Once upon a time, a company named Amazon made it so easy to self-publish, that everyone did. They called it “The Kindle Gold Rush.”
The upside was, anyone could write anything they wanted to, and get it online and up for sale in almost no time flat. The downside was, everyone did.
This glut of writing caused problems no one expected. In effect, Amazon has become a slush pile. Finding an individual book is possible, but looking for a new book is an intimidating process, and there is no guarantee of quality.
Some people are doing this for the money. Not long ago I received an email inviting me to take a webinar. The title was, “How To Create a Fast-Cash-Producing Book in an Afternoon with Little to No Content!”
FFS, people. There are legitimate avenues for self-publishing. There are lots of aspiring writers who want to get their novel discovered. There are people who have lived interesting lives and could share their wisdom through a memoir. There are experts in fields ranging from cooking to desert survival, all of which deserve a platform to share their expertise.
The chances are low that it will make anyone rich doing so.
Everyone wants to be the next J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, or George RR Martin. Everyone wants to appear as the next Food Network Star, or taken on Dual Survival as the next host. Everyone wants to get rich quick.
Thanks to the Internet, you can!
In the case of books, the gold rush days have drawn to a close. There are those who still try to publish something with Little to No Content!, but I imagine their sales aren’t performing as promised.
Content takes time, and effort, and work and sweat and panic attacks at 2 a.m. When you’re creating worthwhile content, you’re invested. You’ll reread a sentence seven times to make sure it flows properly, and then you might read it again. You’ll spend hours diagramming where you want your story to go, and yell obscenities when your character takes a path you didn’t plot out. You’ll work your ass off.
Anyone can use the Internet to access a million monkeys with typewriters trying to recreate Shakespeare. You can scoop up rivers of abandoned content and stitch it into something to sell. It’s easy, but it’s terrible quality.
Quality is the only path to recognition, and it is a long, slow climb with a 50lb backpack and a dwindling water supply. Quality is also a moving target. Your first book is your best book only until your second book comes out.
You’d have to be crazy to be a writer, but those of us who are really crazy love the ascent. We understand that the work is an investment, and it’s worth every ounce of effort we can produce. If you have to have a day job to support your writing habit, you’re not alone. I wrote the entirety of Bento Box on evenings and weekends for over two and a half years. I may not even make back what I spent editing, truth be told.
It’s just because I’m an unknown, and it’s because I don’t pump out a novel a month. It’s okay, I’ll get faster as I write more. Becoming a known author is a long game, but it beats the hell out of the alternative. If you want to get rich fast, I recommend skipping the author career path.