Writers Writing for Writers.

The sheer abundance of writing, editing, publishing and promotion manuals for authors make me sometimes roll my eyes. To me it appears that a whole segment of authors have dedicated themselves to spew out tips and tricks of how you can become a “successful writer”, whatever that is. The market is so inundated with their works that it sometimes makes me feel that the only ones who’re still reading books are just other writers. It’s just like reinventing the warm water all over again since E.M Foster published Aspects of a Novel in 1927.  I agree, some genres have been added to the literary repertory but E.M Foster had it pretty well nailed down.

Since then the publishing industry became so democratized that right now everyone who wishes to do so can publish a book. In short, it became more difficult to stick out when Amazon alone publishes about 70 eBooks every hour.  The traditional publishing industry is fighting an uphill battle but so are the authors with serious intentions.

Most writers sometimes spend more time on promoting and advertising their work than it cost them to write the damned thing. So the book marketing seminars and manuals about how to promote a book are among the best selling items on the internet. With the yearly afflux of about 1,000,000 want-to-be bestselling authors, this is clearly a market segment that asks to be exploited.

writers circle

The creative writing classes also seem to flourish and are mostly populated by people who saw their first novel going nowhere and want to hone their writing skills, hoping that someone will hand them down the magical formula to turn their idea into a bestselling classic, followed up by some Hollywood contract.

The sad reality is that traditional publishers spend on an average 10 to 20,000 USD on promotion, a budget that lies way beyond of what most self-publishing authors can afford. And then it still has to catch on with a dwindling reading public that became increasingly exigent in their choices. Writing and publishing novels isn’t difficult compared to the art of convincing the remaining readers to pick your work out of the book flood that comes to them.

At least the writers for writers are warranted a steady stream of fresh potential readers. Meanwhile I just shake my head compassionately when I read posts of some freshly baked new authors who state proudly how they want follow their dream and become professional writers. They better have a backup plan to put bread on the table. Or they have to become writers for writers.

11 Comments

  1. This is very well stated.
    I have wanted to self-publish before, but I have issues with that. I don’t want to be the next jerk with a keyboard and a few hundred bucks laying around to spew out some crap and get it put in book form. I don’t want to pretend that I’m a “professional” writer with a self-published book. I want to be the next jerk with a keyboard to submit what I’ve written to the right publisher at the right time and get a book deal.
    I have ZERO illusions about where I stand with that, though. So, I don’t work at it with this notion that I can just self-publish and get famous and paid. There are too many that do have that notion already.
    I do get very excited when somebody likes what I’ve written, but I also check myself and realize that is just one person out of a rather large number that I have to convince my stuff is good in order to actually get paid to write. I have a day job 😉
    Very good job putting the reality of writing in perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I has struck me that all those writers for writers pride themselves of being bestseller authors. Then I check with what kind of book they have been hitting the list – most of the time with a book about writing. They’re basically also the ones who claim that becoming a writer was a dream coming true and how happy they are that they’ve made that career switch.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you’re right. I guess the bestseller status is legitimate, but I have to wonder why. If the accomplishment is a book that advises others how to write books, then they’ve accomplished something, but what? I read the book Stephen King wrote about writing, “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft”. I read that one because Stephen King had already achieved bestseller status with “a few” novels. I guess I’m saying that I see the point of someone like Stephen King writing a book about writing for writers.
        I don’t want to belittle writers for writers. Writing a book and getting a bestseller status is a pretty nice accomplishment, but I still understand the skepticism expressed here.
        I think I’ll just keep doing my thing. I hope that others will come across my stuff and like it. Even one like is VERY appreciated, and I get giddy when I get comments 😀 Like I said… good post. You’ve hit upon a good thing to consider is this world of writing.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I do agree with this- there is a *huge* industry dedicated just to telling people how to be a successful writer (usually the same old prescriptive advice- when really there are a lot of different styles- so a lot of it’s not going to be helpful to writers who end up all adopting the same style and sounding the same and therefore aren’t very interesting to read… but I digress). I do think it’s important to have a backup job, but also for me I think it’s wise not to go into writing for the money- especially since it’s possible to have some success and still not make enough to pay the bills.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The average advance that a publisher gives to an author is about 10,000 dollar. Take into account that it takes me 2 – 3 years to finish a novel. Then, when all goes well, you get with a traditional publisher a royalty of maximum 35 % on the sale AFTER they’ve deducted the 10,000 dollar they’ve advanced you and the costs they’ve made by themselves, to reduce with 15 % for your agent. Most professional writers I know are barely coming by and have a sidekick as freelancer for a magazine or newspaper to put some butter on their bread. But they live happily, knowing that most would be writers even don’t make it this far and their satisfaction is derived from the fact that their brain children get some attention. The trick is to live in a country where your money goes further than in the U.K. or the U.S.A.: Asia or Central America for example.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I have actually developed an algorithm that can give an estimation of what could be the next bestseller. Only it doesn’t work anymore for the fiction segment of the publications since in 1965 there occurred a major shift in the social function of the novels. But it still works approximately for the non-fiction. I wouldn’t hang my future on it, but it’s entertaining and makes you wonder.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. The writing for writers industry is basically just an outgrowth of the self-help industry. How many self-help gurus have “these simple rules for success” but their only real experience with success is in selling their self-help rules. It’s also kind of the same concept as MLMs when you think about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Whoa! You must REALLY hate all those guides-for-writers, huh!?🤣🤣🤣🤣 And I must say, I agree too, you know. I mean, I don’t claim to be as well informed about the publishing industry about this but DAMN ALL THESE WEBSITES claiming to have a 12-15-25 step programme for “a few dollars” which can convert struggling wanna be writers into the next Tolkien! It’s laughable, really! 🤣🤣
    And I haven’t read Forster’s book I think I should now.
    Amazing post, as always!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Like

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