Monday, May 25, 2015

Why I Quit Reading About Writing.

Louis Shalako

It took a lot to get me to quit reading blog posts and informed opinions on the subject of writing, books, stories, publishing, and the industry.

At first, it was a learning experience. The truth is that I did learn something. I learned a lot. 

There is a point of rapidly diminishing returns. People are pretty good at writing provocative titles, and some of it was clearly click-bait. Some of it was from long-time industry professionals.

Therein lay the danger.

At some point, I got really tired of reading about an industry that has never taken any real notice of me. I got tired of promoting folks who were never going to give me the RT. They were never going to invite me to be in a box set with them. They were never going to give me a blurb, a guest-post, or a mention. The featured book at the bottom of their blog was never going to be mine, and it seemed that I had worked very hard to be their minion, just another doormat on the stairway to their own personal heaven.

I looked up to those people, admired them, liked them, listened to them, hung on every word sometimes, all in the rather vain hope that there was some golden nugget of wisdom in there that might help me to crack this code.

We’ve all seen some fatuous non-issues, blown out of all proportion by sophomoric, high-school immaturity. The only good thing is that they’re easy to spot.

Do I love books? I always found that a nonsensical question.

Do you have to read a lot to be an author? Gee, why would anybody think that?

What is an author? Will ebooks destroy western literature? What is a real author, who does not have the right to call themselves an author, and what about all the unedited books on Amazon?

Basically, I’ve just had enough. Even then, I kept going. It was a kind of reassurance—like bumping into an old friend. There was some level of emotional connection there.

It took some real, bitter disappointment to cut them off entirely. I had to get angry with myself, for allowing myself to be taken in. To drop my own plan, my own theories and start following their crock of shit advice.

The trouble is when some of the advice isn’t really relevant. And yet the person writing has such credibility. It’s persuasive, and you feel they’re talking directly to you.

It is the relationship that we crave, and ultimately, it is one that fails because it’s not a relationship at all. It is an illusion. It’s just another click-farm, when you get right down to it.

To tell me for the nine-hundredth time that in order to succeed, ‘first, write a good book,’ and for the nine-hundredth time, ‘get a professionally-made cover,’ does not do me any good if I am not in a position to take that advice. After twenty years on an Ontario Disability Support Program pension, I am in no position to do anything.

Most books are actually pretty good. Most of them are not brilliant. That is just the way it is.

I got tired of people saying that authors can’t spell, don’t have good grammar, can’t proofread, can’t format their own books, can’t lay out a cover, can’t promote, you must do that, you must do this, and you must do something else. Oh, and here’s one thousand, one hundred and thirty-seven MUST HAVE TOOLS FOR AUTHORS. And oh, yeah, you must spend thousands of dollars on your book if you ever want to have any hope of succeeding in this industry.

What an untalented bunch of pretentious, semi-literate boobs we must be, eh?

I’m no longer reading anything at all that has to do with this industry, ladies and gentlemen, and maybe it’s just time we accepted that fact.

But reading the same shit over and over again was too much for me. At this point in time, there are certain websites that I may never go back to again. It’s a little vow I have taken. I know exactly what I’m going to find. Advice that I can’t take, advice that is just plain wrong for my circumstances, and advice that starts off with a certain set of assumptions that in the longer term did more harm than good.

Don’t think that’s not personal, because it is.

You’ve taken all the joy out of something that used to be fun.

Screw you.


There might be some free books here if the reader would care to take a look.



  1. How nice to have someone in my boat, as we both gently paddle up shit creek. I just this month managed to pull my marketing together, and have $50 big ones to buy ads with, without taking away from my household budget. That's just to get the ball rolling. I'll spend months doing with I can with what little I got. Maybe years. And like you, I'm good. I'm not perfect, but who is in this world?

    Ads and xxx erotica. As much as I can pump out. That's me.

    I'm with you, Louis. I do my own thing, will always stand up for what's right in my world, as Konrath knows well. He don't like me at all, and I don't care. When I'm right, I'm right. At least I'm a big enough man to admit when I'm wrong.

    Now I'm doing things my way. I blog about. Let it all out and have fun. That's what I miss about all this writing shit. It used to be fun. I want it to be fun? I have to make my own fun.

    1. We are not alone, Ripley. There must be a million writers who really can't afford to invest in the business. As for the industry nurturing new talent, that usually consists of writing contests for schoolchildren and blaring headlines in trade magazines.

    2. I took a month off from the Web in Jan, and during that time I decided to address our various problems, and they are many. While I pulled what I could together, I realized the only way for most of us to get ahead are ads, our newsletters with no subscribers, and XXX erotica written from the female perspective, but with my own twist on the storyline. Erotica, at one time, was anything the writer wanted it to be.

      I've been reading the thread over at KB, but didn't want to comment. Only one person mentioned what I've been doing all along.

      I'm from the old school, and I've been around for the last 20 years. I've learned to edit myself into print, and I'm not bad. I do DAZ for my covers, and format myself. I got some good samples for people to read, and for them to decide for themselves. But, I'm choked by other writers, like we all are, only I admit it. Nobody is busting their asses to promote me, and I doubt if they ever will. They care for their books, and I care about mine. I can live with that.

      Nothing I have ever done to build my platform has paid off in book sales. I could vanish from the Web, and still sell just as many, or just as few books as I do now.

      I stopped giving books away, because that has never bumped my bottom line. I write stand-alone novels in a world where series or serial books rule.

      I keep asking myself what I've done right, and the answer is everything within my power. So, I'll take that confidence in myself, and try to move myself up to the next level.

      I love the creation part of writing. I'm happy there. I have two more books of mine to look through, fix anything I might have missed the last time, pull my front matter and back copy together with working links, and then I'm in my happy spot for a full year. I'll go for the free ads, buy what I can from month to month, even if it's one ad, and I'll keep blogging about it, calling brainstorming for one.

      If anything I said helps, good. No, we're not alone. There are a lot of us out there.

      Google me, check out the blog, and email me if you want. That's at the blog, too. Or use an old KB post for my sig.

    3. Thanks Ripley. I use free ads too, but it's real hard to say if they have any effect other than maybe fifty people see it. How many click through? One percent at most.