By Denise Turney
Globally, more than two million books were published in 2005 alone. That’s a single year. Of that number, 328,259 of those books where published in the United States. It’s nothing new that writing and publishing books is one way you could become a multi-millionaire. What has changed over the years, especially with the Internet’s rising popularity, is the number of people who are penning novels.
Book Publishing’s Attraction
The sheer number of authors alone has taken a bit of luster off what it means to be an author. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear a friend, colleague or relative proudly exclaim, “I can write a better book than . . .” (Fill in the blank with a New York Times bestseller author’s name.
But, can anyone, regardless of their writing experience or storytelling skills, sit down and write a bestseller at the drop of a hat? Or better yet, should anyone write a novel just so they can become rich?
The quality of novels hitting the market may reveal that writing books for money is becoming increasingly attractive. For example, years ago it was hard, very hard, to buy a novel that had numerous misspelled words and grammatical mistakes in it. It was also very hard to come across a novel that switched point of view so many times that readers got confused about who was saying or experiencing what.
Read enough of these books and you could start to think that authors don’t respect readers. You could also start to think that authors are arrogant, of the belief that stories they create are so automatically awesome that only a dumb person wouldn’t see the greatness in the writing.
Signs a Book Was Written Mainly for Money
Besides being filled with grammatical and spelling errors, books that are written mainly for money may also be developed using a formula or pattern, are built upon cliff hanging scenes that the greatest sci-fi fan would have a very hard time believing, rely on shock to hold reader interest, have so many rancid sex scenes a gigolo would blush (which swings back to the shock factor), shy away from facts (some writers really do hate to conduct research) and more.
Yet, authors who aim for riches rather than to develop quality entertainment, stories that stir the human spirit and provoke deep thought, haven’t created this issue in a vacuum. They haven’t turned down the respect authors once enjoyed all by themselves. The push from book publishers, literary agents and editors to sell-sell-sell is no less responsible.
To reduce the risk of taking on an author who has the talent but not the marketing mindset or skill to sell thousands of books a month, publishers are starting to watch the self-publisher ranks. Once a self-published author sells 10,000 or more copies of a single title, it’s not uncommon for publishers to contact that author, asking them if he wants to work out a deal.
This is a near complete about face over how publishers acquired manuscripts decades ago, back when modern novels became classics. Back then, publishers, editors and agents hunted for talent, scouring through stacks of manuscripts in the hopes of finding a rare gem, a quality novel that introduced readers to complex characters, people whose experiences mimicked their own without, at first glance, appearing to.
Waiting for Great Quality Art
It remains to be seen what impact sales over quality will have on the book industry. Perhaps the impact will mirror the impact that less conscious songs have had on the music industry. After all, one thing is certain. Readers, like music lovers, aren’t dumb. They know quality entertainment when they read it.
While listening to an interview given by the music mogul, Clive Davis, I was inspired to hear Clive share that he was waiting for a conscious singer/songwriter, someone like Bob Dylan (and dare I say, Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield, Diane Warren, Carole King and Nina Simone) to appear on the music scene. He’s not alone.
One great artist, an artist whose primary goal is to create quality entertainment, can set an industry on its end. In this regard, creating novels that aim to provide quality entertainment may help generate more profits for the book industry long term than books that are written solely for money.
Yes. There are risks. Books you pour months, perhaps years, of work into — writing and editing and writing and editing — may not gain many a large number of sells, costing you money. Yet, the risks may be worth it, especially if you genuinely love to write, respect reader intelligence and appreciate how great books you’ve read changed your life in remarkable, yet, generally unnoticeable, ways.
Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com, or any other online or offline bookseller and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.