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Offline brandon

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Writers?
« on: June 06, 2010, 05:36:46 pm »
Has anyone here written or thought about writing a book or know someone who has written a book?

Why do people still write books when you can put whatever you want on the internet without the hassle, cost and frustration of finding a publisher?

(A related question is why people still buy books. Feel free to address that.)

Do authors think they'll get earn a lot of money? (I don't think many authors do.) Is it the quaint appeal of having something physical with your name on it?

If you were going to write a book, would it be a novel, science fiction, non-fiction, a how-to book, a book of poetry or photography?
We have it in our power to begin the world over again.  -Thomas Paine

Offline brandon

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2010, 07:30:04 pm »
Why just put it on the internet? So people can steal it, claim credit, pass it on free? 

I don't think most authors make enough income from their writing to live above the poverty line. Of course some do very well.

Millions of people write blogs, post their photography, post how-to manuals or videos, etc., with little expectation of compensation. Some make a little bit of money from advertising, a very few make a lot of money. (I heard that blogger Heather Armstrong, who has a large following, makes $40,000 a month in advertising revenue.)

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If I took the time to write a book, I'd publish it so all legal productions of it are mine. I'd also do it just to say I've had a book published.

I suppose some people might like to be able to say they've had a book published, but millions of people contribute to Wikipedia and have no desire for recognition or compensation of any sort. I guess different people find fulfillment in different frameworks.

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People buy books because a lot of people like to collect them or they have a library in their house. Maybe they like to hold a hard physical copy (although the library works well for that reason). Perhaps they like to read the book and pass it along to another person, like my dad does with me. I have a stack of his books that I plan on reading.

I used to feel that way. I have far too many books I will never open again (and some that I've never opened) which I can't quite let go of even though I really should donate them.

In a way, I resent them the way I resent all my clothes that I don't really need, because they remind me of money wasted.
We have it in our power to begin the world over again.  -Thomas Paine

Nude_not_rude

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2010, 01:35:29 pm »
Have you heard that Apple has been busy signing up almost all the publishers to sell their titles in a similar way that iTunes works for music?? Perfect for the new iPad.

I agree with Jared, I believe for most it's the love of writing.

Offline Luke M

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2010, 07:03:51 pm »
Hope that's not true about Apple. The Kindle and Sony E-book reader are far better to read on than the ipad.

As for the topic, I'm a screenwriter which I've heard is easier to make a living than a writer but so far its not a full time job for me. As for blogging, I have little faith in making money going that route.

Offline Dan

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2010, 08:33:40 pm »
Why do people still write books when you can put whatever you want on the internet without the hassle, cost and frustration of finding a publisher?

It's not mutually exclusive. Cory Doctorow puts his excellent sci-fi novel for free on the web and sell dead trees version too (and it's not to be 'nice' he says he wants to swim in a pool of money).

(A related question is why people still buy books. Feel free to address that.)

For technical book, it's better to start off with a new tech to have a guided tour of the matter than random information on the web. Or you might need precise, detailed expert knowledge that isn't available on the web.

Also, I like encouraging authors I do know because they are members of communities I'm part of.

Do authors think they'll get earn a lot of money? (I don't think many authors do.) Is it the quaint appeal of having something physical with your name on it?

For IT books which I am most familiar with, no, they don't. The appeal (beside enjoying what you do, of course) is that it brands you as an expert on whatever your book is about which helps landing good job about it, consulting, setting conferences, etc.

For fiction, if you are going to turn rich or not is a gamble.
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Eric

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2010, 05:55:58 pm »
Has anyone here written or thought about writing a book or know someone who has written a book?

I wrote a book in high school. A scifi/fantasy novel with dinosaurs. I never published it though, for reasons I'll elaborate in a moment.

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Why do people still write books when you can put whatever you want on the internet without the hassle, cost and frustration of finding a publisher?

(A related question is why people still buy books. Feel free to address that.)

First, publishers offer editing and marketing, two valuable services to authors. The deals they make with authors are sometimes quite awful and they're archaic in other ways, but their reason for existing is clear.

As to why I never published that book I wrote, it's in dire need of editing. I tell myself now and then that I'll take the energy to re-write it to fix language problems and plotholes (I cringe a little to re-read it now), but alas I never seem to have the time or creative energy. If I'd had an editor while writing it, it's likely the finished product would be a lot better.

Now I'm not sure what you're asking exactly - why do people still write books as in physical books? or why do they write long form fiction and non-fiction?

I think the answer to the latter is obvious enough, or ought to be. Contrary to a popular idea that all ideas can be expressed in 140 characters or less, long form text gives authors the freedom to explore complex stories, characters, and topics in an engrossing and engaging way. As to the question of physical books, it's simply that dead trees are a convenient medium for presenting and consuming long form text.

Now, this is changing. It's possible to self publish books - Blurb, Lulu, and others offer print on demand for authors, as well as eBook publishing to Kindle and iBooks. I think now the eBook popularity is picking up we may see authors of fanfiction, erotica, and other long tail genres start to take advantage of these platforms. You still miss out on the editing and marketing, but these things have always been a part of the internet culture and even a few sales is money for their efforts that would have been impossible to get before.

I'll also say this about the internet. Part of the reason I never banged out a second novel is that while I still write the same volume of words (about 5,000-10,000 a day), these days they mostly go on forums, message boards, blogging etc. So what you're saying isn't completely invalid - if words per day is zero sum game, then I do indeed write for the internet instead of books.

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Do authors think they'll get earn a lot of money? (I don't think many authors do.) Is it the quaint appeal of having something physical with your name on it?

I think most do it because they enjoy it. The human drive to create things and tell stories is a powerful one.

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If you were going to write a book, would it be a novel, science fiction, non-fiction, a how-to book, a book of poetry or photography?

I always have ideas for novels rattling around in my head, but I haven't seriously worked on one in years and years - mostly I've been focused on my photography instead. Along those lines I've been thinking of doing a photo book at some point, but at this point it's just an inkling of an idea right now.

Stuart

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2010, 07:04:51 pm »
I currently have three writing projects on the go. The first is volume 2 of a Naked Munros book that I'll be giving away to a few people as Christmas presents. The second is a naturist horror novel, I started it last year, but I went off on the wrong direction and I'm in the process of re-writing it. The third will be started in earnest when I finish the novel, but the opening line of it is:

"The last President of the United States the world would ever know sat shivering in the snow, staring at the detonator sitting on top of the world's last known nuclear weapon and wondered how it had all gone so wrong."

But I would ask my friends in the colonies not to worry though, every country's having a tough time in this book. Naturism & a spiritual closeness to nature will be some of the themes featured in it.

Offline brandon

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2010, 04:37:25 am »
I have a few good ideas for novels or screenplays. But I don't think I'd have the patience or concentration to develop characters and expand the stories to the appropriate length.

People tell me I write very well and I won some English awards in high school, but the thought of writing a novel seems rather daunting. If I did write one, I'd still face the prospect of sending copies to dozens of publishers. If I had a guaranteed payment waiting for me on delivery, I might be more inclined to do it.

I could write a how-to book, especially if it's 80% screen shots.
We have it in our power to begin the world over again.  -Thomas Paine

simonalexander2005

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2010, 09:27:20 am »
I have started writing one or two short novels, but never finished any of them - normally because I run out of ideas and it sort of trails off.

I found a great site for having manuscripts critiqued though - http://critters.org/. Basically, each week a bunch of manuscripts is emailed round, and the idea is that you critique one. In return, whenever you want one critiquing, you can put your up to be emailed round in three or four weeks time. It is well used and works well, so much recommended for budding writers.

My scribblings are nowhere near good enough to be made into a published book, so I feel the internet is a good place for them - but I do much prefer having a physical book to an electronic copy, so I hope authors continue to publish on paper :)

(if anyone's interested, by the way, here at google docs is my only manuscript that's gone further than a chapter, but it's more a collection of ideas than a finished story, and could possibly be split down into more than one book. starting paragraph:

"I fly so high, watching it all. The billions of lives, the people going about their existence, oblivious of all that goes on above – and very often of what goes on within. Simply being, not living, not experiencing the wonders the universes have to offer.

What can I say to Sano to stop him destroying everything?")
« Last Edit: June 18, 2010, 09:29:49 am by simonalexander05 »

Dave

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2010, 12:20:08 pm »
I'm working on a book entitled "How to Start a Civilization From Scratch".  It is essentially a thought experiment detailing how one, with full knowledge of current civilization, would start with stone tools and end up with computers, eventually.  Unfortunately, it is much, much, much more work than I had thought it would be, and it will not be ready for years, if ever.   :4245

Offline Pitti

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2010, 11:44:11 am »
I write short stories and working on my first novel.
"If war is the answer, then we ask the wrong questions."
(Wenn Krieg die Antwort ist, dann stellen wir die falschen Fragen)

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Offline Dan

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2010, 02:25:05 am »
I'd still face the prospect of sending copies to dozens of publishers. If I had a guaranteed payment waiting for me on delivery, I might be more inclined to do it.

What about self-publishing it? It's very easy today.
"Politics is an ocean of toes" - Jacques Parizeau (1930-2015, RIP)

Offline brandon

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2010, 04:08:15 am »
Self publishing could be an option. But I'd have a much greater incentive to finish with a guaranteed payment awaiting me immediately upon completion rather than an expectation of a very slow trickle of income.


John Grisham was interviewed on a local Public Broadcasting System show, InnerVIEWS with Ernie Manouse. Grisham says when he started writing his first book, A Time to Kill, his goal was just to finish, because he was never very good at finishing things. (btw, according to Wikipedia, it was rejected by many publishers before Wynwood Press eventually gave it a modest 5,000-copy printing.) Here's the 1 minute video:



full 27 minute interview:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7475330856017077809#
« Last Edit: June 29, 2010, 04:16:35 am by brandon »
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Offline brandon

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2010, 03:45:17 pm »
I read that 95% of books sell fewer than 5,000 copies. (That may be a U.S. statistic.)

If a book is at the 95th percentile, which is somewhat of an accomplishment, and the author receives $2 per book, and the book sells 5,000 copies, that's a whopping sum of $10,000. I guess that's not bad if you wrote the book in a weekend, but many authors probably spend a year researching and writing a book, and possibly another year trying to find a publisher.

Anyone have an idea how many distinct books a large bricks and mortar bookstore like Barnes and Noble or Borders has in stock, and how many of those fall within the top 5%?
« Last Edit: July 27, 2010, 04:14:12 pm by brandon »
We have it in our power to begin the world over again.  -Thomas Paine

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Re: Writers?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2010, 04:04:42 pm »
I am definitely thinking about writing a book; :63424 they would definitely be non fiction books about American politics and government. I would publish the book because I don't really like ebooks, as they are too big of a hassle. They aren't exactly able to be borrowed from a public library and I don't have a specialized eBook reader, although I do have an e- Reader on my Palm . I prefer to read most of my books on paper, as I borrow most of them from the library.       
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