Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Writers today are lucky.

It's amazing, in many ways, that 30 years ago (or longer) that anyone would set out to be a writer.  The only real explanation is ignorance.  Not knowing the odds.  The power of daydreaming.  I mean, you really did write in a vacuum back then.  You got a lot of skeptical looks.  Your parents urged you to be 'realistic' and find a 'real' job.  (I suppose that hasn't changed...) 

You typed your manuscript, making every effort to correct mistakes.  If you made any changes you had to completely rewrite the manuscript, so you tended not to make small corrections.  I remember having stacks of discards of just one page, because I was compulsive/obsessive.

You paid a printer to copy the book.  Paper and ink and print were substantial costs if you were poor, which you probably were if you were quitting your day job to write a novel.

Postage was pretty big expense too. 

You sent it off to one agent or publisher at a time and waited.  And waited.  And waited.

I called it, "sending it into the Void."  Months, even years.  Imagine applying for a job and having to wait for each single employer to turn you down before you went on to the next, and that that employer automatically took at least "six weeks" to answer (which if you were actually considered could turn into six months.)

I mean, there was almost no feedback then.  Either you hit the big time (as in being published by a major publisher) or you didn't.  Not a lot of in-between.

Oh, there was the short story/art route, but even then it was almost as hard to get a short story published as it was a novel, with very little of the payoff.

Now, at least you can see your name in print without breaking the bank.  The term "vanity press" really isn't valid, because you aren't spending a lot of money to salve your ego.  You really don't have to spend much money at all.  If you are tech savvy, you may not have to spend any money.

The actual process of writing is 10 times easier.  

Ultimately, the odds of making money today are probably nearly as long as they were then.  But there is much more in-between validation.  It's easier.  It doesn't take so long.  And you aren't dependent on others to see your work see daylight.

It's a great time to be a writer for art's sake.

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