Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Books Aren't Free & Writing is Hard Work

An imaginative, inventive person like me has an urge to see their imagination come to life. We spend many hours in solitude—total isolation—creating and birthing our ideas. The message behind our work is what motivates us. We’re eager to expose our creation to the world and to relay our messages through our art. This is what we live for.

And if we simply give away that which we put so much of our time and effort into ... we wouldn’t be financially able to support ourselves. Writing is work, hard work. And just like your job, you want compensation for your time and effort.

Writing is work but it’s also my art. It’s my imagination come to life. Without it I wouldn’t be able to express my views, my opinions, my likes and dislikes—myself. Writing is how I connect to the world and how I declare myself an individual. I feel what my characters feel—happiness, heartbreak, embarrassment, betrayal—and I get butterflies knowing that readers feel those same emotions when connecting with my characters. Along with my characters, I fall in love, I’m heated with hate, and I feel the thrill of doing something forbidden and so much more.

My writing helps me feel alive. More than alive.

But writing would be impossible to accomplish without the support of my readers. And as much as I enjoy sharing my creations with others, I equally understand that writing is a business. This is why books, even digital books, aren’t free. It’s hard work. Not many people understand this, IT’S HARD WORK. Writing as a profession is more difficult than the average hobbyist or dabbler would ever know.

What makes writing so hard?

  • You must be enthusiastic to start a writing project.

  • You must be driven to write every single day for hours at a time.

  • You must be determined to actually finish your writing.

  • You must plan, outline, and take notes. You must figure out what questions to ask, ask the questions, and then research the answers.

  • You must set a goal and push yourself to accomplish that goal.

  • You must read every day. Only great readers become great writers.

  • You must challenge yourself. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone.

  • You must hone your skills and develop your craft. You can never stop learning.

  • You cannot be afraid to fail. You will be rejected, you will get negative feedback but you must have the confidence to learn from it, keep writing and keep moving forward.

  • You have to have the strength to ignore self-doubts about yourself and your work.

  • You must plot, plan, rewrite, and edit. Check spelling, grammar, characterization, plot, point of view, tenses, transitions, believability, dialogue, description, etc. You must write the blurb, write the full synopsis, write the query to send to the editor and plot, plan, rewrite and edit those as well.

  • You must learn the skills to present your writing professionally and sell it along with your voice to editors and agents. Know your competition and your target audience, etc.

  • You must market and promote, manage websites and social networking sites, blog and article write, leave comments and respond to comments, design (or get designed) promotional material; banners, bookmarks, website ads and book covers and book trailers. You must request reviews, interviews and guest blogs. And sooo much more.

So knowing this, I hope you understand why books aren’t free and why authors appreciate their readers’ support.

Appreciate the books you own and the writers who write them. Never share or upload digital books online. And out of courtesy, never ask an author for a free copy. If you do get a free copy cherish it because a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into making that book available to you.

Leslie Lee Sanders

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