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Do you know what annoys me? What really annoys me?

Reading a book, and feeling that the author wrote it just to get paid. Sheesh.

24 Comments »


  • avidbookreader
    November 25
    5:10 pm

    I think I know what you mean because there is a difference but it’s hard to actually “define it.” There are those who are writers and those who are borne storytellers (for me). As readers, you can tell the difference or discern when a author is writing for love of her craft (I’ve thought this about Nora Roberts for years) and those who just do it for a check (can cite too many examples here). But all of this is to say, that yes, I agree with you.

    Keishon

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  • Dee Tenorio
    November 25
    5:18 pm

    Totally afraid to comment on this, lol, but I’ve been working on my courage issues.

    I’d have to admit, there is a certain terror that you’re writing something not alltogether commercial enough to say…keep the kids fed. So, a whole bunch of us authors sort of huddle together and ask ourselves if we can write what’s hot on the market right now. And I also have to admit…we go for it, if that’s what needs to be done.

    On the other hand, a good author does her very best to be true to the style and utilize the craft she’s learned to produce a good book. I’ve only got a bone to pick if the author doesn’t instill any craft to the book at all.

    Okay, that’s all the courage I got for today, lol.
    Dee

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  • Stacey
    November 25
    6:44 pm

    So what? How many people in the world go to work in a dead end job just because they get paid? Doesn’t mean they don’t work hard at the job. Now authors don’t earn a heck a lot – something like 80% of them earn less than $5000 a year. You can’t live on that. Now what I do object to is doing a poor job in life or writing just because you don’t have a passion for it. A good author should be able to produce a good book whether they are only writing it to pick up the paycheck or not.

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  • Karen Scott
    November 25
    7:05 pm

    So what? How many people in the world go to work in a dead end job just because they get paid? Doesn’t mean they don’t work hard at the job.

    Stacey, that’s exactly the point, I don’t know that the author is only writing for a paycheque, but when you get that feeling whilst reading a book, it generally means that the author has done such a poor job, that it comes across that way to the reader.

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  • Ally Blue
    November 25
    7:27 pm

    Can I just say, HELL yeah! I hate picking up a book and quickly finding that there’s nothing of substance there. This always makes me think the author cranked it out just for the $$$.

    I’ve seen a few of those lately, since I tend to read the same thing I write (gay romance). Man-on-man is HOT right now, so lots of folks have jumped on the bandwagon, some more successfully than others. I know damn well that more than a few are doing it for the perceived increase in sales. Which is fine, more power to them and I hope they make a mint, but dammit, I should not be able to TELL that they’re writing for the money not the story! If I pick up on that, then the author has not done his or her job, and THAT is a problem.

    Me, I reckon I’ll enjoy the extra lunch money while Teh Ghey Buttsecks is in vogue, but after the trend has died down I’ll still be writing it because that’s what I love. I am WAY too undisciplined and hedonistic to write something I don’t feel O_O

    BTW, I just spent like two hours reading old posts here and laughing my considerable ass off. Thanks a whole dang lot for those wrinkled clothes in my dryer, Evil Blog.

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  • Emily Veinglory
    November 25
    7:36 pm

    Asking if I write more for love or money is like asking whether a tennis ball is more yellow or more round. I love the writing and I love the money, I love the writing more because it makes money and the money more because I earned it doing something I love.

    Bad writing is bad writing. Personally I think thoise who insist they only write for love alone tend to write worse because they don’t consider the audience and can be self-indulgence and immune to critique. But in the end the book has to stand on its own–speculation about motivation is more likely to reflect the reader’s prejudices.

    Readers sometime like to speculate that I write to turn their children gay or insult them. Shrug. Guess they caught me.

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  • Ally Blue
    November 25
    7:54 pm

    Yeah, but you DO love it, Em, and a reader can tell that when they read your books. It comes through loud and clear. Like you said, bad writing is bad writing, and a skilled author should be able to avoid bad writing no matter what her motivation for writing is. If I can tell she’s only doing it for the bucks, her skill is lacking. We can’t get away with that in the Evil Day Job world, and we shouldn’t be able to in Author Land either. You don’t have to love it, but if you don’t love it, you better be able to hide that fact with excellent writing.

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  • sallahdog
    November 25
    8:02 pm

    I think where I notice it is when a favorite author in a particular venue (like historical) suddenly writes a paranormal (for example) and doesn’t do it justice. I hate feeling like someone has jumped to the latest trend if it isn’t something they are stoked about writing.

    The thing is, this perception of what is “hot” is often the very thing that ends up making it “not”…. too many bad paranormal or fantasy have made me gunshy… If an author is still telling a good story in a “not” hot arena (i.e. Lisa Kleypas with her historicals) people WILL buy it.

    I think in the end, I am looking for a good story, one that I am not constantly tripping over the bad mechanics of it(which is especially tricky in fantasy because world building is a huge part of it)… Tell me a good story, consistently and I will read even if the genre is no longer “hot”…

    I have not one problem with a person writing for a paycheck (I work for mine)..but when their heart isn’t in it, it often shows… I am not likely to buy another if the story doesn’t show that the author was enthused about it.

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  • Sarah McCarty
    November 25
    8:44 pm

    When I came back to writing I made a decision to only write stories I love involve characters who intrigue me. I can accept that means I may not achieve the readership necessary to be a success in NY. What I cannot accept is the total muse killing burn out that happens when I force myself to write something about which I’m not passionate.

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  • Sarah McCarty
    November 25
    8:46 pm

    Sheesh! That should have been involving. Sorry about the typo.

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  • Marissa Scott
    November 25
    10:47 pm

    Funny you should bring up this topic, Karen, because last week I had to delve deep within myself as a writer as I was having self doubts and was unsure of what to write- do I keep on with what I’m working on which is from the heart? Or do I write what I think will sell? Not a fun moment in my life, but I eventually figured it out and came to the conclusion that writing what sells would ruin the fun of writing for me, and then what would be the point of writing? It would just turn into a job I hated. No thanks. 🙂

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  • Shiloh Walker
    November 25
    10:48 pm

    Totally afraid to comment on this, lol, but I’ve been working on my courage issues.

    Guh… me, too.

    It can be a balancing act, writing a book that you want to sell… but writing one that will be a compelling read.

    A good author should be able to do it.

    So what? How many people in the world go to work in a dead end job just because they get paid? Doesn’t mean they don’t work hard at the job.

    I think the thing is here is that the reader doesn’t want to read a book that seems to have been written by rote.

    I mean, how many of us would want to go get a manicure, get a hair cut, go out to eat and get service by somebody that is popping their gum, staring off into the distance and making it very clear they would rather be doing anything else? For that matter, would you want to go to the doctor’s office about a health concern and have a doctor that makes it very clear he only wants your money and doesn’t care your health? Hmmmm… that got a little wordy there. 😉

    Writing for money doesn’t mean you can’t take a lot of pride in it. But if you’re not doing your best for the story, it shows. It’s selling yourself short, and cheating the readers.

    I dunno if that’s what Karen was getting at, but that’s how I’m taking it.

    And yes, Karen, I’ve had that exact same feeling when I’ve read some books lately.

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  • Kat O+
    November 26
    12:14 am

    As to money, lots of authors supplement their income with writing opportunities outside of commercial fiction, so it’s possible–though not necessarily easy–to write what you love and write for money without paralysing your muse even when readers are taking a while to realise that your muse is da bomb.

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  • Rosemary Laurey
    November 26
    1:31 am

    Jumping right in here with both feet 🙂

    What’s the problem with working for money? Apart from the independently wealthy, most people on the planet work to get a paycheck.

    I certainly do.

    When I was a teacher, I did it because they paid me. Yes, I enjoyed teaching (well most of the time, anyway) and I did my darndest to do the best job I could but if the checks had ever stopped, I’d have beem looking hard for another job.

    Same now I’m a writer. It’s how I pay my bills, buy groceries and put aside a little for my looming years of decrepitude. But I do love writing, and as in any job I’ve ever held, do my darndest to make each book the best I can.

    But if my editors stop buying my work, then I’ll be looking for another job (And be heartbroked into the bargain).

    As for a book that seems skimpy, flat, or unpolished. It could be it was just churned out, yes.

    After all there are writers who treat their profession with disrepect- just as there are doctors, waitresses, judges and etc who disgrace their profession – but could also be the editor bought a book that wasn’t ready to be sold. I have several of these lurking in my past – I was lucky they got rejected.

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  • Anonymous
    November 26
    5:17 am

    I agree with Rosemary. Personally, I’m curious what it was about the book that made you think it was written for money and not love?

    I have a lot of friends (and have met more acquaintances) that say they want to be writers or are writers. They blog, or they journal, and they’re sure they are going to produce the next ‘big’ thing and be rich. I’ve read some of their stuff. It sucks.

    I guess my point is – just because the book didn’t turn out how you’d like or was “too formulaic” doesn’t really mean much. If it’s written by someone who does this for a living, whatever kind it may be, then I doubt it was done solely for money.

    Shirley

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  • kirsten saell
    November 26
    9:21 am

    Personally, I’m not offended if my accountant secretly (or openly) hates his job. Same with the janitor who cleans my kids’ school. Speaking from hard experience, more than half the cooks in the world would rather be doing something else, and if all that’s required of them is to flip a burger until that something else comes along, that’s fine.

    But any artistic endeavor requires a degree of passion. The great masters would have painted whether they got paid or not–Van Gogh died a pauper, but he died painting.

    I’m not saying every author needs to be first and foremost an artist. But if I’m paying for something creative, I want it to contain a little creative passion, thanks.

    I’m not talking about formula, either. I’m talking passionless. I’m talking about books that should never have made it past an editor’s desk, but did because the author has already made a name for him/herself, and readers will buy based on that name alone. Books so poorly crafted that my internal editor switched on before page ten, books I had to put down because I would have had to rewrite the whole pile of crap just to stay sane.

    It may be as much a function of editing as the writing itself. Because none of the books I’m talking about seem to have been subject to any kind of editing. I guess when you get big enough, no one wants to tell you you’ve misused a word, or reused it eleven times on one page. No one wants to say “Boo”.

    Not everyone can keep on keeping on like Nora. And if Nora ever does get to that point of stagnation and creative lethargy, I hope someone will have the guts to tell her she needs a break.

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  • Shiloh Walker
    November 26
    11:25 am

    Personally, I’m not offended if my accountant secretly (or openly) hates his job.

    Oh, now that’s a thought that terrifies me. If my accountant hates his job, openly or otherwise, he probably isn’t going to do his best… and that is something that could come back on me and cause me legal issues. I don’t want the IRS showing up on my doorstep two or three years down the road and it turns out the bored accountant made several little oversights.

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  • Nora Roberts
    November 26
    12:43 pm

    I think if you love what you do–and have talent (and discipline)–you’re going to get paid. Getting paid generally means you can keep doing what you love to do, and are good at doing.

    Writing because you love it is fine–but it doesn’t mean you’re any good at it. Or you may be pretty good at it but so far out of the market because you’re too interested in your talent to find the balance to produce a marketable story.

    Or you may be good at it, you may love it, get paid for it–and hit a dry spell. Or want to experiment. Publishers and readers will usually give you a little room here.

    Or you may start phoning them in because you don’t love it any more, you’ve lost your rhythm, and a buncha other reasons.

    Or you may not love it and just be good at it, and get paid for it.

    It’s a tricky and interesting balance with a lot of variables.

    Myself, I love it. (Thank you, Keishon.)I love the process of writing, and feel incredibly fortunate to have found something I love that I’m pretty good at, and get paid to do. In my world, it doesn’t get any better than that.

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  • Bonnie Dee
    November 26
    5:02 pm

    I’ve discovered that the unusual plots that most interest me as a writer are not necessarily marketable. Did this force me to reevaluate what I write? Hell, yeah.

    Did I dabble in the waters of m/m, menage and BDSM partly in an attempt to broaden my readership? Yes.

    Have I sold out my creative muse in pursuit of cash? No. I prefer to think of it as a re-direct of energy.

    I’ve taken to dividing my time between writing offbeat stories I would choose as a reader and those I believe will appeal to the general market. This two-pronged attack seems to be working for me, and I don’t feel like I’m giving less of myself to the more marketable stories.

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  • kirsten saell
    November 26
    5:57 pm

    Personally, I’m not offended if my accountant secretly (or openly) hates his job.

    Oh, now that’s a thought that terrifies me.

    Okay, hate is maybe a poor word choice. But that doesn’t change the fact that the world is full of jobs that do not require any kind of enthusiasm or creative effort. Assembly line work. Bookkeeping. Stocking shelves. Even copywriting. These jobs can be done competently even if the people doing them aren’t in luurrrve with their work.

    There is a balance between love and money, like Nora said. But one extreme is as bad as the other. And I think I’d rather read a book written by someone who hated the subject matter and agonized over every word and just wanted to throw the whole thing out the window, than one written in total indifference to anything but the paycheck.

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  • Sherry Thomas
    November 27
    5:45 pm

    I think it doesn’t matter whether an author writes for love or for money, as long as the book is GOOD.

    For me, personally, I’m itching to get to the second part of my advance that I’d only get when this manuscript is accepted. But does that affect how I judge my progress?

    Yes, and not in the way you’d think.

    I’m much more serious about the quality of my work when someone is paying me. I’ve great deal of respect for that money, and for the expectations behind that money. When I’m paid, I want only to deliver top-notch work and nothing else

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  • Aline de Chevigny
    November 27
    5:47 pm

    I mean, how many of us would want to go get a manicure, get a hair cut, go out to eat and get service by somebody that is popping their gum, staring off into the distance and making it very clear they would rather be doing anything else? For that matter, would you want to go to the doctor’s office about a health concern and have a doctor that makes it very clear he only wants your money and doesn’t care your health? Hmmmm… that got a little wordy there. 😉

    Uhm so you’ve never me t my doctor then LOL
    HE shows up 4-6 hours late, then tells you he can’t waste time discussing things cause “we’re” running late.
    He really hate when I walk in LOL,throws off his whole day.

    But I know what you mean. I’ve stopped reading books that leave me feeling blah or disgusted.

    Aline

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  • Anonymous
    November 28
    4:24 am

    My CP and I were just talking about this very thing.

    She said, “Seems like it’s just that it was something you wanted to write for the practice, not for the love…you did great for something you weren’t passionate about.

    I’ve gotten great feedback about this story. One person even said it was one of my best works and that puzzles me because…truly my heart wasnt in it. I felt like a housewife that looked at the clock ticking while having sex with her husband. I just wanted it done.

    So what do I do now. Scrap it or sub it knowing that it may be a good, well written, commercial story but not the story of my heart. Or do I grow up and realize this is a business and sometimes you’re gonna be flat on your back watching the clock tick while the powers that be get their rocks off?

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  • sybil
    November 28
    7:40 pm

    Do you know what annoys me? What really annoys me?

    When you post this kinda crap and I know not what the book is. sniff

    I like money. I think money rocks. And people should all get to do what they lurve and get paid.

    If you are a writer, I shouldn’t know you are doing it just for the money.

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