We live an instant world. The concept of waiting seems to be long forgotten, gone the way of good manners and basic politeness.
Thanks to the internet, we no longer have to queue up for movie tickets. We can just come online, select the theater, the movie and time of your choice and presto the seats are yours. You can now even reserve where in the cinema you want to sit. Does anybody stand in line for days on end to grab their concert tickets? No, rather they sit behind their pc and just buy the tickets. In Holland it is even worse, you can see your tickets, and keep hitting refresh to get better seats. You are told you seat number and shown its position before you make the purchase, so by refreshing the page you are constantly given new seats.
The same goes for work. Since the birth of emails, clients around the world suddenly assume that because their message arrives instantly, the solution should be delivered just as quick. No longer do they sit there thinking, well there is the postage delay, then it needs to be sorted by their internal post department. Now it is, well, I sent it, it’s in his inbox, why hasn’t he dealt with it yet.
With writing, this is no different. The swing in the writing industry, the movement away from a world dominated by New York and traditionally published Authors opened the floodgates and once again removed a level of patience from our lives.
Being a self published author myself, I am delighted that this change happened, but, nothing comes without a price. The fact that all you have to do is type a document and upload it only a site means that anybody can now become a published author. In my opinion, this can be broken down into three types of people.
A) The professional: It can be tough to find an agent, and a publisher to represent your work, especially in an economy as fragile as the one we are all currently part of. Costs are being cut, and risks are being taken less and less. Not because the talent isn’t out there, or because the ideas are no longer as entertaining, but simply because profit is everything, and to make a profit, you do not want to be pushing some unknown author onto the public on the hope that readers enjoyed the writer’s work as much as you (the publisher) did. This fact does not deter the professional. They are confident in their writing and are willing to put in the same amount of work as a full-time writer. They understand what it takes and will sacrifice things in order to make sure that their books are written well, edited with care and promoted with passion and they appreciate that things take time. A novel should not be rushed. It is this characteristic above all others that will see them become a success.
B) The Wannabe-Professional: The wannabe-professional is a writer who has all of the same qualities as the Professional, bar one. That key piece of understanding, that even self published writing takes time. It needs to be perfect. Once you publish a piece of writing it is out there, that is it. The wannabe-professional may even understand this, but are blinded by the sparkling jewel that is the published novel. Like a magpie they are easily led by shiny trinkets and before long they are finishing their manuscript, giving it a quick edit. By that I mean they check for the page set-up, check for basic misspellings and call it a day. They save their file, grab a cover and upload it, expecting success to come their way. The Wannabe-professional may even be diligent enough to put together a good and dare I say, professional manuscript, but they then expect it to sell itself. The either underestimate the promotional side of things, or they just don’t want to put the work in.
c) The Speedster The Speedster is the damaging kind of writer, the kind that is a risk to both other writers and the Indie community as an idea. The Speedster is the sort of writer who, living in the modern world expect things to happen instantly (see how I managed to bring this post back around to me original theory). They expect that their writing is great off the bat. They don’t bother with an edit, maybe they will take the time for a quick spell check but that is it. Thy grab a cover and upload their file the same night they finish it. They add it to Smashwords / Amazon etc, and go to bed fully expecting to wake up in the morning and find themselves top of the pile with reviews coming out of their ears. Each one singing their praises and demanding more. Which of course will be very quick in its release.
The Speedster doesn’t promote their work, because their work doesn’t need promotion. Perfection is perfection, and anything else just won’t help it. They get angry that their books isn’t on the New York Times Bestseller list and react badly, even aggressively to any negative comment they receive.
Of course, with life being what it is, there isn’t one single definition that can be used. People change, they grow and sometimes we shrink. Let’s at least be honest here, sometimes we all take a few steps back, we take our eye off the ball, or just ease up for a little while because we need a rest.
What sort of writer are you? Be honest with yourself and then you will really be able to make those changes and take not just your writing but yourself, to a whole new level.