Hey You, Indie Author… You Suck!

That’s right… SUCK – with a capital S-U-C-K!

Your dialogue is sophomoric. Your grammar and punctuation are an insult to Strunk and ridiculed by White. Your characters are weak and your storyline has less movement than a flatline.

Okay, I admit, that was harsh and reviews like that are the exception, not the rule. In my opinion, the worst writer in the world, whoever he/she may be, doesn’t deserve something like that. But, the point I’m trying to make is, if you were to receive that exact review on one of your works, would it be enough to make you put down your pen forever? Would it throw you into a dejected state, which left you so depressed that your creative juices stopped flowing permanently? If you’re anything like me, a review like that would be just the needle to prick your determination into doing better than you ever thought possible, (called the OH YEAH? factor in my house.) So, if an occasional heckler isn’t enough to cause you to end your love affair with the written word, why do so many of us allow our own minds to sabotage our goals and dreams?

I receive letters all of the time from writers who say, ‘I’d love to appear on Ink Drop Interviews, if I ever finish the book I’m working on’.

If?

Don’t you mean ‘when’? And we all know how it goes from there, ‘I have a day job’, ‘No time’, ‘My family thinks I’m wasting my life on a pipe dream’, ‘The kids keep me hopping between soccer practice and 4-H’, ‘I’m mentally distracted’, and the big one, ‘I don’t think my writing is good enough’.

Writers come in all shapes and sizes, figuratively. Some have day jobs, others live in poverty in the name of creating their masterpiece. Some take notes on the fly, jotting them down on matchbook covers and cocktail napkins to be deciphered at a later time, while others create elaborate outlines almost as long as the finished novel.

There have been scores of articles written on this subject and I doubt that I am going to impart any words of wisdom that haven’t been said before, but as a huge proponent of paying it forward and my humble attempt to showcase interested Indies, I feel it can never be said too many times.

My take on the process and the only universal advice, commit to the journey. Definitely worth repeating… COMMIT TO THE JOURNEY!

Those four words are the difference between you, Indie, and the James Pattersons of the world. Toward the end of this article, I am going to include links to a man and his work that I recently ran across and a post on his blog that I think you all should read. His name is Casey Neistat. Some of you might have heard of him, but more of you, probably not. He is a director, producer, and the creator of the HBO series, ‘The Neistat Brothers’. He has also been creating popular You Tube videos since 2010, and that is where I first ran across him.

One video in particular caught my attention. It wasn’t the best video as far as effects or sound. It didn’t feature any high-profile actors. There was no ‘set’ to speak of. What it did have – was a message. You can view Casey’s work HERE. From there, I wandered over to his blog and read a post that put things into perspective for me. The post was entitled, I Can’t Write Real Good. In it, he describes how he isn’t the best at grammar and how he isn’t as concerned with ‘what’ he shoots a movie with as much as the finished product, among other things.

Writing is very much the same. We may not have the amount of time we feel we need, or the right atmosphere, or the best spelling in the world, but why should we let that stop us from what is in us to do? If you write because you believe it will yield wealth, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but…. Put the pen down. If you think writing will earn you accolades and envy from your peers, family, or enemies, again…. Put the pen down. If you write because you think it will quadruple your Twitter following, give you an easy-in with the ladies/men…. You know what to do.

There is one and only one reason to write. We write because we have something in us, whether it be a message or a story, that we want to tell. If we get rich doing it – SCORE. But, if you stand everyone who has ever written against everyone who has ever ‘made it big’ writing, it would look something like the little dot on a map that represents Tampa against every other city in the United States.

Casey has the right idea. If you have something to say, a message to share with the world, share it! Don’t let your inner critic sour your creative juice. Sure, grammar, spelling, and such are important, but not the whole loaf of bread. Without name-dropping, a number of years ago, I met a writer known by many, who is the first to admit, he can not spell. He often uses the joke that his spelling is so bad even auto-correct comes up empty. Yet he lives (and then some) on what he makes writing. He is the one that first told me, “People want to read great stories. They don’t count your commas.” Another well-known writer I’ve met spends more time on the outline than on the actual writing of the book. I once met a man at a writer’s group that when asked to share what he was working on, pulled a bazillion crumpled pieces of blue paper towel out of his pockets and proceeded to lay them out in front of us. He works on the maintenance crew at a college and has five kids at home, so his writing is done in snippets here and there while at work. (He has since gone on to write 4 NYT Bestsellers).

So the message I am trying to pass on is don’t let anyone, including yourself, thwart your writing dreams. You may not be the best writer, and you may never see big money, awards, or even best seller status. But, if you’re writing for the right reason, none of that will matter. If you don’t believe me, take it from a guy who has poor grammar and never finished school and yet still has his own HBO series and 41K Twitter followers. He has something to say, a story to tell, and that’s what people are really looking for. They want to be entertained, or informed, or touched on an emotional level. If you can do that… they’ll never count the commas.

Get to  know Casey Neistat and his work

Wikipedia

Casey Neistat

Kathy Reinhart is the award-winning author of LILY WHITE LIES, MISSOURI IN A SUITCASE, and THE RED STROKES.

Join Kathy on Facebook, Twitter or visit her Webpage for more info, news, and contests.

 

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About K.E. Garvey

Gather 'round and let me tell you a story... View all posts by K.E. Garvey

4 responses to “Hey You, Indie Author… You Suck!

  • Rebecca Vance

    Great post! I just signed up to follow you. This is a great message. For years, I let others stop me from pursuing writing. This was many years ago, before the internet. Back when writers had to depend upon one reader to like his or her manuscript enough to send it on from the slush pile. I was exciting about writing when I was in college. I was an older student and found something I loved. Everyone told me it was a pipe dream. No one can make a living at writing. You only get popular, if you ever do, after you die. So I was advised to get a real job. I listened and spent a miserable 30+ years in customer service and sales. It wasn’t until I retired that I decided to pursue it seriously. I am now working on my debut novel. It seems to be taking me a long time. In the length of time that I have been preparing to write this novel, I’ve seen several authors go on to write 2 or 3 books. I wonder if I am doing something wrong sometimes. I never finished college, so I have been reading lots of writing how-to manuals as well as the book research. I have had one short story published in a holiday anthology last November. I am learning as I go. I remind myself that I am writing for me, because it is a lifelong dream. I don’t expect to make a lot of money. So, I don’t have a timetable. I am having a good time doing it and helping others with what I’m learning along the way. I also write a review blog for debut authors. It has helped me a lot also.

    Like

  • Kathy Reinhart

    Hi Rebecca,

    Thanks for joining my blog!

    I love your comment, “I remind myself that I am writing for me, because it is a lifelong dream.” That is the best reason you could have. As far as working on your debut while others have put out several… Who’s counting? I’ll bet Stephen King doesn’t compare his yearly count to John Grisham. We’re all different, work at different rates, are stimulated by different triggers, work around different obstacles. As long as you’re writing, you’re succeeding! Best of luck and when you’re finished, maybe we’ll meet up for an interview!

    Kathy

    Like

  • Javier A. Robayo

    Timely post my dear lady.
    I attended my writer’s conference in Hartford yesterday. They had a “Writer’s Idol” segment where six lit agents judged manuscripts. The first page of several scripts was read aloud and the agents put their hands up whenever they felt they were hitting eye-bumps. Out of 12 scripts, only one made it all the way through and even so, the agents were adamant about pretty much having the entire novel spelled out for them within that first sentence. One script did not make it past the title. Dialogue shouldn’t begin a story. Starting a story in the morning is boring and cliche. Didn’t drop them in the action right away. Who’s telling the story?
    Many of their observations were valid. At the same time, I was disheartened to find the days of the epic novel are gone. Agents don’t want a story that takes the reader on a journey of discovery and learn the characters as the story progresses. No. In my opinion, there is a need for patience. A chance to set the scene and build the characters in the mind of a reader, but now I have to chance my approach and imagine I’m writing short stories. No more than 60k words. Books like Count of Monte Cristo or A Tale of Two Cities, and even Gone With the Wind, have no shot at making it these days.
    The conference was supposed to encourage you to do better, but I fear it didn’t succeed in that regard.
    I love to write. My Sheri and kids aside, it is the love of my life. And bad reviews, I actually welcome. I want to know what I need to change or address to the story becomes more compelling. I want to leave nothing but the best in the page.

    Like

    • Kathy Reinhart

      Hello Javier,

      How have you been? I believe you’re right. The days of the epic novels are gone, sadly. And I believe lack of patience is a key factor. I think most people have limited time to read, on a bus, during lunch, or briefly before bed, so they want instant gratification. I believe there are still some who want to see the whole journey stretched out before them, but the number is less all of the time, leaving those who write the long epics a much smaller demographic.

      Your writing is wonderful… keep at it!

      Kathy

      Like

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