Saturday, August 20, 2005

BURNOUT ~ NOT just for the Big Dogs!

BURNOUT happens to the
Less-than-Successful too.
A mid-list ebook author can snap just as easily as a top-selling print book author. I'm watching it happen to a stack of ebook authors attempting to juggle a full-time job, a full-time family, and the pressures of having a public image – all while trying to write another book.

Burnout can happen to ANYONE suffering from a severe drain on their Imagination.
It happens all the time to “Idea People” like programmers and webmasters -- severe burnout, triggered by severe boredom. If they become successful enough to quit their day job, the problem is often worsened by having too much time on their hands.

Authors go quietly insane, and then to the hospital with ailments the doctors have difficulty diagnosing.

(The doctors can't seem to make up their mind if it's exhaustion or stress. It's neither. It's a psychosomatic reaction caused by "I don't want to do that anymore!" It's BOREDOM.)

The Pressure to Produce
Most of us ebook authors write for Love, not Money. Good thing too, ebook authors normally don't make all that much money. However ~ ebook authors get a LOT of encouragement. Sometimes more than our print-published siblings - and overnight. (Like, the day after a book is released.)

We’re all email-connected to our publishers, our editors, our reviewers, each other, and our adoring fans. They beg for more, and we strive to deliver -- even though it kills us.

When an author suddenly gets a stack of fan-letters on ONE particular book, and a jump in their royalty checks, an author can become convinced that: "THIS is my BIG HIT! THIS is what I should be Writing!"

Enthusiastically, they start writing more of that same story, or the same kind of story, to repeat that success…

Tick… Tick… Tick…

Ebooks come out MUCH faster than NY print books.
A fast-typing e-author can write, and release, well over a dozen 60k books in one year. (60k is the length of a typical Category novel.) Compared to print authors, ebook authors can -- and do -- produce almost double what most print authors publish – in HALF the time. But at that speed, authors can run low on ideas, and imagination.

When a story is needed in a hurry, many authors resort to rewriting an idea they already used, (especially if it’s a fan favorite.)
And then again.
And again…
Until boredom sets in.
Then writer's block.
And eventually -- BURNOUT.

This happens to semi-popular ebook authors, as well as wildly popular print authors.

(If you look among all the book promos, you can SEE -- right in the book blurb -- who is writing the same story over, and over, and over... Can you say: “Candidate for BURNOUT?”)

OVER-Commitment
Once an e-author gains even a small amount of recognition, they start getting contacted by other e-publishers that want their work too. The flattered, or greedy, author will make promises to write for a few too many of them, and then start freaking out when they can't meet their deadlines. They just -- CAN'T!

Over-commitment is a sure way to start building the coffin for your writing career - BEFORE it ever gets to NY.

(I write for two publishers. That's it – because that’s all I can handle. And I DON’T have a day job. I write full time.)

This form of burnout is not only preventable -- it's curable. IF you can get the author to take the cure.

Prevention: Keep the imagination pumped with lots of movies, and play-time, (video games, comic books, BDSM...,) and commit work to no more than two publishers - in two different genres - so you can switch back and forth.

(Erotic High-Fantasy and Contemporary, Erotic Suspense count as two different genres.)


Cure: When severe burnout starts to happen, cut down the number of books to ONE book a year, and CHANGE GENRES. Yes, it's a pay-cut, (which is why no one wants to take the cure,) but it's a choice between KEEPING your writing talent and career intact - or destroying your enjoyment in the one thing you truly love to do.

More money, more money, more money...
I have witnessed a number of mid-list ebook authors with good strong imaginations, pumping out book, after book, at top speed -- but making little money. Goaded by dissatisfaction, these authors write MORE, and FASTER.

Frustration with nit-picking editors, tepid review ratings, plus moderate sales numbers, eventually combines into an ugly mess of: “Oh God, I Suck!” And then, “Why do I Bother?” And then… BURNOUT.

DON’T PANIC! ~ It’s FIXABLE!

More often than not, lukewarm sales, (in spite of a large book list,) is most often due to a ‘lack of polish’ in the writing itself.
  • Less than finished characters (TSTL / Mary Sue)
  • Wandering plots
  • Vague scenery
  • Stilted dialogue
  • Characters that don’t belong
  • Weak action
  • Weaker description
  • Characters that took over the story
  • Dangling plotlines
  • Poor grammar skills
  • Head-hopping
These flaws are a sure sign that the author was rushed into getting published before they had developed the writing skills to MATCH their talented imaginations. When an almost-but-not-quite wonderful author is published (by a less-than-quality publisher looking to fill a slot,) that author can become SPOILED.

Fixing a spoiled author is just a matter of getting them to slow down, and take the time to work on their Craft. A good hard editor can work wonders on them – if those authors will LISTEN.

Once they make it to a better publisher, quite often, a Spoiled Author will REFUSE see what’s wrong, and FIGHT the professional editors trying to help them. “But my other publisher said it was just fine!”

AUTHORS: Repeat after me:
Publication Does NOT mean PERFECT!
The Editor is NOT my Enemy!
(Continue to repeat as needed.)


EDITORS: Repeat after me:
Spare the Rod ~ Spoil the Author.

Mercenary Desperation
My earliest writing mentor was a ghostwriter / book doctor who worked in the romance industry for over 10 years. She told me some horrific Burnout stories among the top names in romance.

Here’s the scary part: books are still coming out wearing the names of those burned authors.

How are they doing it? They're NOT. Most of the names in the top 250 are NOT writing their own books any more. They're handing outlines to ghost-writers and having those books written for them. Nice huh?

NOT for the ghost-writer. Ghost-writers burn out faster than normal authors. They have to write in that author’s style, following a strict character outline, and an even stricter plot formula -- and they can't tell ANYBODY. They're trapped under painfully constricting confidentiality agreements.

Tick… Tick… Tick…

Then why do they do it?

For the CASH – and the cash is Very Nice. A ghost writer makes more money than a regular author, because they are writing under an Already Popular Name. Their sales are guaranteed.

My mentor had bills to pay. She took the money, and became a ghost-writer, (at her agent’s urging.) She got the worst case of burnout you could possibly imagine. Her ENTIRE writing career lasted just short of 10 years.

Now you know why top-name authors change styles every now and again. They're changing ghost-writers, after they burn them out – one series at a time.

The No-Fame Drain
“Why Bother?”
Many, many, authors go into writing for Recognition. They want to be known for their work, they want to get noticed in the news, on radio, and maybe even by Opra. There's a perfectly good precedent. Soap actors get recognition. Pro sportspeople get recognition. Rock stars, Pop stars, Radio personalities, all get recognition.

Unfortunately this is not the case for writers – unless they’re in the top 100 best-sellers, or a child prodigy. Sometimes, not even then. (How many of your favorite authors do you know on SIGHT? I know TWO.) Heck, even screenwriters for multi-million dollar movies barely get any recognition.

The GODFATHER
Who directed it?
Who wrote the screenplay?

(No cheating with Google.)

For those of us lower on the food-chain, we write our little hearts out, we publish our books, and… Nothing. No one wants to talk to us. No one on radio, no one on TV, heck, we have to ASK the bookstores if we can promote our books there! Our closest friends nod, smile, and change the subject.

(My mother says: “Another one? Oh, how nice! When are you going to write something I can show to my friends?” Mom doesn’t want anyone to know she reads SMUT. )

Add to all of this, some less-than-spectacular royalty checks.

Many authors discover, the hard way, that they CAN’T afford to quit their day job, and although they have a bunch of books out, no one knows who they are. They’re not special.

No fame, and small checks, make Jack a frustrated writer. This triggers the most Common form of burnout among authors:“Why bother doing all this work, if no one CARES?”

So a perfectly good writer, with perfectly good stories – quits.

-----Original Message-----
“…What they wanted was recognition. They wanted to be known, and for their work to get reviewed and noticed.

I've had about 250 books published now, mostly paperback. Many are reading scheme, which are fairly school-based, but I have had at LEAST 50 trade titles available in bookshops. People living in the town I've been in all my life, still occasionally ask me if I'm "doing any writing now?" Even school teachers, who would, you'd think, have seen my school library titles, say it. This year I have had 6 trade titles out in paper - three short kids books, a longer teen romance, a fantasy for middle school readers and a historical melodrama for adults. This year NO ONE I've spoken to face-to-face has commented on any one of them. A couple of other writers have mentioned them via e-mail or letter.

I'm used to this, but I'm sure it's what got my ex-colleagues down. They wanted to be known as writers. Instead, their lives went on just as if they'd never written a book, as far as their friends and relatives were concerned.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~
A best-selling author on why many of her fellow authors – quit.

What the cure for this form of Burnout?There isn’t one.

In Conclusion...

Those who pursue writing for Recognition as an AUTHOR and an ARTISTE -- are doomed.
To gain Fame as an author you have to be dead. (Edgar Allen Poe, Hemmingway, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain...)

To make a Fortune as a writer, you have to be 'Famous' for 'Something Else' already, like a rock star, or an actor. (Or be a ghost-writer to a famous person. Of course, your name will not be on the cover.)

For those who write for the joy of telling a story -- burnout is easily curable.
You are not chasing a dream, (Fame & Fortune,) your dream is chasing You! "Write me! Write Me!" It's just a matter of slowing down and listening to what your dream is telling you.

"But what if my Story isn't Publishable?"
Oops! Sorry, can't help you there. Writing is an Art -- Publication is a Business. Like any business, Publishers are run by their MARKETING department, who gives them regulations and guidelines designed to contract what is already being purchased.

Write it anyway, to the best of your ability, and keep it in your drawer. The markets change all the time -- and sometimes overnight. YOUR story could suddenly become the hottest selling thing out there!

Why do I write?
Because I’m INSANE! Obviously.
I'm not into it for the fame. (You can tell. I don't schmooze near enough.) I write because I HAVE to. I have a lot of stories eating me from the inside out, so I write them down to get some peace.

That people want to Publish them, and Buy them, to the point that I happen to be able to pay my bills on them, has come as something of a surprise. I NEVER expected it.


Oh, and occasionally, I DO get recognition, but in the weirdest places – like, the grocery store, and Media Play. “Are you the Morgan Hawke that writes…those stories?”

Why yes. Yes I am.


Morgan Hawke
www.darkerotica.net
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The GODFATHER
Who directed it? Francis Ford Coppola
Who wrote the screenplay? Mario Puzo
(And it was a bestselling paperback too.)

17 comments:

  1. Hey, what about the case of burnout that happens when a writer tries to adjust her work to meet the guidelines--time after time, until she is sick of both the guidelines and her own writing? When a writer won't even get published with the Smallest publisher until she agrees to mutilate her stories into what *they* think will sell?
    What about an author who sees her sales fail even though her books are not rushed, and everyone says they are good and marketable -- except they just don't sell?
    What about an author who works hard until her very bones hurt, and yet has no success to speak of, while the top author of her publisher writes her own books as easily as if it's a child's play, and earns loads of money doing it? What about professional jealousy? It poisoned many, many not-so-fruitful careers.
    What about terrible covers, copy editors from hell, agents losing your manuscripts for years?
    There is no cure for the business-related frustration. Except perhaps saying, to the hell with it, and writing for your own pleasure. It's a wonder there are still authors who Don't have burnout. Or a severe need for anger management. Or neurosis. The problem is not that it is a difficult business -- but such an unrewarding kind.

    By the way, it is more natural for screenwriters to get less recognition -- film is a director's medium. A screenwriter is just one of the team. The director's vision brings it all together. Often, a screenwriter will sell a script, and that's all--he won't spend any time on the set, etc. The director does a lot and supervises the rest.
    But fiction writers Must have recognition--they are sole authors of the work.

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  2. A ton of great information there Morgan. I feel for Daria, we all have horror stories and go through crying jags over editors/publishers/proofers...etc. who gush one minute, then slam you the next. Add sales, or lack of, to that mix and it's no wonder we go silently mad.

    But, I think Morgan's last few paragraphs said a lot. I write because I have to. If I don't, I have characters driving me crazy with stories that need telling. I tell them to get some peace. That's crazy too, but I don't talk to a lot of shrinks, and I'm careful what I say to those I've dealt with. *G*

    Thanks for sharing this lady!

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  3. “Hey, what about the case of burnout that happens when a writer tries to adjusts her work to meet the guidelines--time after time, until she is sick of both the guidelines and her own writing?”

    - Clearly, that author shouldn’t be writing for THAT publisher. They should find one that publishes what they DO write.

    “(What about) when a writer won't even get published with the Smallest publisher until she agrees to mutilate her stories into what *they* think will sell?”

    - Cold Hard Fact of Publication: The author either has what that publisher’s market is buying, or they adjust to the market’s tastes. If they CAN’T adjust, then they shouldn’t send their stories to a Publisher that isn’t selling what they prefer to write. The author should wait until she finds a publisher that does.

    (I can already hear it coming…) “But THAT market doesn’t sell as well! The other one does!”

    Cold Hard Fact of Marketing: One market is always bigger than the others. Either you adjust and deliver what those buyers are looking for – or you learn to live with the fact that your work serves a smaller audience.

    “What about an author who sees her sales failing, even though her books are not rushed, and everyone says they are good and marketable -- except they just don't sell?”

    - Then that author doesn’t have what THAT market is buying. They’re with the WRONG publisher. Every publisher has a fairly tight market of buyers. Clearly, that author is Not being exposed to the market that WILL buy their work.

    “What about an author who works hard until her very bones hurt, and yet has no success to speak of, while the top author of her publisher writes her own books as easily as if it's a child's play, and earns loads of money doing it?”

    - That just means that the other author has found her niche, and is happily popping out what her market is buying. The “author who works hard until her very bones hurt” needs to find HER niche, so she can do the same.

    “What about professional jealousy? It’s poisoned many, many not-so-fruitful careers?”

    - The Envious Author should try dissecting the Other Author’s work (privately, where no one will see,) and try to isolate what made that author’s work sell. Once they figure out what made them sell, the Envious Author should try applying it to her own work.

    However, it doesn’t always work. Case in point, Mary Janice Davidson’s selling point is her near slap-stick humor and her razor sharp wit. Unfortunately, slap-stick humor is NOT something I can do naturally, but I Can, and Do, add snarky comments to spice up my dialogue.

    On the other hand, I’ve been successfully applying Elizabeth Howell’s style for exposition. She AMAZING at making an info-dump FIT into the story, without clogging up the action – in fact she makes her info-dumps PART of the action! (Alas, her books also have the absolute WORST case of head-hopping I have ever seen in my life – every other freaking Paragraph!)

    “What about terrible covers, copy editors from hell, agents losing their manuscripts for years?”

    - There’s no fix for that. It’s not under the author’s control.

    “There is no cure for the business-related frustration? Except perhaps saying, to the hell with it, and writing for their own pleasure?”

    - Ugly, but true.

    “It's a wonder there are still authors who Don't have burnout.”

    - The joy of writing a story stems the course of Burnout for a goodly number of professional authors.

    “Or a severe need for anger management.”

    - Oh the need is definitely there, but they’re not working in a corporate environment that has such a program available. The only people they can take their temper out on, is themselves, their families, and in hate-mail, or on their blogs.

    “Or neurosis.”

    - Oh it’s there. Bi-Polar authors are EVERYWHERE.

    “The problem is not that it is a difficult business -- but such an unrewarding kind.”

    - Stop looking for Rewards, and you’ll stop being disappointed.

    “By the way, it is more natural for screenwriters to get less recognition -- film is a director's medium. A screenwriter is just one of the team. The director's vision brings it all together. Often, a screenwriter will sell a script, and that's all--he won't spend any time on the set, etc. The director does a lot and supervises the rest.”

    - That was my point. The screen-writer MAKES the Universe and all the people that inhabit it, but they don’t get the Fame. No matter what the director does to make the story pretty – the original dream belonged to the Writer. But the Director gets all the credit.

    “But fiction writers Must have recognition--they are sole authors of the work.”

    - Really? What about the editors, and the proof-readers, that make a story Publishable? They contribute too – and get less credit than anyone else.

    It’s the pursuit of Recognition & Rewards that burns out most writers. Once they stop looking for Rewards, they’ll stop being disappointed – and get on with telling the stories they were born to tell.

    Morgan

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  4. Not every kind of fiction has an audience big enough to have a publisher. Some kind of fiction are virtually unpublishable--or the markets for them are so tiny, the competition is worse than at the bigger markets. That's what I don't buy in your answers--the certainty that every author can find a (good) niche without having to change her writing (much). And having to change her writing leads to the dreaded burnout. It is a damned circle. You are damned if you sell, and damned if you don't.
    And I think you underestimate the luck factor. You can write just as sharp and funny as MaryJanice, yet ... no luck. Not the right place, not the right time.


    "Stop looking for Rewards, and you’ll stop being disappointed."

    But why should we stop looking for Rewards? Stomping on our own self-esteem, telling themselves that we don't Deserve them? Telling yourself that you are not good enough to deserve a reward seems to be an even closer way to neurosis and Co :)

    " That was my point. The screen-writer MAKES the Universe and all the people that inhabit it, but they don’t get the Fame. No matter what the director does to make the story pretty – the original dream belonged to the Writer. But the Director gets all the credit."

    Well, I pointed towards a different direction... a script is a blueprint for a movie. The writer only makes the story. Imagine someone wrote the blocks for you, and then you wrote the book based on those blocks. The original blocker deserves something, but wouldn't you insist you are the one who made the story whole and alive? The director doesn't just make the story pretty--the director puts it through his own vision, controlling the process of creating the movie, applying his own style to every detail, changing what doesn't fit. A screenplay is a glorified synopsis with dialogue.


    "It’s the pursuit of Recognition & Rewards that burns out most writers. Once they stop looking for Rewards, they’ll stop being disappointed – and get on with telling the stories they were born to tell."

    And again I'm telling you. For some authors, once they stop looking for rewards (i.e. striving to sell), no one will ever read their stories, simply because they won't be published, or won't reach any kind of a wide audience, the quality of the product being irrelevant. In the perfect world, they might become reconciled with the idea of never getting published, never having readers, satisfied to just put their words on paper. But we don't live in a perfect world.


    "Really? What about the editors, and the proof-readers, that make a story Publishable? They contribute too – and get less credit than anyone else."


    This statement is based on the idea that every book is Unpublishable before it gets into an editor's hands. This is not true. Some books demand heavy editing in order to get improved, some, very little. But an editor does not have her own vision, or, at least, when the author is lucky, the editor doesn't try to imprint it upon the book. The vision--in my definition, which includes both the story and the delivery--belongs to the author. 99% of the work belongs to the author. Contunuing the analogy, we'd have to ask why nobody knows the names of the sound director (when it comes to movies)? The stage designer? They contribute a lot, too. Should the make-up artists have credits going right after the director and the star?

    Yes, they do contribute. But not That much. Not crucially. You can change the editor mid-manuscript, and the book will not change much, in most cases. But change the author -- and you'll have a totally different new story.

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  5. Jude, thanks for compassion, but I physically couldn't have experienced all the described issues. I have seen and heard enough, those, to become utterly disillusioned.

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  6. - Oh the need is definitely there, but they’re not working in a corporate environment that has such a program available. The only people they can take their temper out on, is themselves, their families, and in hate-mail, or on their blogs.


    Or their stories :) In my thrillers, quite a few characters died in most gruesome ways... take The Most Annoying Person Of The Day, give them a different name, and let your serial killer attack them with a chainsaw... sex scenes? Who needs sex scenes? ;)

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  7. By the way, judging from the recent observations, the worst case of burnout happens not when the author cannot adjust to the market -- but when they adjust and yet do something wrong. Their creative sacrifice doesn't make the situation any better, because they have calculated incorrectly -- or got unlucky -- or their adjustments sounded too false to the readers' ears. Hello, burnout.

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  8. In response to Daria…

    “Not every kind of fiction has an audience big enough to have a publisher. Some kinds of fiction are virtually un-publishable--or the markets for them are so tiny, the competition is worse than at the bigger markets…”

    - Sorry but you’re right; some stories ARE un-publishable. BTW - I DON’T believe there’s a market for Everyone, but I do believe that an author should make a good hard search before giving up completely. And if market is tiny? So What??? It’s still a market.

    If an author is looking specifically for outstanding Profits in the publishing arena, they’re in the WRONG business.

    Fact of the Publishing Industry:
    - The Only book markets making real money:
    MYSTERY
    EROTIC ROMANCE
    YOUNG ADULT
    (In that order.)

    “I think you underestimate the (bad) luck factor. You can write just as sharp and funny as MaryJanice, yet ... no luck. Not the right place, not the right time.”

    - It’s ALWAYS more than just Bad Luck. Unfortunately, getting a straight answer from a publishing editor on why the book didn’t work, takes an act of God. They normally don’t have the time, or inclination, to give out a detailed answer. Editors wade through a LOT of submissions, and far too many authors attack them when they DO give a straight answer. “What do you mean, my heroine was unsympathetic!”

    "Stop looking for Rewards, and you’ll stop being disappointed."

    “But why should we stop looking for Rewards? Stomping on our own self-esteem, telling themselves that we don't Deserve them? Telling yourself that you are not good enough to deserve a reward seems to be an even closer way to neurosis and Co :)”

    - Ahem… It sounds as if your self-esteem is Relying on gaining rewards. (Isn’t that a neurosis all by itself?) If writing a story isn’t reward enough, you are DEFINITELY in the wrong business. Just for the record I have several VERY un-publishable stories that will never see the light of day. (The content is illegal as hell.) Do I feel frustrated by this? Hell no --- the stories were wonderfully fulfilling as I wrote them.

    "It’s the pursuit of Recognition & Rewards that burns out most writers. Once they stop looking for Rewards, they’ll stop being disappointed – and get on with telling the stories they were born to tell."

    “For some authors, once they stop looking for rewards (i.e. striving to sell), no one will ever read their stories, simply because they won't be published, or won't reach any kind of a wide audience, the quality of the product being irrelevant. In the perfect world, they might become reconciled with the idea of never getting published, never having readers, satisfied to just put their words on paper. But we don't live in a perfect world.

    - I’m perfectly satisfied with the fact that some of my stories will never be published. But then, as long as I’m WRITING – I’m perfectly happy. It doesn’t seem to matter what I write, as long as I’m writing. I discovered this when I became a copywriter for a corporation. I enjoyed word-smithing company press releases, corporate memos, business letters, advertising copy, BOD bios, speeches, and writing industry articles on subjects I barely understood, as much as I did writing fiction. I guess I live in a perfect world.

    "Really? What about the editors, and the proof-readers, that make a story Publishable? They contribute too – and get less credit than anyone else."

    “This statement is based on the idea that every book is Un-publishable before it gets into an editor's hands.”

    - MY books ARE un-publishable without an editor. I would NEVER allow my typo-ridden manuscript out in public view without at least two test-readers, an editor, AND a proofer!

    “Oh the need (for anger management) is definitely there, but they’re not working in a corporate environment that has such a program available. The only people they can take their temper out on, is themselves, their families, and in hate-mail, or on their blogs.

    “Or (in) their stories :) In my thrillers, quite a few characters died in most gruesome ways... take The Most Annoying Person Of The Day, give them a different name, and let your serial killer attack them with a chainsaw... sex scenes? Who needs sex scenes? ;)

    - Now you know why I have so many sword-fights in my books – even in my sci-fi’s!

    By the way, judging from the recent observations, the worst case of burnout happens not when the author cannot adjust to the market -- but when they adjust and yet do something wrong. Their creative sacrifice doesn't make the situation any better, because they have calculated incorrectly -- or got unlucky -- or their adjustments sounded too false to the readers' ears. Hello, burnout.

    - It happens. All an author can do, is their best. If that’s not enough, then it’s time to find another profession, because writing is obviously not doing the author any good.

    Morgan Hawke

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  9. Why aren't you at a university somewhere teaching or traveling around doing seminars?

    I'm not even a writer, only tried it a couple of times, and I am hooked on what you have to say.

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  10. Thank-you Indida,
    - But I don't teach, because although I know what I'm talking about, through first hand experience, I don't have a degree -- in ANYTHING.

    Colleges and universities are funny about things like that.

    Morgan

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  11. Ahem… It sounds as if your self-esteem is Relying on gaining rewards. (Isn’t that a neurosis all by itself?) If writing a story isn’t reward enough, you are DEFINITELY in the wrong business. Just for the record I have several VERY un-publishable stories that will never see the light of day. (The content is illegal as hell.) Do I feel frustrated by this? Hell no --- the stories were wonderfully fulfilling as I wrote them.


    ***** No, it sounds like my self-esteem says, I don't work for free :). I'll explain. It's easy. When you play, the play is its own reward. When you work, you feel like you ought to be rewarded/paid. Even if you actually enjoy the work. But the difference between work and play in that when you play, you do everything and anything you want, change the rules, etc. When you work, sometimes you have to do things you don't really feel like doing. Have to obey a schedule. Have to make an effort, or efforts. Work is not always comfortable, and even the most favorite work has its not-so-great moments. All of which are the reasons why you expect a reward.

    In short, the part of writing which is creative, which is art--is rewarding by itself. But the business part--it is work. It ought to be rewarded. When it comes to honesty (and self-analysis), I don't really want to be rewarded for Writing a book--but for researching the market, for making sure it fits the guidelines, for perhaps making some changes in it, for considering the audience's preferences, writing the bloody synopsis, after all! --I want to be rewarded for the work I would Not have done if I just wrote it on a whim, and for the limitations I had to put upon my creative freedom. After I have made an effort to meet the market's needs, I want the market to meet my needs.

    It's funny, though, how if you happen to be not completely happy about something, the first thing people will be telling you is to quit. Even the big mentors. Half the time someone asks them for advice, they receive the advice to quit.

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  12. “This statement is based on the idea that every book is Un-publishable before it gets into an editor's hands.”

    - MY books ARE un-publishable without an editor. I would NEVER allow my typo-ridden manuscript out in public view without at least two test-readers, an editor, AND a proofer!

    **** Even when posting excerpts on your site?

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  13. It’s ALWAYS more than just Bad Luck. Unfortunately, getting a straight answer from a publishing editor on why the book didn’t work, takes an act of God. They normally don’t have the time, or inclination, to give out a detailed answer. Editors wade through a LOT of submissions, and far too many authors attack them when they DO give a straight answer. “What do you mean, my heroine was unsympathetic!”


    **** Well, call it the Editor Factor :) (that is, assuming quality is high enough, i.e. the book is publishable) Your submission can catch an editor who just hates something in your book -- enough to overlook its advantages. Isn't that bad luck? Or maybe not hates... just doesn't love it.Take the unsympathetic heroine--if you were lucky enough so that the universe would have taken care to put another editor in that chair five years ago--that another editor might have fallen in love with your heroine.

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  14. Hi Morgan,

    I've been reading your blog for some time now. I wanted to come out of lurkdum and tell you I appreciate your blog. I look forward to every entry.

    (Hugs)
    :-) Melissa
    http://www.melissa-lopez.com
    http://www.melanylogen.com

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  15. I really enjoyed reading this thread! After coming off a ten month case of writers block that in the ebook world might as well have been fifteen years (LOL) I found myself nodding as I read. Much of what was stated is harsh truths…ones that many don’t want to agree with. Doesn’t make them false or debatable. They are what they are and publishing is what it is—a business.

    GREAT thread, Morgan!

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  16. Thanks for that. At this very moment I needed to read about burnout. I feel so much better now! :)

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  17. I'm glad I don't face this problem as much as I did. It wasn't pressure which burned me out a few times--I simply didn't have enough vacation time on my hands as I originally liked.

    But since I already alternated on different projects (and genres), burning out has become less and less of a problem for me these days.

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