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.
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.