The Ugly Truth of Publishing & How BEST to Support Writers

This is a long post, but it is VERY informative, and well worth the read. You owe it to yourself to check it out, I think, and to reblog, tweet, and forward by mail to everyone you think will take the time to read. We writers need to understand this, and help educate readers who don’t realize it.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri Original Image via Flickr Creative Commons, courtesy of Anurag Agnihotri

Well, I figure I have one more day to drunkenly torch my platform. Sad thing is I don’t drink. I am apparently this stupid when sober 😛 . Actually I am writing this as a follow up for my rant from the day before yesterday, because knowledge is power.

Writers need this. Your friends and families need this. Readers need this. The more people get how this industry works, the more everyone can start working together for everyone’s benefit.

In my book Rise of the Machines—Human Authors in a Digital World, I go into a LOT more detail and I highly recommend you get a copy if you don’t have one. I spend the first chapters of the book explaining how the various forms of publishing work so you can make an educated decision.

All types of publishing have corresponding…

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7 thoughts on “The Ugly Truth of Publishing & How BEST to Support Writers

  1. Advice from my first writing instructor eons ago: “Write because you love to, because you have to. It might be the only reward you ever get. Oh…and don’t give up your day job.” As the adage goes: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    What’s different now? People have multiple platforms on which to express their opinions. Readers are free to trash writers’ books. Even traditionally published, previously revered authors have come under attack. These authors only had to worry about reviews posted weekly in a newspaper. If those reviews were unfavorable, they faded away. Now the ugly reviews stay on Amazon or Goodreads forever…

    If authors want to remain sane in today’s publishing world, we need to develop tough hides and try not to take ourselves too seriously. On the other hand, we have to learn to believe in ourselves and commit to writing the best books we can. Creativity, by its virtue, is imperfect. We have to keep that in mind.

    Thanks for sharing, Marcia. Will do the same. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Word of mouth has always been, and always will be, the number one thing to sell books. And today, that’s amazon. Even in the old days, though, if people told their friends and neighbors a book was good, that’s what sold the book. More than any other form of advertising. It’s also what sunk the book. If they didn’t like it, and let their circle of friends know, who in turn, let their circle of friends know, the book ultimately failed.

      Yes, we have to develop tough hides, but also, we have to REALLY read negative reviews, and learn from them. Especially, if the complaints are repeated very often. I welcome reviews, good and bad, and have been pretty lucky so far, in that my ratio of good to bad is pretty high. BUT. When I receive a negative review, I try (once I’m done sniveling) to learn from it, and grow as a writer in that way. There’s usually a grain of truth there, though sometimes it’s just a book that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

      But the very best way to get support for your work is to garner lots of reviews, hoping that most are positive, and the best way to do that is to let readers know how critical they are.

      What has hurt writers most today is not amazon, nor ebooks. It’s places like B&N, and used book stores (where you don’t make one red cent on your hard work). NOT to be confused with “SMALL” bookstores, which can be great. But used ones are a bane, and I’ve finally realized that. If I want to support a favorite writer, I will buy the books NEW or in eBook form, where they make even more.

      If you read Kristen’s rant the day before she posted this, it’s laid out very clearly how we’ve been damaged by some of these things, and helped by others, and not always in the way we believe to be true. It’s VERY interesting, though she was so angry that day, I elected not to post that one.

      At any rate, anything that alerts readers (who truly have no idea about this) that they should leave positive reviews for the books they love, is a good thing. I quit leaving negative reviews a long time ago, as have a lot of folks I know. There are plenty of people willing to do that. If I don’t like a book very much, I just don’t finish it. I will sometimes mention individual things that I don’t like, while overall leaving a good review, but I won’t trash another writer’s work publicly. If we don’t support each other, who else will?

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with everything you wrote, Linda–especially the part about developing a tough hide. When I got my first bad review, I was devastated. I began second guessing the reader’s motive. Did he or she hate the book? Does he or she hate me? Hate writers? How could the reader hate my book when others loved it? I almost worried myself into a state of frenzy. Hopefully, I have calmed down enough so that when I get my next bad review, I’ll be able to take it in stride.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi, Carole. Here’s what I do. I accept the fact that not every book, no matter how good it is, will work for every reader. Period. The very things that some of your audience loves the most, others will detest. That’s the nature of reading. It’s very subjective, and we ALL bring baggage to the table when we sit down and open the covers. Every single thing we read is colored by our own perceptions of life, our own experiences, and the MOOD we’re in at the time we read. So a bad review does NOT necessarily mean you’ve written a bad book. Merely that it didn’t work for this reader.

      And you know what? Some of my most favorite authors EVER have written books I hated. It’s just that normally, I like what they write. But not liking one of their efforts doesn’t mean they aren’t good writers.

      Now if you receive criticism about HOW you write, or poor writing in general . . . grammar errors or poorly developed characters, well that’s an opportunity to learn and grow. And that’s a good thing. It means your next book will probably be better. But a review that just says “I didn’t care for this book,” doesn’t worry me any more. Different books for different . . . ummm . . . kooks? Mooks? Crooks? Ha. You get my drift.

      Nice to see you here today, and hope you’ll stop in often.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Couldn’t have said it better myself, Marcia. Sometimes, our books fail to meet the expectations of readers in a particular genre. Also, what readers “hear” in everyday speech is often incorrect; therefore, they think the writer is the one making grammatical errors. This is particularly true of the verbs “lie” and “lay.” All a writer an do is take it with a grain of salt. If the majority of the reviews you receive are positive, then you’ve done a pretty darn good job! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks, Linda. You are right about what readers think is correct grammar, compared to what actually IS. I do take liberties in dialogue, depending on who is speaking, of course, because none of us speaks with perfect grammar all the time. I have one character, in particular, who was raised in the wilds, and his grammar is just awful, but it is exactly the way I know he sounds. He’s exaggerated enough that most don’t question when he says things like “Gran weren’t never wrong.” But some of my characters wouldn’t say that, even in casual conversation. I think that comes with knowing who you are writing. But in narrative portions of the book, good grammar is a basic essential, and if I miss something, my editor usually catches it, thankfully.

          So far, I’ve been blessed with some pretty great reviews, but I DO read the less than great ones very closely to see if I can tell if the person just wasn’t into the genre . . . like the man who gave me two stars for “Swamp Ghosts,” and commented merely that his Book Club made them read it. (I did wonder if his book club insisted he review it, too.) But he had no complaint about my writing, and I am left to assume it just wasn’t the kind of book he enjoyed reading. If it appears that I’ve really made mistakes with my writing or my plot . . . or worse, to my mind . . . my characters, then I’m going to try to learn from it. I want my skill level to grow with every book.

          Let’s make a New Year’s Resolution to strive to be better writers in 2016, working on any areas we think we can improve. I’m planning to work very hard on self-marketing this year, already, and much better time management, but I also want to have personal growth in my writing, as well. If I’m going to keep doing this right into my dotage (and I am!), then I want to improve every single day! And I wish you a year of continued success and personal growth, as well. Here’s to your health this year, too, and to continued friendship and support in the writing community, as well as elsewhere. New Year’s Hugs to You, Linda!

          Liked by 1 person

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