I have been thinking about all the friends I have who have self published and there is nothing wrong with self publishing. Samuel T. Clemmons did that as ‘Mark Twain’. People loved him.
As a reader or a viewer I am thinking about what makes me want to read something and I have been thinking ‘Why do I read this guy?’
That is probably the most important idea I have had during a holiday.
So many people have spent upwards of 5,000 dollars, if they could afford it, to get as many copies of their work published and copyrighted as fast as they could. Many companies do this now and they offer EVERYTHING for a fee. They will even edit your work for you.
I was tagged for a poetry group once, at Facebook, that was really a selling platform for a publishing company. I did not find that out until I had joined and posted and made several nice comments at other people’s work noting that the whole place seemed to be full of people in a MUCH HIGHER socio-economic bracket than I am. This was a ‘pinky finger’ group if there ever was one and the poorest people in it made about 40,000 a year which, granted, is not all that much but when you make less than 12,000 a year that is some kingly living!
I guess they tagged me because I know how to spell ‘erudite’ and only people with money know big words?
There ARE some people I read. One of them is a ‘Rez’ woman out in Montana who can write a poem with such a ‘gut-punch’ factor it is like living what she writes as if you were her! She is not rich. She is not going to be able to spend 5,000 dollars on X amount of poetry books unless someone sponsors her. I read another guy from Great Britain. He is also not rich but he can use words in a way that is above the normal human capacity to even comprehend them! Only the best minds can ‘read him and weep.’ Another guy I read is an Asian American guy who came upon me quite ‘out of the blue’ and he is snarky, witty, annoying and engaging and while I don’t agree with every single thing he writes he draws me in. I have no idea if he is rich or not but he can WRITE things people want to read!
I have seen so many self published books, unsold, in stacks sitting by the desk where the tennis pro’s check in and out, at the shi-shi club uptown, written by rich people who want to be remembered and could afford to do that. That is fine too because if I was rich I would do the same things only I would just give them away and hope to be remembered. If I wasn’t rich I would pimp the heck out of them for as much as I could get but…
…back to the subject.
Why do I wanna read something? What makes me want to take the time to look at each word? What quality makes me look for what that person writes?
The first quality is honesty. I know that sounds a little weird because most people who know me know I love fantasy the most and yet even fantasy can have the quality of honesty. The characters from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Wheel of Time’ have a curious undercurrent of the writers own soul running through them. They were not ONLY written for money, although money and recognition are always factors. They were written because the writer loved to do that; but, loving the art of writing is not enough. So what else is there?
I would also say ‘INTERACTION.’ Readers want to be a part of what they read. They want to FEEL Frodo’s fear and his battle with the forces of the ‘ring’. Readers want to become a part of what they read. They want to vicariously experience the things they cannot, or have not, experienced in their own lives. This is why fantasy is such a huge genre. The real world lacks ‘dragons’ and ‘magic.’ You cannot point a magic wand at your problems and yell “Expelliarmus!”, as Harry Potter taught us, and make them go away.
So why write this and dedicate it to someone I enjoy reading?
Because he writes things in such a way as to make me curious what the next words might be. I do not agree with him that ‘anyone can do this.’ I DO agree that you can work as hard as you can to get readers and that THAT will get you MORE readers BUT you cannot give yourself talent you don’t have. You can only teach yourself how to have more each day.
Thanks to the reads ‘OM’…I know you will find this without me needing to smack you. Kudos to your haters. They will make you famous!