When the self-publishing movement took off, every Tom, Dick or Harry could throw a few words on the page, hit upload and call themselves a published author. This did far more harm than good, and it took a long time for self-published and even small press published writers to get even a modicum of the respect and appreciation they deserve as writers, and artists.
People associated self-publishing with poor writing, because the sudden rush of material delivered a lot of just that. Subs-standard novels and stories, overpriced, and bought because it was the hot thing to do. It was assumed that the books were well written.
In the beginning there were even people who were moderately successful at this. They pumped books out and they were eaten up by readers, not because of their quality, but because they simply filled a need.
For writers that take themselves seriously, who pay for cover art, and who pay for real editors to look through their work with a fine toothed comb, this can be, and was, a bitter pill to swallow. Why are these things selling so well, but my carefully constructed novel falling flat? It is a question lots of writers ask themselves.
The simple answer is, quality always rises to the top, but to truly shine it needs to move through the crap first.
There are lots of bad books out there, but as the industry wises up, as readers become more aware, these success stories are falling away. As the times get a little tougher, as the demand for real quality increases, those who lack the heart and the passion to really master this wonderful craft will fall by the wayside, and we, will be left standing tall.
There will always be fads, there will always be books that sell in surges because they are ‘hot’ for the month. Some authors, and I have tried this, will do their best to capitalize on this and follow the masses. It doesn’t work. Be true to who you are and know that quality beats out all other competing points, every day of the week.
People say that it is a marathon, not a sprint, and this is never truer than when looking at writing as a career. Success does not come overnight. A streak, maybe, but continued success, never. Longevity is borne through quality, through staying true to what you believe and ensure what you deliver to your readers is honest, and written through passion rather than being driven through any other incentive.
Quality lasts forever, while flashes in the bad will fade away. Don’t lose sight of your end goal. Don’t allow yourself to be stolen away by the prospects of a quick reward.