CC Chapman wants to write a book. I’ll probably buy it when it comes out. Not just out of support; I like the way he thinks enough to acquire the souvenir.
CC, very determined, put the intention out in the smoke on a recent episode of Managing the Grey. But why write a book? Why put in all that extra effort to create a souvenir for people to host dust colonies on, or download onto their kindlePads? Why expend so much effort on such a huge timesink that may, or may not, make you any money, or get any attention, or even succeed enough on the long tail to get a second printing?
I want to write a book. I hope people buy it when it comes out.
Not just out of hubris, I legitimately hope the work I do excited people enough to earn their dollars. Even if most of those dollars go to other people, the owning of the souvenir, the ability to say I did something that made a splash with people enough to garner a near-permanent spot on their shelf. And that’s just the souvenir version.
What about the other options? Are they less viable?
There’s not really one way to write a book any more. More people are publishing eBooks, free or not. More people are creating serialized blogs. Scott Adams released a collection of his blog posts as a book a while ago. I’m publishing The Dowager Shadow roughly three pages a day as a blog, mostly because getting the writing out there is more important – to me – than getting the publishing deal. I’m well aware of authors’ lack of wages just from published books.
So why publish a book? Hell, why write one in the first place?
Writing a book is a massive collection of effort. When I set out to do my first NaNoWriMo in 2008, I had no concept, no story, no idea what was ahead. I chose the Maredran setting which would eventually become The Dowager Shadow mostly because a bunch of the work was already done, and the NaNo project would be collating and expanding on very rough outlines and game posts from a forum community. It made a logical choice. But I still struggled, producing 2500 words a day for a month. I still struggle, producing somewhere around a thousand a day for this blog and others now, mostly because I limit my time to an hour a night. It’s a hobby.
Beware of turning hobbies into jobs.
Blogging is a hobby for me. It’ll remain so. Even doing creative writing for a job will not be blogging – the process is completely different. The same thing with fiction writing. I don’t know how I’d behave, having to produce on a deadline as contract novelists do. So I’m pumping out my work at my own pace, as it’s completed. The volumes will each get released as eBooks once they’re done publishing, as will the entire book at the end of the thing. Sure, I’d like to make money on it. Why not, right?
But, bigger than making money, I want my stuff read. Isn’t that why any of us writes in the first place? Such big work is a great way to start off a conversation with a bang.
Why write a book? Because the method of publishing is irrelevant, the work itself is an amazing thing.