Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Highs and Lows of Writing

A thread started on Kindleboards asking writers what their favourite part of the writing process is and it got me thinking.  Some parts are easier than others and I find myself getting through certain things quite quickly while others drag for me.  Unfortunately, they are all parts of the finished product so we have to get through the things we don't particularly enjoy to have a completed project.

For me, I'm happiest on the first draft.  I love that first bubble of inspiration, when all sorts of ideas flow and as the story carries on, even more ideas bounce off each other to create a coherent solid story.  Of course that's how it seems while you're writing it.  It's later when you're editing or rewriting that you see it isn't so solid after all.  The beginning is always the best part for me.  Everything is fresh, the words are coming to me so fast I can barely keep up.  It's fun and new and possibly something good.  But then the editing begins and you realise it will never be perfect and you may never truly know when it is ready.

Aside from editing and not being confident that something is finished - probably part of the reason I enjoy short stories is that I don't feel like they need a "real" ending - is typing The End.  I hate the end.  I hate when it's all over.  I've invested my time in something and that's it, it's gone, all over.  Like when a great television series ends.  Even if the ending is amazing, it still feels like a loss.  I still want more. 

The other thing I really hate is promotion but I keep telling myself that I'll get used to it and one day I may even be as brazen as Konrath who has come up with another fantastic marketing ploy by carrying out a piracy experiment on his blog by encouraging people to download his book of Jack Daniels short stories for free.  It's supposed to see how his sales are affected and as always, the real nitty gritty is in the comments section.  People are going apeshit over the piracy thing.  There are so many other lows of writing that this one is comparatively minor on my radar.

For me, I'm just happy if people are reading my stuff.  Even if they don't like it, the time they spent on it is worth more to me than .35c so right now I'm not in a freaking out position on free books or piracy.  Maybe if I was a successful, well known writer, I might think differently but I'm not so sure.  People pirate things for a reason.  Sometimes it's because they just don't like paying for things.  There's nothing at all I can do about that.  But other reasons, such as the ebook coming out much later than the paperback or being at a ridiculously high price - those are reasons I can fight against.  I'm not going to waste my time worrying about the things I can't change.  While I think of Konrath's experiment as pure promotion and not an accurate test of how piracy affects sales, I wish his efforts well.  His innovation is one of the main reasons he sells imo.

As an aside, the free books on Amazon are still available for international customers although some aren't available in other regions.  Funnily enough, the freebies are the things which will push me right over the fence and onto the kindle owners side.  Also, the Smashwords updates mentions another distribution to Sony soon and that lots won't make it if they don't have an ISBN.  My books on Smashwords have shipped everywhere (except Amazon) by now but only one is available on I think Barnes & Noble.  Others have been much more successful at having their work appear on Sony, Apple, Kobo and Barnes & Noble so I figure there must be a couple of factors going on.  Good luck to anyone sending their books off for the first time.

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