Saturday, January 09, 2010

On Writing Fantasy: Maintaining Professionalism

The economy is in a downturn right now. Many Internet companies have gone out of business or are in trouble. What, you may ask, does this have to do with writing? It serves as a reminder to writers to maintain a level of professionalism in their writing endeavors.

An expanding Internet provides many opportunities for authors to publish their work on the Internet. E-zines, E-publishers and web sites have appeared, opening new venues for writers to explore.

It demonstrates that an author shouldn’t go for the easy thing. Writing is a hard career and getting published even harder. There is a lot of competition confronting you. Along with that, there are other pitfalls too. A writer can’t allow desperation or desire to get published by any means blind them to these things. It can lead to disappointment in the end. A writer must decide on what level they want to be, whether amateur or professional.

Amateur writers don’t need to worry too much. They usually don’t care if they get money or not for their writing. One established author describes a professional writer as someone who gets paid at a professional rate for their work. He maintains that professional writers should get paid for their work, and settling for anything less makes a person an amateur. In a way his is right; a writer should get paid for their work. When you put a lot of effort into your writing, you should receive some compensation. It is never good to settle for anything less because then it turns your hard work into little more than a hobby and leads Å to other pitfalls. Are there times when you should settle for less?

Another established author thinks that a writer should use any means possible, including self publishing to get exposure for their work. Part of this is true and part is false. It is true that you can get exposure, but writers should do this with care. Placing a few samples of your writing on a web site to promote yourself is okay. Maybe let a couple of pieces get published for free. A writer should not resort to self publishing. It is expensive and leads to the perception with editors that your writing is not good enough for them to publish. It also leads to some other serious pitfalls.

Vanity publishers require you to give them a lot of your own money to print books for you. They don’t edit it or help you promote it. Invariably, the author ends up with a bunch of books they can’t sell. Another pitfall is falling äprey to unscrupulous agents. These agents talk unsuspecting writers into spending their money to get a book edited and usually disappear with the money. So beware. With the new growth in E-publishing and Print On Demand technology, writers are facing another new pitfall. One of the new E-publishers has been criticized for the horrendous contract they offer unsuspecting new authors. They grab up a lot of rights and pay the author very little for their books. It is not worth it.

Writers must maintain a level of professionalism. Professionals should get paid for their work. It is all right to put some things on a personal web site, but be careful of the pitfalls of unscrupulous agents, vanity publishers and tricky contracts. Don’t let a desire to be published overwhelm your common sense. I know it is hard because I gave in to it once, but I’m very careful now. Write. Be professional. Good luck.


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