The trap of success stories for writers

When the e-Book world began to steamroll, e-writers were advised to Tweet, have a website, have a fan page on Facebook, have a blog, comment on other blogs, have thousands upon thousands of Twitter followers. In other words, be a presence. Oh, and remember to write well. If you had the time after being a presence on social media.

Then comes along a woman Kathie Shoop who sold 100,000 e-Books without doing any of the above.

One can not follow her success because every story of success is unique to that individual person.

Take Hugh Howey. He wrote a free science-fiction short story “Wool” then followed that up with a second chapter. Each chapter was 99 cents with a cliffhanger ending which kept readers coming back for the next installment. He was serializing his novel, something Charles Dickens did  back in the real old days.

Today Howey has an agent and a book deal, plus a movie deal with Ridley Scott.

It may be tempting for every success story one encounters do take the path blazed by someone like Shoop and Howey. I admit the short story serialization is intriguing.

But what gets lost is that the path they chose is not what gained them success. It was primarily good writing. And luck. We must not forget luck. Not everyone who writes well will get noticed.  Just ask John Kennedy Toole. Oh wait we can’t, he committed suicide before his books were published, one of which, “Confederacy of Dunces”  won a Pulitzer Prize.

So luck and perseverance are part of the equation as well as good writing.

The best any of us pounding the keyboards in anonymity is to keep writing, and chart a course with an original idea, even, as in Howey’s case, it was done long ago. As the Peter Allen song goes, “Everything old is new again.”

Now that I think about it, there is something else from the 19th century that may work for me. Talk with you later, got to go.

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Filed under dalies, e-book publishing, Uncategorized, writing

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