#Openbookbloghop – Money or fame, that is the question

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Do you try to be more original, or to deliver to readers what they want?

I have only been writing for three years, so I cannot claim vast experience in the writing and publishing business. I have, however, been a huge reader all my life.

When I looked at this blog hop question, in my mind it immediately boiled down to a basic money question. Publishing is a business that aims to make money. Making money means you have to provide the products that people want. So, what is it that people want?

I think most readers are looking for mental relaxation and entertainment. Modern people are always short of time and overly rushed and busy. They want instant entertainment gratification. They do not necessarily want to dwell on the ills of the world or read three pages describing a river during a storm [think Charles Dickens] or anguish over the personal problems of a main character [think Jane Eyre or Catherine Earnshaw]. The modern reader wants escapism from reality in a well written, and not overly long, book. These are the books that sell well because they deliver what readers want.

Many of the successful modern authors write to set formulas laid down by the traditional publishers and which are geared at creating stories with mass appeal. These books, in my view, do not have a lot of original content but rather provide a good twist on an existing story line that has already proved its marketing success. These authors achieve short to medium terms fame, but few will become writers whose books are in the classical category alongside the likes of H.G. Wells, Tolkien, George Orwell, Hemmingway and Ray Bradbury, to name just a few.

This leads to my other point, fame. Authors that achieve long-term fame with classic books that endure the passage of time usually make some sort of strong social or political statement. These are the books studied by English literature students and pawed over by academics who access the value of their striking messages. These books have usually been very original at the time of their publication and have enduring messages. These are the books that achieve fame but did not necessarily earn the authors a lot of money during their lifetimes. Striking out on your own in an original way is scary as it could be a complete failure, but it could be successful and bring huge recognition.

I have read Indie books that fall into both of the categories above. For some of them the money or the fame may come in due course as they do it really well. For me, I try to do both, packaging my social and political message within a reasonably attractive and well know story concept that might attract readers.

That is my aim, in any event. I know that I will never entirely escape my need to share history so that people remember the mistakes of the past. I attempt to weave it into stories that show how the bad feeling and social problems that have arisen due to past mistakes are impacting on our now and our future, in a way that is interesting and intriguing to a reader.

Having written out my thoughts above, I have concluded that I try to write original content, but within a framework of what people want as great story ideas don’t do much good if they never reach any readers.

What are your thoughts on this interesting question?

What do other blog-hoppers think?  Click on the link below to find out.

Rules:

  1. Link your blog to this hop.
  2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
  3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
  4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
  5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.
You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

 

46 thoughts on “#Openbookbloghop – Money or fame, that is the question

  1. I want to write good work that I’m happy with. My vampire story and the sky-pirates one are just books I would like to read myself, i.e. genre fiction with lesbian main characters, so I thought I would write them. Fame or fortune from writing can be hard to achieve even if you write primarily for the mainstream, so it’s not something I think about that much. I’d love to see my books published, but I wouldn’t speculate on how they might be received by the marketplace. I’d just hope people will enjoy reading them and have a connection to them.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I think your approach is very sensible, Joanne. I also don’t write with the expectation of huge fame and fortune which is part of the reason I indulge myself with my writing content. I would never write to a formula, that take all the fun out of it. I think your stories would be popular actually. Your content is topical and interesting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was self-published but now I’m traditionally published. The publisher provides an editor, proofreader, and cover. I just write. I write stories I want to read. The publisher wants those stories to sell so he can employ all the people he has to pay in order to service all the writers he has. I have only me to please but ideally, I want thousands if not millions to read what I write, not for money, not even for acclaim, although I do like flattery, just for the satisfaction that I have provided a small spark of enjoyment to someone’s life.
    ‘Do you try to be more original, or to deliver to readers what they want?.
    I don’t think there has to be an–Or–in this. Each time we look at that blank sheet on the computer or in a physical paper form we about to create something no one else has done. We are each an original source about to deliver what someone hopefully will want to read.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. A great comment, Danny, thank you for sharing your thoughts here and for joining in with your own post this week. I also have a publisher and she also edits my books and does a lot of the administrative work [thank goodness because I am terrible at admin]. I do my own covers because I like doing it and I am a control freak over selected things that interest me [giggle]. I also write to please myself, but hope that others will enjoy my work.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve never been good at writing to the market, which is probably my downfall. I’ve written a number of genres that are trending today (i.e, YA and paranormal romance) but at the time I was writing them, no one would touch them. There wasn’t even a name for them.

    Now that they’re exploding all over the place, I’ve moved on. Maybe one of these days I’ll get the alignment just right, but for now, as always, I write the kind of books I would like to read.

    Loved your thoughtful reply to this, Robbie!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I am glad you enjoyed my post, Mae. I also can’t write for a public demand, my own personality and purpose are much to strong. I haven’t read that many of your books yet but I think your Hode’s Hill series is very good and appealing. Just as good, if not better, than many similar genre books out there. I think your time will come.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think this is a tough crowd to write to these days. I agree that authors need to always consider marketing and appeal when writing, or they’ll never sell (except to family). Books like Eleanor Oliphant, however, give me hope that literature still has a fighting chance.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I write to please myself. There really isn’t a market for poets. Old or new. I do write to please some other individuals – especially if they ask me to continue a theme or series. And I’ll go at it until … I stop.

    I have most of my wants and needs. Fame and money aren’t really high on the list. Would I rather shop at regular retail store than charity shops… I don’t know I kind of like that I’m helping the charity and getting a bargain. I remember reading that a famous actress had hand sewn two different size area rugs together for one of her main rooms – and that her residual checks from some of her movies were sometimes even less that the postage it took to mail them.

    Maybe if I had endless funds I too would employ various editors and publishing houses. But for now I’m happy and comfortable blogging.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is nothing wrong with your approach, Jules, and I agree that poetry is a very niche market. I love to write and it is a huge challenge for me. I use a developmental editor because I want to learn to be better. I studied for 5 years to become a chartered accountant and did 3 years of articles. I consider that, as I never studied creative writing, I need to make some financial investment to improve. I see it as an educational cost to my learning process.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Joan. I am delighted you enjoy my historical angles. History or world events are the things I like to weave into my stories. There is a strong political thread in Through the Nethergate. I am really interested to see how readers react to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t really write to a template (or if I do, it’s subconsciously). I also don’t care if I don’t make money on my books… I write just to clear my head of the jumble of stories and characters in them. As for fame, I REALLY don’t want it. Mine and hubby’s day jobs are as the managers of a retirement village, which is akin to being the mayor and mayoress of a small town. Literally every time we walk around the village we have eyes on us. People vie for our attention, come in to the office every day just to say hi, and fight to sit on our table at social functions. We feel like the Royals, or celebs. If this is a taste of fame, I do not want it. It’s EXHAUSTING. I spend most of my time wishing for Harry’s cloak of invisibility so I can sneak from our house (in the village) to the front gates without being seen. This is part of the reason I’m still considering publishing under a pseudonym!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think that is rather nice, Jessica, although I do understand your need for privacy. It is lovely that the retired people like you and appreciate what you do. I would love to write a book that stood the test of time and contained an on-going strong message. That is my ultimate goal.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I write the first draft to please myself and then I consider the audience on rewrite. I want people to read my stories, so I try not to make them overlong and I pare down the long-winded passages that I might love, but might make other people yawn, close the book, and go to bed.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I do both without trying. I like a message weaved in lightly and being entertained is very important. You make a great point, Robbie.

    Liked by 2 people

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