Monday, August 6, 2012

Focusing on the Reader

I don’t know who said it first, but some wise person once said: “Give them what they want and they will come.” In recent months, I have encountered a number of discussions on writer’s forums where some of the authors want to divide up the playground into ‘artist’ and ‘hacks.’

“I want to write quality fiction, rather than just trying to write something that will sell,” some of them have said. This is a noble sentiment, but what is the point of producing a manuscript that will molder in your desk drawer for all time, when you can aim your creative abilities toward a specific audience and sell a respectable number of books. Or more important is this: if you are a real writer, you can strive to do both.

Kindle has changed the craft of writing dramatically. Some critics of ebooks say that the success of this market is because the people who purchase ebooks are programmed to accept less than they will tolerate in a print book. I won’t argue that theory with those who are convinced that it is true, but I feel that the answer lies in another direction. On Amazon Kindle, you can monitor your sales hourly if you are the nail biting type of writer, and see what promotion program is actually working for you, as well as seeing how well your books are received by the average reader. If you work at your craft, you can have a short turnaround time with ebooks, rather than waiting, perhaps for years, to see if you have hit the mark with your writing. I doubt that ebooks are the correct medium for all writers. Print books are not going to die out as some have predicted, for most of us like the feel of a ‘real’ book in our hands. I believe, however, that every writer should try an ebook or two as a way of honing their craft. If you don’t need the extra money, as some have insisted, then send it to me. I have a Paypal account and will put it to good use.