Sunday, October 17, 2010
Follow Your Muse
I have been a writer for nearly half a century, and have more than a dozen books published - either in print or as e-books. During the course of all this work I attended a number of writers conference where the theme was to follow one's own bliss.
Following one's muse can be hard on the people who love you, but I discovered that there were times when I was in the throes of writing the newest book it is sometimes pretty difficult to get away. If you aren't following your characters into the darkest wilds of Upstate New York - or the Nazca Plain - you may only be out to lunch, and you may also be giving your story short shrift.
It is no mean thing to offer up your day-to-day life to write a 150,000 word opus that no one may ever read.
Muses, it seems, have become a dime a dozen with would-be writers following in their wake and ten cent publishers offering truly limited fame without fortune to those who buy their product. These publishers have a mantra: No copywrite necessary.
With all those writers out there, who is going to stoop to steal a story line? Anything, apparently, goes for these word mongers who will publish anything a writer can finance - an awful work has about the same chance of making the big time as a really well-crafted piece of work.
Not that some of these publishers do not have a good product. some of them produce really lovely copies of your book - but they cut the profit margin so closely that the only way a writer can earn even pennies on his or her work is to find ways to sell their work themselves - work it out: You get a 40% discount on copies, and pay postage to get the books to your doorstep - this leaves about 28% to offer your vendor. Trouble is, that vendor wants 40$, so you end up paying 12% for them to handle your masterpiece. Looks like a negative return to me!
That's a real bite! The bottom line is that everyone who handles your work makes more money on it than you do.
To me, it gives a muse a bad name and sometimes I wish I could get rid of the bitch, but after 50 years of being a writer it isn't all that easy. I guess I have to hang on and hope someone notices that there are some really good writers out here. I know some of them who truly deserve recognition.
Let's hope their muses infect the publishers and lead them out into the sunny side! Love, Terry