This is a garbage myth and I’m sick of hearing it.
I visited Scribophile (A writers website) today for the first time in months and skimmed the forums. Everyone kept repeating it as thought it were truth, and it ain’t.
Look. If you want to write stuff no one will ever read, be my guest. Have fun with that. Enjoy the ‘art’. But don’t go spreading the lie of unsuccessfulness to people with hopes and dreams of being a full time writer. Because who are you to tell them they can’t succeed? And how do you know that they can’t?
Is there a limit to entertainment?
Can there only be X number of successful actors? Writers? Bears riding tricycles?
Are there only X number of successful books allowed to be published? Is there a limit? Is it ten thousand? What about readers? Is there a limit to your readers? Are they all taken by other authors?
(And if you said yes, you’re a self-defeating fool.)
Math time – Rowling’s sold over 500 million books. There are over 7.3 BILLION people on the planet, so only 6.6% of them have read one of hers and she lives in a castle made of gold bricks.
And those readers – Are they never going to buy anyone else’s book? Did they just read hers and say, “No thanks. I’ll never do that again!” Or are they waiting on something else that piques their interest? They can be YOUR readers also.
More math – There are 250 people born every minute. Which means every minute, regardless of the age group that you write for, there are 250 people aging into it. 250 new potential readers. 250 potential buyers who will give you money in return for being entertained for a few hours.
“But they speak foreign languages!” So? Harry Potter has been changed into dozens of languages. “But they are scattered over the world!” So? Harry Potter has been read around the globe.
“But…but….but…” But nothing. 1 in 15 people have read her books.
So what’s your excuse?
“It’s not lucrative enough!” “You can’t make money!” “You’ll starve!” “She basically hit the writing lottery!”
There are enough successful people making a living at writing that you’re just being a whiner.
People who say things like that should be honest.
THEY can’t make money writing because THEY are holding themselves back. THEY are choosing to not work harder, not study the craft, not learn grammar, not practice writing descriptions and dialogue or whatever their weak areas may be. (Or, judging by most people who use Scribophile, THEY waste vast amounts of time dinkin’ around internet forums discussing writing instead of actually writing.)
Personally, I’m not shattering folks dreams.
You want to be a writer? Go be one. Send me a copy if it’s good.
But to be a writer, you’ve got to WRITE. Not bitch about it. Not whine about the ‘art’ of it and how people ‘just don’t get it’. And your constant complaints about how difficult it is to break in to publishing won’t make you more successful.
You’ve got to beat that keyboard like it owes you money.
You’ve got to put the effort in. The more you put in, the more you will get out. I like the gym. I go a lot. I can bench 315 pounds. I didn’t get there by going to the gym occasionally. I didn’t get there by not learning about weight lifting. I didn’t get there by not suffering through the tedious reps over and over and over and over. I wanted muscles so I had to lift constantly to get them.
As for you, you’ve got to WRITE. You’ve got to hound publishers. You’ve got to hone your craft. You’ve got to eek out bits of time in your busy day to do it. Doing it ‘when you feel like it’ ain’t gonna cut the cake. You’ve got to force it into existence, you’ve got to find the time, you’ve got to sacrifice sleep or going out or watching cats chase laser pointers on YouTube for hours.
Some people write crap and make it big right off the bat. Others write beautifully and never do. Why? I dunno. Too many reasons. Sometimes it’s their fault, sometimes it’s not.
But you can choose to either resign yourself to being one of the failures, or you can work harder at it and make some money. People who repeat stupid mantra’s like ‘you’re gonna fail because everyone fails’ are worthless and you should avoid them before you catch their sad little ‘woe is us’ cooties.
People need to stop telling others they can’t do it just because they think that THEY CAN’T.
It can be done. It may take you longer than others, or you might shoot to success on your first try. (That’s what I’m aiming for…) But regardless, it can be done if you keep trying. And telling people that they’re doomed to fail is one of the surest ways of impeding their success.
Stop being a pessimistic blight on the writing world.
Tell someone they can make it for a change.
As for me? I’ve an excel spreadsheet with the agents I’ve contacted, the publishers, dates, comments, responses, etc. I’m keeping tabs on everything.
I’ve studied the daylights out of publishing. I’ve read about the financing, the royalties, the advances, the chances, the difficulties, the expected rejections, etc.
I KNOW that I’m going to be rejected constantly, every great book has. It ain’t nothing new. I’ve already been passed on by two agents but also passed the first hurdle for two publishers. Personally, I was thrilled to be passed by agents, because it meant I was finally reaching into the ‘lead time’ of people getting to my unsolicited work. And I track that as well. If I email a query to an agent, I write down their stated ‘lead time’ to hear back from them. So it’s just now reaching the four-six week mark since I started seeking publishing. Now I’m going to start getting responses. (Still looking for you BAEN… even though you’ve a 9-12 month lead time! Eeek!)
How are things looking? I dunno. Okay, I reckon. I’m plugging along and making it a point to spend a couple days a week sending in submissions and queries and researching new potential agents/publishers.
I’ve firm faith that I’ll be published. Because my writing doesn’t suck, and I’m going to be relentless about it because I want it that bad.
Take note of that last line.
Instead of telling each other ‘You can’t make it! No one can!’, it should be, “Want it bad enough and you will!”
Remember 250 potential readers are born every minute.
Praise Jesus and write-write-write.