompass those who write, send to traditional publishers, and experience nothing but rejection. The word smacks of surety - if I do (a), then (b) will follow.

However, there's nothing wrong with hoping, trying, or working toward, and no reason to discourage anyone from any of those things.

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #58 on: December 09, 2019, 04:10:17 AM »
We're still here!  Our post just got moved to this area, so not as many people seem to be stopping by.  :angel:

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Shoe

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #59 on: December 09, 2019, 04:43:25 AM »

However, there's nothing wrong with hoping, trying, or working toward, and no reason to discourage anyone from any of those things.

I dunno... Someone posted a blurb for critique the other day (not here) that was so incredibly awful I nearly revisited my breakfast. It was beyond hope. There was no sign that working harder was in the cards. What's a boy to do? Nothing, in my case, but others offered helpful insight and advice, keeping in line with the forum's "let's put a kettle on" spirit.

I think it points to the real problem in indie publishing. Indies face no barrier to entry (someone on this board once said "If I can write my name, I'm a writer"). There are no gatekeepers to qualify aspirants nor is there a structured apprenticeship. We have people who have never read outside their genre or taken a writing course writing books. It doesn't mean the odd author here and there won't have great success, but most won't, and they'll suffer a sense of entitlement. They've written a book, after all, and took Mark Dawson's publishing courses and read Chris Fox's books. Where is their success?

Maybe it's a question of tweaking a cover or blurb or changing the title or category. They're open to suggestions on those fronts. But suggesting they lack talent is verboten, which seems a bit askew.

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JRTomlin

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #60 on: December 09, 2019, 05:15:48 AM »
On the other hand, there are authors who sell one hell of a lot of novels whom I personally happen to consider talentless hacks. But their readers obviously disagree.

I am pretty sure that the majority of authors who do well never took a writing course or only did after they were writing and selling. I am high on the list of people who think that an MFA is a major waste of time and money if you want to be a writer.

Damned if I know what makes a good or a successful writer. Whether at least some other people like reading your work enough to pay for it? And how does one figure out if that is them until they put a few books out there?  🤷
 
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #61 on: December 09, 2019, 05:22:50 AM »

However, there's nothing wrong with hoping, trying, or working toward, and no reason to discourage anyone from any of those things.

I dunno... Someone posted a blurb for critique the other day (not here) that was so incredibly awful I nearly revisited my breakfast. It was beyond hope. There was no sign that working harder was in the cards. What's a boy to do? Nothing, in my case, but others offered helpful insight and advice, keeping in line with the forum's "let's put a kettle on" spirit.

I think it points to the real problem in indie publishing. Indies face no barrier to entry (someone on this board once said "If I can write my name, I'm a writer"). There are no gatekeepers to qualify aspirants nor is there a structured apprenticeship. We have people who have never read outside their genre or taken a writing course writing books. It doesn't mean the odd author here and there won't have great success, but most won't, and they'll suffer a sense of entitlement. They've written a book, after all, and took Mark Dawson's publishing courses and read Chris Fox's books. Where is their success?

Maybe it's a question of tweaking a cover or blurb or changing the title or category. They're open to suggestions on those fronts. But suggesting they lack talent is verboten, which seems a bit askew.
utting on my teacher hat, I think the trick is to discuss the work, not the person. Maybe the aspiring writing in fact has no talent, but it's also possible there is some that could be brought out by the proper training and experience. In any case, someone who asks for help on writing is not asking for that writing to be evaluated as some kind of measure of intelligence.

Someone who asks about a book (or even a blurb) deserves an honest response to the question being asked. If the work isn't good, it's okay to say so. It's also good to suggest what would work better.

People develop in stages, and development doesn't stop after high school, though arguably, it does slow down. Someone who doesn't seem to have a lot of talent may still be developing. Or it could be that the person is never going to be good in that area. But unless someone asks to judge that, I'm not going it. (It's the writing equivalent of "hard on the issues, soft on the people.") Anyway, telling people they have no talent is unlikely to be a successful strategy. It's more likely the person will respond defensively. As we've seen, some people respond that way even to constructive criticism, but that has more chance of penetrating. People who really don't have it in them to be writers will probably give up eventually on their own.

(And yes, I've known some people who appeared to be basket cases in high school who mastered some things later in life and ended up being successful.)



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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #62 on: December 09, 2019, 05:31:06 AM »
On the other hand, there are authors who sell one hell of a lot of novels whom I personally happen to consider talentless hacks. But their readers obviously disagree.

I am pretty sure that the majority of authors who do well never took a writing course or only did after they were writing and selling. I am high on the list of people who think that an MFA is a major waste of time and money if you want to be a writer.

Damned if I know what makes a good or a successful writer. Whether at least some other people like reading your work enough to pay for it? And how does one figure out if that is them until they put a few books out there?  🤷
I've had the experience of starting to read something by a popular author and then wondering why the person was popular. Part of the problem is that a large part of our reaction to literature is a matter of taste. I've come to realize that, just because I don't like something, it doesn't mean it's bad. It's just not right for me.

Writing courses could do some good, but not everyone learns in the same way. For instance, I never took a computer course, but I ended up being someone other people frequently came to for advice on technological matters and was frequently an early adopter of new technology. I learned by doing.

I think it's possible for a writer to learn that way as well, depending on the person. A writer could take a course on editing, or a writer could learn from working with editors.

Some successful writers are literary geniuses. Others are just competent authors who are really, really good at marketing. There are a lot of paths to success.


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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #63 on: December 09, 2019, 05:33:51 AM »
The red pens in those journalism classes were relentless, but they did help.  Everyone takes a different path, but IMHO we still benefit a great deal from not having barriers to entry. 
 
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123mlh

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #64 on: December 09, 2019, 05:34:07 AM »
This was the thread I was thinking of: https://writersanctum.com/index.php?topic=2220.msg41557#msg41557

People can quibble with my interpretation of what was said, but the bottom line for me is that if someone came to me and said I have this dream of being a writer, this is not where I'd send them for encouragement. The tone of that thread is nothing like the tone of KB back in the day and maybe that's just from shifts in the market and people learning that, no, not everyone can do well at this. But improbable dreams require a tremendous amount of effort and will to achieve and surrounding people who want that with those who will tell them about how unlikely they are to get there every step of the way makes it ten times harder to get there. Another reason I will probably be bowing out of this place and the other one for 2020 as much as I can manage.
 
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Marti Talbott

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #65 on: December 09, 2019, 05:34:56 AM »
On the other hand, there are authors who sell one hell of a lot of novels whom I personally happen to consider talentless hacks. But their readers obviously disagree.

I am pretty sure that the majority of authors who do well never took a writing course or only did after they were writing and selling. I am high on the list of people who think that an MFA is a major waste of time and money if you want to be a writer.

Damned if I know what makes a good or a successful writer. Whether at least some other people like reading your work enough to pay for it? And how does one figure out if that is them until they put a few books out there?  🤷

I looked up some things when I first started writing, mostly grammar, but I stumbled on something that I think helps sell my books. It's paying lots of attention to the five senses. Touch is the hardest to write, but as soft as a newborn baby's face works. We have to stick to smells and sounds the readers can relate to, but it's easy to forget that the five senses help make the stories come alive.

Just my donation to the subject.
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Marti Talbott

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #66 on: December 09, 2019, 05:40:57 AM »
This was the thread I was thinking of: https://writersanctum.com/index.php?topic=2220.msg41557#msg41557

People can quibble with my interpretation of what was said, but the bottom line for me is that if someone came to me and said I have this dream of being a writer, this is not where I'd send them for encouragement. The tone of that thread is nothing like the tone of KB back in the day and maybe that's just from shifts in the market and people learning that, no, not everyone can do well at this. But improbable dreams require a tremendous amount of effort and will to achieve and surrounding people who want that with those who will tell them about how unlikely they are to get there every step of the way makes it ten times harder to get there. Another reason I will probably be bowing out of this place and the other one for 2020 as much as I can manage.

Well, being criticized is the most discouraging part of the game. If someone discouraged you, then we would have to consider if it was your blurb, your cover, or just discouragement in general. The first time someone told me my blurb sucked, I actually shed a few tears, but he was right and I am grateful every time I sell a copy of that book that he had the courage and cared enough to tell me the truth.
Author of over 50 full length historical and mystery novels.
 

JRTomlin

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #67 on: December 09, 2019, 06:05:22 AM »
This was the thread I was thinking of: https://writersanctum.com/index.php?topic=2220.msg41557#msg41557

People can quibble with my interpretation of what was said, but the bottom line for me is that if someone came to me and said I have this dream of being a writer, this is not where I'd send them for encouragement. The tone of that thread is nothing like the tone of KB back in the day and maybe that's just from shifts in the market and people learning that, no, not everyone can do well at this. But improbable dreams require a tremendous amount of effort and will to achieve and surrounding people who want that with those who will tell them about how unlikely they are to get there every step of the way makes it ten times harder to get there. Another reason I will probably be bowing out of this place and the other one for 2020 as much as I can manage.
I reacted very differently to that thread. It was very sympathetic to the man who said he was quitting because it wasn't any fun anymore and very realistic that most authors don't make a living from it. But the "you can't make a living" comment was a quote from a blog.

Anyone tells would-be authors that it is easy to make a living or that most people who write novels do so is doing them no favour. It was quite a surprise when I realised that I was doing so. It certainly wasn't something I expected and I constantly wonder if this is the year it all falls apart.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2019, 06:20:11 AM by JRTomlin »
 
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Shoe

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #68 on: December 09, 2019, 07:02:08 AM »
The first time someone told me my blurb sucked, I actually shed a few tears, but he was right and I am grateful every time I sell a copy of that book that he had the courage and cared enough to tell me the truth.

Years ago I belonged to a critique forum. You had to provide samples of your writing before they'd let you in, and it took me several tries to get through the gate. I quickly learned you needed a suit of armor to survive, but man, it was worth it. I did leave in a huff a couple of times (how dare they say my writing was "sentimental"?), but always went back. After a couple of years, the owner tired of maintaining the site and it closed. A few of its former members have become well known in journalism (it wasn't a fiction workshop). I consider that period part of my "apprenticeship".

MFAs: I doubt they do much for those with zero innate writing talent other than improve their "craft", but craft will not by itself make a great writer. I look at it this way--music is my first passion, and I can play a couple of instruments convincingly, but in truth, I suck (considering the hours I've put into practice). So I know better than to pursue music as a career. My biggest handicap is I'm officially tone-deaf. When I play, I do not understand where to head tonally.

I think a lot of writers are tone-deaf when it comes to their writing. No matter how well they construct their sentences and stories, they don't go anywhere (which is reminiscent of New Yorker fiction in the Nineties). It doesn't necessarily mean they won't find success writing but, borrowing from the musical analogy above, they shouldn't expect to play Carnegie Hall (though they might be welcome in the church choir).

Dan Brown and the late Tom Clancy aren't regarded for their literary talents, but they sure how to set strike a tone that invites you to sit in a comfortable chair and turn page after page.

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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #69 on: December 09, 2019, 07:07:34 AM »
This was the thread I was thinking of: https://writersanctum.com/index.php?topic=2220.msg41557#msg41557

People can quibble with my interpretation of what was said, but the bottom line for me is that if someone came to me and said I have this dream of being a writer, this is not where I'd send them for encouragement. The tone of that thread is nothing like the tone of KB back in the day and maybe that's just from shifts in the market and people learning that, no, not everyone can do well at this. But improbable dreams require a tremendous amount of effort and will to achieve and surrounding people who want that with those who will tell them about how unlikely they are to get there every step of the way makes it ten times harder to get there. Another reason I will probably be bowing out of this place and the other one for 2020 as much as I can manage.
I think there's a considerable difference between telling someone it's impossible and telling someone it's unlikely, but that they should try if they are willing to put in the time and effort.

I'm gathering that there are a fair number of people here who do make a living, but I also suspect that the posters here aren't a representative sample. We know that attempts to chart indie author success (like the early one by Smashwords) end up with a very small bulge on one end for people making a living and a long, long flat line representing all the people who don't. Author Earning Reports (when there was still publicly available data) estimated successful indie authors who'd started in the past few years to be about 5,000. Think of how many more people than that have tried publishing. And we also have data that the average trad author doesn't make a living from writing. Is hiding the reality the best way to advise people?

In recent years, I have encouraged people I've run across who seemed to have an aptitude for it to give writing a try. But I've also been frank about how hard a road it could be and how they needed to have a plan b. Maybe that would discourage some people--but they'd be much less discouraged than if they tried and failed without knowing that that's what happens to most people. Coming at it thinking it was easy would make them feel like failures, when they shouldn't really feel that way. Alternatively, coming at it thinking it was easy might cause them to put in less effort. They might end up missing the mark because they didn't understand how much dedication is required. There is also a third potential pitfall--falling victim to the scammers, whose message is always that success is possible if you just fill the scammers' bank account. None of these alternatives is desirable.

So yes, encourage, but temper the encouragement with realism. If someone is scared off by the fact that most people don't make a living, that's a person who probably shouldn't be doing it. Making career choices based on incomplete information is never a good idea.


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JRTomlin

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #70 on: December 09, 2019, 07:09:56 AM »
The first time someone told me my blurb sucked, I actually shed a few tears, but he was right and I am grateful every time I sell a copy of that book that he had the courage and cared enough to tell me the truth.

Years ago I belonged to a critique forum. You had to provide samples of your writing before they'd let you in, and it took me several tries to get through the gate. I quickly learned you needed a suit of armor to survive, but man, it was worth it. I did leave in a huff a couple of times (how dare they say my writing was "sentimental"?), but always went back. After a couple of years, the owner tired of maintaining the site and it closed. A few of its former members have become well known in journalism (it wasn't a fiction workshop). I consider that period part of my "apprenticeship".

MFAs: I doubt they do much for those with zero innate writing talent other than improve their "craft", but craft will not by itself make a great writer. I look at it this way--music is my first passion, and I can play a couple of instruments convincingly, but in truth, I suck (considering the hours I've put into practice). So I know better than to pursue music as a career. My biggest handicap is I'm officially tone-deaf. When I play, I do not understand where to head tonally.

I think a lot of writers are tone-deaf when it comes to their writing. No matter how well they construct their sentences and stories, they don't go anywhere (which is reminiscent of New Yorker fiction in the Nineties). It doesn't necessarily mean they won't find success writing but, borrowing from the musical analogy above, they shouldn't expect to play Carnegie Hall (though they might be welcome in the church choir).

Dan Brown and the late Tom Clancy aren't regarded for their literary talents, but they sure how to set strike a tone that invites you to sit in a comfortable chair and turn page after page.
While I cannot stand to read either. It is a matter of personal taste. I can't say I agree on MFA programs. They are more likely to ruin someone who started out not tone deaf. But then for years, they taught and many still teach what you refer to as 'New Yorker fiction' which isn't a bad description of it. But those who like that sort of fiction (there must be some out there) would disagree with me, wouldn't they?

Courses for horses, as they say.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2019, 07:12:00 AM by JRTomlin »
 

Simon Haynes

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #71 on: December 09, 2019, 08:23:19 PM »
I was on the DROWW back in the day, and Critters later on. Yes, feedback could be harsh, but isn't it better to receive a few harsh comments at the beginning of a career? That way you can go off and improve, or even give up the idea of a writing career with barely any loss of time.


 
 
 

 
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notthatamanda

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #72 on: December 09, 2019, 09:53:31 PM »
I was on a site called Trigger Street. I put two screenplays on there. You had to review four screenplays to get four reviews back and people might review yours even if it wasn't assigned to them.  I remember one comment I got was "Your writing shows promise." That meant the world to me. When I had my third idea for a story I couldn't figure out how to write it as a screenplay and wrote a novel instead.  They had suggested guidelines for reviews that went something like this;

Start with something nice
All the constructive criticism
End with something nice

It was a nice community and people were, for the most part, professional and fair.  Their feedback was very helpful. But I reviewed one guy's screenplay and, though I kept a list of typos and gave them to the author when I read the manuscript (they were very grateful) that particular manuscript was a mess.  I told him he needed to fix all the their/there, your/you're, etc and he yelled at me that English was his second language and if his story was good it wouldn't matter. I didn't bother to respond as I saw the threads of him arguing with everyone who had told him the same thing.

It was a very active community, prior to the 2007 ish, then it died off and eventually folded.  I learned a lot by looking at the reviews on other screenplays.

In contrast I told one friend (frienemy?) IRL that I was writing screenplays, she told me I would never succeed.  To this day I still haven't told her about my books, but I didn't let it stop me.
 

Jan Hurst-Nicholson

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #73 on: December 09, 2019, 10:42:07 PM »

However, there's nothing wrong with hoping, trying, or working toward, and no reason to discourage anyone from any of those things.

I dunno... Someone posted a blurb for critique the other day (not here) that was so incredibly awful I nearly revisited my breakfast. It was beyond hope. There was no sign that working harder was in the cards. What's a boy to do? Nothing, in my case, but others offered helpful insight and advice, keeping in line with the forum's "let's put a kettle on" spirit.

I think it points to the real problem in indie publishing. Indies face no barrier to entry (someone on this board once said "If I can write my name, I'm a writer"). There are no gatekeepers to qualify aspirants nor is there a structured apprenticeship. We have people who have never read outside their genre or taken a writing course writing books. It doesn't mean the odd author here and there won't have great success, but most won't, and they'll suffer a sense of entitlement. They've written a book, after all, and took Mark Dawson's publishing courses and read Chris Fox's books. Where is their success?

Maybe it's a question of tweaking a cover or blurb or changing the title or category. They're open to suggestions on those fronts. But suggesting they lack talent is verboten, which seems a bit askew.

I used to do initial assessments for a literary agent. The problem that cropped up most frequently (apart from showing & telling  :icon_rolleyes:) was  a writer's inability to condense or tighten their work. I often suggested they tried writing a 'letter to the editor' of a magazine to see if they could win the 'letter of the week' etc. This is how I began writing and I won an expensive Mont Blanc pen, among other things. I still keep my hand in on the letters page if there is a worthwhile prize.  :icon_mrgreen:

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Sailor Stone

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #74 on: December 09, 2019, 11:13:25 PM »
I don't often post here but I always check in to see what is going on. I'm not successful enough to feel like I can answer most of the questions about making it in the writing and publishing world so I don't chime in with many answers.
It doesn't seem like there is as much news or change in the business as there used to be back a few years ago so perhaps there isn't, likewise, a need for as much discussion.
I think Amazon now has a clamp on both the selling side and the advertising side of publishing and they make sure that nothing will work without them getting most of the $$$ benefit. And if an author does show promise Amazon signs them up to one of their in house pub co's and we never hear from them again. Which to me seems funny, not funny ha-ha but funny that kind of stinks, that a company can make its success on the back of writers daring to go against the then trad-pubs-ass-kiss-your-way-to-success-method and then start their own publishing houses. How ironic and sort of even sad. But it won't stop me from trying to tell a good story, and, at least, trying to sell a few copies hoping my story might make a better day for somebody.
All of that said, I also just like being in the company of other writers, I feel like I kind of get them.
 
 
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #75 on: December 10, 2019, 01:52:30 AM »
I don't often post here but I always check in to see what is going on. I'm not successful enough to feel like I can answer most of the questions about making it in the writing and publishing world so I don't chime in with many answers.
It doesn't seem like there is as much news or change in the business as there used to be back a few years ago so perhaps there isn't, likewise, a need for as much discussion.
I think Amazon now has a clamp on both the selling side and the advertising side of publishing and they make sure that nothing will work without them getting most of the $$$ benefit. And if an author does show promise Amazon signs them up to one of their in house pub co's and we never hear from them again. Which to me seems funny, not funny ha-ha but funny that kind of stinks, that a company can make its success on the back of writers daring to go against the then trad-pubs-ass-kiss-your-way-to-success-method and then start their own publishing houses. How ironic and sort of even sad. But it won't stop me from trying to tell a good story, and, at least, trying to sell a few copies hoping my story might make a better day for somebody.
All of that said, I also just like being in the company of other writers, I feel like I kind of get them.
I'm not as upset with Amazon starting their own publishing houses as I am with the fact that those are gradually fitting themselves more and more into a traditional model.

Amazon used to reach out to successful indie authors for contracts. Maybe its imprints still do, but I don't hear about that nearly as often as when I first started (2012). Amazon has also put all of its imprints except Crossings (for translated literature) behind agent walls. Not so long ago, what is now Amazon Original Stories had an open submission process, and some indies had big successes that way. No more. Not so long ago, Amazon had Kindle Scout, a contest that gave an opportunity for indie authors to get a contract with Kindle Press, an Amazon imprint created for that purpose. There were also some big successes there. No more. Kindle Worlds offered a unique opportunity to write what amounted to licensed fan fics and earn money from them. No more. Aspiring screenwriters could submit scripts or concepts to Amazon Studios. No more. I think these kinds of open opportunities had real potential, and Amazon did produce some hits through all of them--but apparently not enough. Sigh!

It's true that there seem to be fewer radical developments of any kind. Every time Barnes and Noble twitches, we expect some big comeback that doesn't happen. Then there's something like the Kobo-Walmart deal that turns out to be more hype than substance.

All of that pessimism aside, the only constant in life is change. At some point, I think the pace of news will pick up again.  And as long as that news isn't "Amazon Announces the end of KDP," some of us will keep plugging along.


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DrewMcGunn

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #76 on: December 10, 2019, 03:52:27 AM »
I'm just going to come out and ask, was there a big exodus sometime around October?

I was posting, had a birthday and didn't post for a few days because I was busy, came back and found that a lot of posters I was used to seeing post weren't posting anymore.

??

Now the place is barely limping along.

:(

Maybe I shouldn't ask, but I figured why not. I'd rather not see the forum die off just when I finally start posting again myself! :D

Hi Lynn...I'm hardly prolific on this forum, but lately I've been lurking more than contributing. For me, it's just the stage that I'm in. When I feel I have something I can constructively contribute, I'm happy to dig out the spare change behind the sofa cushions and throw in my two cents. I also stalk follow a few authors here whose skill and talent I admire and who occasionally throw out a few kibbles of wisdom.

Shoe made a comment about the low barriers to entry that has caused a flood of books to hit Amazon. That flood has made visibility harder, but it was that flood that got me publishing my own stories. I've referred to it as the democratization of publishing, but the end result is that nowadays, KDP and Amazon are the slush pile, and readers are the unfortunate curators of that process.

Even though I'm not particularly active at the moment, I'm grateful to Tim for putting together this forum after the kerfuffle on that other site. Far more often than not, I enjoy how he chooses to moderate the forum here and find it superior to the process at Kboards - but that's just me.


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Lynn

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #77 on: December 10, 2019, 04:14:40 AM »
Oh, I agree, this place is really nice. I won't go back to the other.

I've been very grateful to have this place, but I would love to see more activity on it, since I don't participate in any private groups of pro-writers. (I am in some groups on Discord for purely motivational, writerly talk with other writers but I have a feeling I'm one of the few people who actually try to write as a regular thing.) :D

But I find I need more motivational support in my indie career than I need in the business aspects of it, so that's the stuff I look for when I look at writer communities.

I mean, I definitely want to keep up with important stuff, scams that affect the market and things to watch out for, but I don't really seek outside opinion on a lot of the stuff others do, so having those kinds of support aren't relevant to me.

I'm here for the exact opposite reason that most other people seem to be here. :D
 

Bill Hiatt

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #78 on: December 10, 2019, 04:29:26 AM »
Shoe made a comment about the low barriers to entry that has caused a flood of books to hit Amazon. That flood has made visibility harder, but it was that flood that got me publishing my own stories. I've referred to it as the democratization of publishing, but the end result is that nowadays, KDP and Amazon are the slush pile, and readers are the unfortunate curators of that process.
Yes, KDP did democratize publishing, but I'm not sure I agree with you completely about the end result.

Speaking as a reader, I don't see myself as unfortunate. I've never had a problem finding good things to read, even if I'm only speaking of indie authors. Sure, there are duds out there, but they're pretty easy to avoid, at least in my experience. Nor is the content the same as the old trad pub slush pile. A lot of people now have never tried to trad publish, and some of them would probably have been picked up if they had. Some did trad publish and were even successful at it for a time, but now find self publishing a better vehicle for them. None of those are exactly slush pile.

I think many of us might be in favor of some minimal curation of the "Is the book written in English?" variety, but Amazon is unlikely to do anything that would significantly increase staff costs.


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twicebitten

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #79 on: December 10, 2019, 04:45:03 AM »
I'm not as upset with Amazon starting their own publishing houses as I am with the fact that those are gradually fitting themselves more and more into a traditional model.
There was a news release a couple of years back when they hired an editor from deep in the bowels of the NYC system, and I thought, oops, there goes discovery of indie authors for Amazon imprints. A year after that, Konrath mentioned on his blog that he had his agent submit to them, and I realized my worst fears had come true that quickly. Also, I have a friend in the KU bonuses stratosphere who never got an offer from Zon, which two years before, would definitely have happened.
It's sad for us, but it's sad for them too, because that system doesn't work well any more. It misses far too many bestsellers. So they replaced the fiery stallion of innovation with that limping old nag of tradpub who keeps walking around in the same circles, unaware there's a world outside that fence.
This sort of thing is why us oldsters sometimes get pessimistic. But then, when I arrived the people who had truly been in the goldrush (partly of erotica and of books with self-made covers) thought people like me heralded the beginning of the end.  omg, then KU1 and then the end of KU1? whoa, that was a whirlwind of hysteria.  :grint  And I know trade published people who are just catching up to what indie life was in 2012, and they aren't ever going to fully catch up (not that I can claim I am currently caught up either). You're right. The only constant for indies is change. I would like my golden days back, but that's simply not going to happen.

Like JRTomlin, I'm expecting the end for my FT status one year soon. That I got so many years is something of a miracle, and I'm grateful I jumped into KDP when I did.
 

Shoe

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #80 on: December 10, 2019, 08:33:07 AM »
I've referred to it as the democratization of publishing, but the end result is that nowadays, KDP and Amazon are the slush pile, and readers are the unfortunate curators of that process.

Rankings ultimately curate KDP, and they seem to work without obscuring seldom searched books appealing to narrow audiences (for example, "Introduction To Ice Fishing" by Frank Richards sits at #272,529). Though Frank may reap a seasonable advantage at the moment (his July rank might be in the millions), a more summery read, "The Bug Book: A Fly Fisher's Guide To Trout Stream Insects", sitting at #40,325, proves this may not be the case. Currently, more people are buying The Bug Book than six of my twelve published books. Where is my pistol? But suicide thoughts aside, it proves readers are probably not shortchanged by the number of questionable books crowding Amazon. For the most part, they're invisible.

So, I think those books sitting permanently in the millions and beyond are not there because Amazon is evil. They've earned their rankings. Considering the difficulty of curating 10 million books, I think they do a good job. They've democratized publishing, but they haven't lost their minds.

But the communities that pop up around any online money-making opportunity generally have no curating or vetting process whatsoever, which leaves a void if you're looking for a tight, professional group of people striving for excellence in their craft as well as loads of money. I have a feeling WS is aiming toward the pro side, but in the end, it's the quality of the posts that attract new members (which is the subject of a thread in "Administration"). Whenever I find a new forum, I always check the most recent posts, which is why I tend to give them a pass. My bets are on this place.



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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #81 on: December 10, 2019, 09:57:17 AM »
Like JRTomlin, I'm expecting the end for my FT status one year soon. That I got so many years is something of a miracle, and I'm grateful I jumped into KDP when I did.
I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that people who are able to make a full-time living will continue to do so, or at least come close. I think it's more likely people in the range below that will lose the most if the conditions become more difficult. I also think that breaking in will become more difficult.


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JRTomlin

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #82 on: December 10, 2019, 11:41:41 AM »
Like JRTomlin, I'm expecting the end for my FT status one year soon. That I got so many years is something of a miracle, and I'm grateful I jumped into KDP when I did.
I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that people who are able to make a full-time living will continue to do so, or at least come close. I think it's more likely people in the range below that will lose the most if the conditions become more difficult. I also think that breaking in will become more difficult.
I can't say that I am 'expecting' it, just aware that it could happen. And hoping it doesn't.

I think breaking in is much more difficult than it was in the 'gold rush' days (when I actually wasn't making a living yet, go figure) and it will probably get even harder.
 

Lorri Moulton [Lavender Lass Books]

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #83 on: December 11, 2019, 02:41:59 AM »
Since we're making our best guess...I'm going to say many of the 'get rich quick' types will give up and leave.  The ebook market will find a new equilibrium and it may get a little easier for readers to find our books.

I also think branding will become much more important.  This is true for most businesses.
 
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Shoe

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #84 on: December 11, 2019, 04:04:50 AM »
The ebook market will find a new equilibrium

I've sensed a downward shift in the quality of new arrivals on some forums, and someone recently highlighted the falling metrics of KB since 2013. Maybe the field for qualified indies is becoming less crowded.




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idontknowyet

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #85 on: December 11, 2019, 04:42:04 AM »
The ebook market will find a new equilibrium

I've sensed a downward shift in the quality of new arrivals on some forums, and someone recently highlighted the falling metrics of KB since 2013. Maybe the field for qualified indies is becoming less crowded.

"The quality of new arrivals"   WOW   :n2Str17:
 

Shoe

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #86 on: December 11, 2019, 04:45:48 AM »


"The quality of new arrivals"   WOW   :n2Str17:

Nothing to take personally (and I wasn't speaking about this forum).
Publishing since May 2017. Writing full time since January 2018 general fiction and satire.
 

LilyBLily

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #87 on: December 11, 2019, 07:36:51 AM »
The ebook market will find a new equilibrium

I've sensed a downward shift in the quality of new arrivals on some forums, and someone recently highlighted the falling metrics of KB since 2013. Maybe the field for qualified indies is becoming less crowded.

In your dreams. On the other hand, as a baby boomer I've always had 76 million people competing with me for jobs, for houses, for spouses, and for whatever. A crowded field is nothing new. How to stand out from the crowd is the problem I've been fighting my whole life. 

Although I'm fairly sure I was full of dumb questions about self-publishing five years ago, I didn't go on a huge forum to rant ignorantly, especially to rant about the very typical events of a would-be traditionally published author's life. Before I entered trad pub many decades ago, I spent time in the public library and read about this business. It truly was a big help.

Today, newcomers can learn a tremendous amount about every aspect of this business in the comfort of their homes, but do they bother? Or is the problem that they don't know how to separate the wheat from the chaff? That I see as a continuing education issue, and definitely the more experienced authors are not as willing to help out newbies today as they were when they were just starting out themselves.   

One of the many things I've learned over the years is that the condition of a manuscript tells one nothing about the author's potential. All an editor can do is judge what is currently on the page. If there is a super hot new trend and an editor has an urgent mandate to find a certain kind of story, it is possible that a less-than-perfect submission will be accepted--conditional on a ton of revision. I'm sure when Gone Girl hit, plenty of editors were tasked with finding the next one.

But that's trad pub, which some of us think is going its merry way off a cliff. Time will tell.

What about indie newcomers? Didn't we all have a combination of high hopes and deep fears to overcome at first? Some people can't handle this tension. It's hard to release a book and see that no one buys it except one's mother. Some people want to find someone to blame if they can't live out their rather skewed visions of what being an author really is. I don't think all the commercial noise helps them, either. Again, whom can they trust to give them accurate information? I appreciate all the authors who take the time to explain what works for them and what doesn't. I'm not looking for your trade secrets, because all the advice in the world still has to percolate through my hard head.         
 
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Bill Hiatt

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #88 on: December 11, 2019, 09:55:45 AM »
Very good points, LilyBLily.

I think part of the problem for new indies is separating the wheat from the chaff. It certainly was for me.

For instance, I accepted some very bad advice about copyright because I didn't know any better, and pretty much everyone on that thread (KDP forum) was singing the same song, which was, "Don't bother. You can't collect statutory damages, but otherwise it doesn't matter." As it turns out, it does, because it's not just a question of statutory damages. You can't file suit for infringement at all without registration. Also, you might have a harder time defending yourself if someone falsely accuses you of infringement. Yes, a recent Supreme Court decision made this more definite, but that's really how the law stood even before. The issue SCOTUS ruled on was whether an application was sufficient to begin litigation, and the answer was no. But even before that, registration was considered necessary at some point in the litigation process. Though it's less likely some unknown indie is going to have to worry, it's certainly not impossible.

That's why it's also important for posters not to represent their experience as what always happens. Those of us who've been around for a while know that mileages vary, but a newbie wouldn't be as likely to.


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OfficialEthanJ

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #89 on: December 11, 2019, 12:46:05 PM »
I haven't been posting here for a while. I'm not sympathy trolling, but we lost both of our dogs about 9 months apart (both this year) and losing the last one cut deep. My wife and I are adjusting to post-dog life. I haven't been writing either. I don't have anything to say, either here or on paper.

When I do, I will.

::: returns to the shadows :::
 

Shoe

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #90 on: December 11, 2019, 12:57:37 PM »

Although I'm fairly sure I was full of dumb questions about self-publishing five years ago       

I don't mind when a writing-is-in-my-bones type, new to self-publishing, is here to learn the ropes. They should feel free to ask away. I enjoy helping them, though I rarely get to those threads before the arguments have begun over topics having nothing to do with the OP's question.

It's the newbie whose first post is "How much money can I make?" that ruffle my feathers.

I'm speculating, but I suspect the first people to use KDP were writing-in-the-bones types. No one knew if it'd pay but that wasn't their primary purpose in getting their books out. Then the royalty went up at some point, and the Warrior Forums for online marketing starting preaching "make money on Amazon writing how-to books". Porn webmasters, facing a hopeless marketing environment, decided erotica was the new wave and Reddit's popped-up to preach the gospel. I guess the word also spread through fan fiction and LitRPG communities and the blogosphere (I'm really reaching now) and everyone with keyboard descended on KDP to make money.

And here we are.
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TimothyEllis

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Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #91 on: December 11, 2019, 01:07:52 PM »
I'm speculating, but I suspect the first people to use KDP were writing-in-the-bones types. No one knew if it'd pay but that wasn't their primary purpose in getting their books out.

I wasn't in the first wave, or the second, but getting the books out of my head was my motivation for writing. It was that or go insane. Mind you, I'm not sure if anyone could tell the difference.

It was never about the money. Even though when I started, it was already proved there was money to be made. But I wasn't even looking at that, just concentrating on getting the stuff out of my head.

I tend to think people starting writing for the money have the wrong motivation. But that's just me.
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elleoco

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #92 on: December 11, 2019, 01:41:20 PM »
I haven't been posting here for a while. I'm not sympathy trolling, but we lost both of our dogs about 9 months apart (both this year) and losing the last one cut deep.

All my sympathy. Losing the dog of my heart a couple of years ago had pretty much the same effect on me for more than a year.

Jeff Tanyard

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #93 on: December 11, 2019, 03:00:11 PM »
Sorry to hear about your dogs, Ethan.  Condolences.   :icon_sad:
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LilyBLily

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #94 on: December 11, 2019, 03:13:28 PM »
I haven't been posting here for a while. I'm not sympathy trolling, but we lost both of our dogs about 9 months apart (both this year) and losing the last one cut deep.

All my sympathy. Losing the dog of my heart a couple of years ago had pretty much the same effect on me for more than a year.

My sympathies, too. Many of us have tough years, and there are no easy paths. Every grief is different. I asked my therapist specifically, but nope. Got to live through each grief one day at a time.
 

Laughing Elephant

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #95 on: December 11, 2019, 04:20:13 PM »


{{{Hugs}}} around you and your wife, Ethan.

 

VanessaC

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #96 on: December 11, 2019, 07:05:16 PM »
I haven't been posting here for a while. I'm not sympathy trolling, but we lost both of our dogs about 9 months apart (both this year) and losing the last one cut deep. My wife and I are adjusting to post-dog life.

No wise words, just: I'm so sorry.  All my sympathy.
     
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notthatamanda

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #97 on: December 11, 2019, 09:46:42 PM »
Sorry Ethan.
 

cecilia_writer

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #98 on: December 11, 2019, 11:46:44 PM »
I haven't been posting here for a while. I'm not sympathy trolling, but we lost both of our dogs about 9 months apart (both this year) and losing the last one cut deep.

That's very sad - animals are so much part of the family. I can understand it having a huge effect.
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Splunge

Re: Where'd everybody go?
« Reply #99 on: December 12, 2019, 12:05:29 AM »
I haven't been posting here for a while. I'm not sympathy trolling, but we lost both of our dogs about 9 months apart (both this year) and losing the last one cut deep. My wife and I are adjusting to post-dog life. I haven't been writing either. I don't have anything to say, either here or on paper.

When I do, I will.

::: returns to the shadows :::

Sorry to hear about your babies. I lost mine 13 years ago and it was the hardest thing I ever went through. Just know that there are folks out there who understand this grief.