The stakes are higher

The ebook revolution has made publishing really easy. You format your story file and dump it to Amazon, and bang, instant money!

Right?

People are treating Amazon like fanfiction.net. Except the stakes are higher, because on Amazon, there’s actual money involved. “Read my book! Leave good reviews and lots of stars!”

The same thing people crave on fanfiction.net, incidentally.

The writing is about the same level, too. Cliched plots, wooden characters, unedited prose. Except if you want to read the whole thing, you have to pay a couple of bucks. On ff.net, it’s free, and you get the exact same level of craftsmanship.

Guess what, folks! The stakes are higher on Amazon. If you don’t bother to edit your work, get it critiqued, do rewrites, and study the craft, you won’t see a red cent.

Today on the Kill Zone, they had a quote from the late basketball coach John Wooden, and it exactly pinpointed this mentality.

Individual recognition, praise, can be a dangerous commodity. It’s best not to drink too deeply from a cup full of fame. It can be very intoxicating, and intoxicated people often do foolish things.

I used to be famous on the internets. It’s not that great. I know all about that cup of fame, and the bitterness that lurks at the bottom.

I found a site that tracks free ebooks from Amazon and other places. I’ve downloaded tons and tons of garbage and tried to read it, with the intent of leaving a review. But the writing is so horribly amateurish, I find my brain shutting off after a few pages. Often these people have several books with the first one being free. If the first one is that bad, why should I bother looking at the rest of an author’s work?

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5 thoughts on “The stakes are higher

  1. ooooooooh, I think I made the connection too. I was wondering where his posts went…unless of course I’m mistaken. As I’ve been reading about the evolving industry, I’ve been contemplating this very thing. But I hesitate. My art & craft better be stellar before I go attempting the route of self-publishing. And once it gets to that point, wouldn’t my writing garner the attention of agents/editors? Of course, there are always exceptions as in the case of Michael J Sullivan.

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  2. There is no such thing as instant money. Even lottery winners have to pay taxes and fill out paperwork first. =F

    But yea… The internet has been a mixed blessing in this way. Making certain things easier for more people to access – that has not always done wonders for the quality of the work which gets processed. People want to believe that they are good enough… And people are impatient… And so steps get skipped and stories are rushed… And the end result… *shakes head* There are always exceptions – some good is bound to come from this, one way or another – but it is not always obvious.

    But as for me… I will stick to fanfiction.net, because I find it more fun and because I think I actually write better when I’m not worried about whether or not it will be profitable in the end. And I’m not really proud of how slowly some of my stories come together… there’s one fic that’s been in progress for at least seven years now… I swear I’m gonna finish it before the world ends. Probably. But on the other hand… I am proud that these stories were not rushed. I am happy that I spent the time with drafts and proofreading and research… Really getting to know the characters and see where the story should next be directed to do the most good… The path is not always clear, expecially when there are a lot of characters and plots involved. Writing has taught me patience. with my first fics I was not so skilled. With my more recent ones… I have been very careful, respectful and thoughtful. And so I am proud of that. It’s not a very fast way to compose an adventure but it’s more sincere and ultimately, more enjoyable.

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    1. I find it encouraging when people who had written fanfic for years try to get published and make it big their first time out. Naomi Novik, who wrote the Temeraire books (alternate history, where the Napoleonic wars were fought with a dragon air force) cut her teeth on fanfic first. I believe she wrote Sherlock Holmes fanfic. 😀

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