I’ve been debating about writing this blog entry for a while. I don’t want to come off as snarky, but this has been really bothering me. (I’ll get into what ‘this’ is in a moment.) Last weekend I attended CopperCon, which was lovely. During a few of the talks, I noticed that some of the questions coming from the audience were questions that should’ve been answered prior to seeking publication of ANY kind. The same thing seems to be occurring on several of the Indie publishing loops that I’m on.
What I’m talking about is beginning writer questions. These questions range from ‘how do I write a query’ to ‘how do I fix a plot’. I find these types of questions, particularly the latter, terrifying. Why? Because these are the types of questions that a writer should be asking BEFORE they attempt to publish a book. These are not the types of questions that should be asked, while you’re uploading your latest novel or AFTER you’ve uploaded the book.
Let me just say that I do LOVE Indie publishing. It’s brought me a level of freedom with my writing that I haven’t had in a long time, but it IS a lot of work. I’m not one of those writers that believe Indie publishing is the ONLY kind of publishing there is in the world. If I did, I would’ve never bothered to shop/and sell my work to New York. That said, I am seeing some disturbing trends with Indie publishing that wasn’t as prevalent in New York publishing. A lot of Indie writers are skipping the ‘WORK‘ in their rush to publication.
What do I mean by the ‘work’? I mean that a lot of Indie writers aren’t taking the time to learn HOW to write a book. Because of the ease of publication these days, they are skipping that step…that VERY IMPORTANT step and jumping right into releasing a book. This isn’t good for Indie publishing or the authors doing so.
I realize that we live in a time where everyone expects things to come easy–and quick. Technology has trained us to be instant gratification monkeys, constantly pressing a button for more bananas. We want what we want and we want it NOW! I LOVE technology, but it’s important to remember that most things worth achieving require a LOT of work. Do you think that the iPad and those Apps happened overnight? Do you think that the PS3 and those games were developed in a month? The ease of use makes it easy to forget that those items took people YEARS to create. There was planning, studying, programming mistakes, and starting over multiple times before any of the above products took shape. There were no ‘quick fixes’.
Every successful writer that I know has either taken classes, attended workshops, or studied the genres in order to write well. This is not something they did for a month or two, this is something that they did for YEARS. In fact, most writers I know (myself included) continue to study craft. They NEVER stop. Why? Because you can ALWAYS get better.
I know Indie publishing is alluring. Really. I get it. But you do yourself, and your readers, a disservice by not learning the basics. These days with free workshops and online classes, there is no excuse to not do the work.