Isn’t ‘effort’ the same thing as ‘work?
After I wrote the above, I realized that I think of them separately (personal choice), with effort being the whole mental atmosphere surrounding what writers do – from paying attention to things other people never notice, including information on publicity, covers, and selling – and work being actually sitting down and turning that attitude into things such as a finished ad or a description that rocks or any number of other ‘deliverables.’
‘WORK‘, of course, includes the writing itself, the finished words on the page of a pdf you are about to upload to Amazon or others.
And know it’s the best version of the story you are able to provide that mysterious elusive creature, the Reader.
After that, Amazon takes over and supplies copies of the WORK to those who pay for it.
For many of us, Amazon is currently publisher and distributor, for a hefty portion of the rewards (30% for ebooks, more for print books). I am currently okay with that. Because that equation is far worse on the traditional publishing side, and many of the benefits to using them (editing, covers, advertising, promotion, reasonable advances, royalties) are on the path of the Dodo bird.
Writing successful fiction requires two additional things:
Finding your potential readers, and
Getting them to try your writing.
If you haven’t truly written a good book that readers would buy if they only knew about you, YOU’RE WASTING YOUR TIME when you promote and advertise and stand on your head to do PR. You may fool some of the people some of the time, but that is rarely a recipe for commercial success.
Indeed, after reading some authors’ latest ‘work’, I know I will never read another from them.
But the whole discoverability part of writing is hard, tricky, and requires the one thing I don’t have: energy and the capacity for endless self-promotion.
If you have written ‘a good book’ for a segment of the population
the satisfied readers should be clamoring for more.
If you have more (backlist), they have a lot to discover and enjoy.
If not, well, keep working. And some readers will never get that pleasure from you again, but it won’t be your fault, if you’ just keep truckin’.’
And hope for some luck, or ‘Here a miracle occurs,’ or going viral, or catching someone’s eye…
Some of us will simply have to hope for an afterlife, and wait to ask Margaret Mitchell what happened to Scarlett. Assuming she still cares – the afterlife runs on different rules, I believe.
And now I’m going off to nap, followed by keeping my nose to my particular grindstone.
I do so want to finish. It’s coming nicely. And every time the idea that life might be easier if I spent it entertaining myself instead of torturing myself with imaginary people, I have managed to fight that attitude off.
What are the things in your life that you will never give up on?