Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Good Old Joe

Like most writers aspiring to turn a hobby into a self-published reality, I follow the venerable Joe Konrath via his blog. Joe, being one of the forerunners of the whole e-revolution, offers great advice, great interviews, and most importantly, a whole lot of emotional support for some of the smaller authors out there.

He lives out his ideals of keeping "one hand forward and one extended back" (to both look to the future while helping those coming behind), and also "rowing in the same boat" with the rest of us (writers don't need to compete, we all sell more by promoting each other). There are a couple of his "famous" quotations that really resonate with me that I wanted to share.

First, from an older post, is one that really inspired me to get my mind right about self-publishing. For a long time, I worried, like a lot of writers, that the only legitamate way to succeed at writing was to score a big six contract. At the bottom of the linked guest post, Joe writes the following:
"Now, I don't discount that if a book is accepted by the Big 6, it meets a minimum quality standard. It is difficult for writers to judge their own work, and acceptance by an agent is a good indicator that the work is up to par. But guess what? Selling a shitload of ebooks is a much better validation. Getting a stamp of approval from readers is more important than a stamp of approval from a publisher."

That really resonated with me. I'm not a big one to buy into any sort of "gatekeeper." Like Joe, I won't go so far as to say that a traditional publishing contract doesn't add value or indicate a minimum level of quality. It's just not the only way to succeed. Especially today. I'm not against big publishing, but I am most assuredly for independent publishing. You don't have to be one or the other, but the choice does come down to what's best for both author and reader. Notice the lack of "what's best for the corporation." That's the neat part.

I believe big publishing will continue in some form, but that the e-revolution will continue to de-emphasize their important. This isn't a bad thing. They can still produce quality and help with distribution. They can still add value through professional services like editing and artwork. It's just not the only way to succeed.

A writer can also succeed simply by connecting with readers. Finding their own audience, no matter how niche. Turning a hobby into a living. It's great to have options!

A second was more recent. Reprinted in a collectioin of motivational quotations near the bottom of the post here. He says:
"When you're learning how to walk, you don't take classes. You don't read how-to books. You don't pay experts to help you, or do it for you. You just keep falling until you learn on your own."

I love this sentiment. Now, it shouldn't be taken to say that there isn't value or learning that can be gained through taking classes, reading books about writing, or consulting experts. The point is, at the end of the day, you really are only going to learn through doing. At some point, you have to take all the lessons and advice and apply it to something real. At the end of the day, you just need to write.

That's my plan. Write and share. (And absorb as much as I can through all the outlets that make sense for me). Hopefully I'll find my audience.


Post a Comment