Money for nothing, write for free

16 08 2010

As I’ve been working on my novel, I’ve also been doing tons of research on the publishing industry. With technology growing in every facet of our lives, it’s not surprising that the book publishing industry also has been greatly affected.

As you probably know, there are many people who have started using portable devices to read their favorite books, newspapers or  magazines. Instead of going to the newsstand or bookstore and picking up a physical copy of the latest Stephen King book or this morning’s edition of The New York Times, you can download them onto a portable reader and enjoy them wherever you are.

This new technology has greatly changed reader’s buying habits. Publishers have had to rethink their practices and authors have found a variety of new ways to get their work out to the public. Some are only releasing their work as ebooks, which are much cheaper for readers. That lower price point makes them more likely to try a new author. Other authors are going with one of the many publish-on-demand sites online, like www.lulu.com. These sites offer authors the ability to let people order books online and the company will print copies of the book as they are ordered. These sites have their advantages and their drawbacks, but they certainly are one option for people looking to get their work out there.

Personally, I think I’m going to hold out for a traditional publishing deal. Although there are the rare success stories of people who have self-published or just released ebooks, and then signed a deal, they are few and far between. I believe in my story and I believe in myself. I believe that someone will want to sign me once they read my book. Maybe I’m a fool and maybe I’m wrong. But I don’t think so. I know what my strengths are and I know what my weaknesses are. I don’t try to be a professional carpenter. That WOULD be crazy. I am about as talented with tools as Tim Allen is as an actor. I can write. I have good story ideas and someone will want to sign me so other people can read those stories.

I am not writing to become rich. The odds of becoming rich as a writer are slim to none. There’s a joke that goes “What’s the difference between a writer and a pizza? A pizza can feed a family of four.” While that may be a bad joke, the message is very true. If you want to become rich and famous, don’t become a writer. There are many occupations that are much more likely to be lucrative.

I am writing because I HAVE to write. I have these words inside of me that are fighting to come out. For years, they were stuffed down inside by my busy, everyday life. Now, I have given them freedom to run wild, and they are taking advantage of it. I have so many story ideas, I can’t find enough time to get them all down even. I have 33,000 words done on my first novel, and the words just keep coming. I don’t care if millions of people read my book, but I definitely want people to read them. And I believe that once people read them, they will want to read me, and they will tell their friends about them and the rest will be history.

If you love to write, do it. Find some outlet for your writing. Just don’t expect to get rich. But expect to feel good about yourself and your work. And that may be payment enough.

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3 responses

16 08 2010
Tiffany Cole

Tim, you definitely speak the truth. I’m always reading about the writing world. For years now, I’ve been recieiving newsletters from Writer’s Digest and the like that talk about the changes in publishing. I think much like you. Sure, I can see the many benefits and drawbacks involved in both traditional publishing and e-publishing, but I want to stick with traditional publishing namely because I believe in myself. I’m not egotistical enough to think I’ll become the next Stephen King, though I fantasize. But I’m at least confident enough to believe that people will want to read my book and people’s lives may be impacted just a little by it. Also, I’m always telling people that anything in the arts – acting, art, writing, etc – should have a back up plan. I’m majoring in English and minoring in Communications so that way I can have something else to make a living. That, or I’m gonna turn to Psychology. Not entirely sure yet.

Great article Tim! 😀

18 08 2010
Erin

You’re right, if writing is in you, you can’t help but to do it. Tiffany, Tim and I both got Journalism degrees and I also have an English and a History degree. For over a decade I have been in public relations, since it is more stable and can be more lucrative. But it all came back to us wanting to write again. For me, it will probably be a novel more when the kids are grown. But having a dream and keeping it alive, or being motivated by what makes you happy is the best feeling in the world. And life is just too short to not listen to your heart.

18 08 2010
Tiffany Cole

I’ve got some high school experience with journalim. I was on the Newspaper team for two years. One year I was an editor. Had I not moved the next year, I’d be Chief. But basically, Erin, that’s what I want with public relations and/or communications. How is public relations, anyway? I read about it, but it’s better to hear from someone who is actually in it.

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