Why You Should Be a Writer

This little article can be thought of as a corollary or addendum to my article, “The Trouble With Lying“. It applies specifically to fiction or novel writing, and somewhat less specifically to non-fiction.

In “The Trouble With Lying” I talk about the self-publishing industry and contend, among other things, that most of the people trying to self-publish their books today should not be doing so. Please don’t construe this to mean that nobody out there should be self-publishing and “chasing the dream”, which is the same dream that I am chasing (although I don’t think of it in those terms, and believe the concept of ‘chasing the dream’ is part of the problem).

In fact, I think it is extremely important that people with something special to contribute as writers take up the long struggle to get their work recognized and into reader hands. Sometimes it isn’t even a long struggle, but history indicates that it usually is. Continue reading

The Trouble With Lying

Please note: I have thought long and hard before publishing this article. The old saying that you draw more flies with honey than with vinegar comes readily to mind. And also the one about how people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. But because I am in a glass house I am in a particularly apt position to observe and write on this subject. This article, if coming from a successful writer, would sound as self-serving and insincere as some of the recent e-book sensations who say that everyone else can do it too. I am not yet a successful writer; in fact I occupy the same exact position as many of the people whose enthusiasm my words pour cold water upon. So if I am harsh to the self-published writer, it is only as harsh as I am to myself. And I make no apologies.

Last night I was reading about publishing, self-publishing, and indie publishing as part of a continual effort to crack the code of how to get my books in front of more reader eyes.

Inevitably, I came across a blog written by one of the breakout e-book success heroes, talking about how easy it is to make tons of money from self-publishing, how anyone can do it, and how everyone should. Or at least that is what was implied. It’s the same story everywhere, whether the writer or commentator involved has actually been successful or not. They almost always say that they have been successful, and that you can be too. Oh yeah, they’ve made a ton of money. All of them have! They work and work, churning the foam on the ocean of foolhardery that is the self-publishing gold rush.

The ones at the very top, like the blogger I was reading, who was one of Amazon Kindle’s early independent success stories and has been highly promoted by Amazon and the traditional publishing industry ever since, are positioned to benefit from the churn. Much like a pyramid scheme, everyone else involved want to benefit in the same way but have no genuine prospect of doing so.

We live in hope? Continue reading