In my last post I explained how I’d read some books that authors sent me. They wanted an opinion, and, usually a question or two answered. Some needed tweaking. Some an overhaul. Some needed @#&%! …… I wanted to help so I made a diligent effort to understand the authors POV. What was their intent? After several of these discussions, a pattern emerged. The authors were “just writing” without a clear idea of what they wished to accomplish with their book. My question to one of these writers was, “If you don’t have a clear objective for writing your book, why are you writing?”
The first answer was convoluted, so I rephrased and repeated my question. I got an embarrassed, but honest answer. “I lost my job to downsizing. I spent over a year looking for something in accounting without luck. I decided I’d try to write novels. Some of the (manure) I’ve read and some of the stuff on TV is really bad. I thought I can do that good.”
There was no message in the writing. Well, that’s not correct. There was the desperation of someone who had invested in having a book printed after spending a lot of money on the manuscript. It was “edited,” formatted, had a rather good cover (the only reasonably done production work) and printed. I’m not a grammatical guru, but even my average skill level found 37 errors in the first chapter. Eight pages. Continuity was poor. The heroine’s car was a red BMW, a few chapters later it changed to gray, half-the-book-later it remained gray, but morphed into a Mercedes. I thought it might have been some unusual way to establish time passage (that was another problem). When I asked, the writer had no idea that a changeling vehicle was roaming the book’s pages.
Writing for publication is difficult —- very, very difficult. The competition is fierce and often unfair. Don’t be lulled into the mind set that “Anyone can write a best-seller.” The advertising convinced this person they could. Writing is a process that requires lots and lots and lots of preparation, perspiration, rejection, and commitment. It’s not a casual default when there’s nothing better to do. At least, only one hundred books were printed. If you’re new to writing for publication, there is a sobering fact you might want to keep in mind; there are almost as many folks making money from authors as there authors making money from their books. There are many excellent literary professionals who can do great things to help you develop your talent. There are more that will simply take your checks.
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