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The whole literary world seems awash with new writers: of all genres and capabilities. In their number – trust me I know – there are a handful who will make it big: and I mean BIG (genius among their ranks; some excellent writers but also moneyed writers WITH CONNECTIONS. It is not cynical to suggest this, just factual.) It was ever thus, but I’m not a party-pooper. Good luck to those who have reached the pinnacle of their profession, more particularly the authors who have worked hard to get there, for there is truth in the saying success takes more perspiration than inspiration… Although it is humbling to recall, and furthermore brings the egotists to heel, that Ernest Hemingway said ‘We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.’
However, the “connected” and more savvy/wealthy/technical scribblers among us, don’t need as much help, while there are plenty who do! I count myself in the latter category as I hesitate when I am faced by a ‘Push’ sign…over-think (dangerous) and tend to under-estimate any suggestion of talent.
In this technical age, more than ever before, the actual writing itself seems easy-peasy when faced with the maze of problems in getting your work/book “out there.” Having experienced mainstream publishing in the 1970’s/80’s – to be applauded – I can categorically say there is no comparison with what’s on offer today. Yes, it’s easier to be published, but most authors like to see their books sell. Right? Plus they like to be paid for all their sweat and tears; more than two/three euro per book would be nice…(Don’t choke over your cornflakes if that’s a surprise!) And therein lies a difficulty. Amazon and Kindle are choked up with every conceivable book on every conceivable subject you can imagine, and nowadays the ‘big boys’ are greedier.
The writing part of your book really could be the easiest when compared to ‘putting it out there’ and selling it. If you’re very confident, can sell yourself and your book, AND you can write well, you are well on your way to becoming a household name, otherwise it’s a struggle. And, remember, wise authors put much store by the design of their book covers, and the back cover blurb is almost as important. It can make the difference between luke-warm sales and brisk ones.
Apart from the totally original/genius/moneyed writers in our midst, there are plenty of tentative, talented people aspiring to get into print, and I genuinely feel concern for them. So – including myself in this plea – let’s sit up and take note before it’s too late.
So, what can we do to improve our success? Well, common sense tells us to ensure the quality of our writing is as good as we can make it. We never finish learning…or improving, and shouldn’t. We should all read as much as we can and keep our curiosity honed at all times. Being original and spinning a good tale is another must, and cliches should be avoided but not ignored. Rules should be massaged, and sometimes turned on their heads… In Doris Lessing’s words: ‘There are no laws for the novel. There never have been, nor can there ever be.’ Optimism is key.
I will forever be intrigued by the fact that 26 letters of the alphabet can spell magic, mayhem, mystery, fear, titillation, happiness and every other emotion you can think of, and the mystique of muses and inspiration remains. Although, in my own, very modest, writing life, there was never a “”Eureka” moment, I was inspired to plod on by John Steinbeck’s writing, read after…I had written a sentence almost matching one of his about a sunset in a short story. Not exactly a difficult task, but I was thrilled to have chosen the same words as a writer of his calibre. (He was, by the way, rejected by many publishers before succeeding.) Of course, we should never compare ourselves with the greats, and remember, we are ALL UNIQUE. Every last one of us.
Sadly, none of the above sketches out HOW to ensure readers buy our books. If you are a good speaker/actor/promoter/technology wizard, it counts for a lot, for today’s writer has to do a heap more than just write. Making videos, giving interviews and courting coverage by way of Twitter and Facebook, etc., makes sense, as does setting up a website and interacting with like-minded people.
As for finishing the book itself, Larry L. King suggests you ‘Write, rewrite; when not writing or re-writing, read. I know of no short cuts!’ I heartily endorse his advice. Good luck!
© Copyright Joy Lennick 2017
Can I start by thanking Seumas for his great kindness in allowing my ramblings on his wonderful blog page and by saying that I feel very honoured to be here. That said, it has left me with the slight problem of how to introduce myself and explain my presence here. It’s the reason why, this sunny day finds me lolling in a deck-chair in the garden, on the pre-text of topping up my sun-tan but in reality, chewing on my pencil-end, fretting over what I can possibly say that might make anyone want to read it without lamenting poor Seumas’ blog page has taken an inexplicably sad turn for the worse. In other words, I sense you’re an educated lot and I don’t want to be found out.
I am a writer, so I know I’m here to talk about my new book, ‘Villa Cassiopeia’ https://www.amazon.co.uk/Villa-Cassiopeia-mysterious-Greece-perfect-ebook/dp/B073XL11MG which is set…
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I love all of Seumas’ scribblings… x
…in another era, Master Gallacher’s skull was carpeted by enough hair to keep away whatever little sun dared creep into Scotland… summer used to arrive between half past one and six o’clock in the afternoon of a preordained day in July, so not much need for the solar protection… the youthful phase of Brylcreem plastered across the locks lasted only until the first flush of recognition of ‘GURLS‘ and their various attractions became superseded by a stronger love for playing football for the local teams, training five nights a week, and playing at least one of the two weekend days… moving through later teens into early twenties, the cranial thatch underwent more change… for a time, long, permed curly flowing stresses (hard to believe, I know, Mabel) accompanied a Zapata-style Mex moustache, all the better for the image while doing battle on the football field…
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