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Writing, Money, & Scamming Your Way to the Top

So. If you’re on Twitter or if you follow the publishing industry in some capacity then you might have taken notice of drama that is (was?) The Handbook for Mortals (TL;DR: YA debut scams its way to the top of the NY Times bestsellers list; is quickly removed thanks in part to YA Twitter channel sleuths). Pretty insane, honestly, and it bleeds into what I want to talk about today: writing, motivation, money, and quality of writing.

Writing is an art form. It’s a way for people to express themselves. The desire to create, to tell a story, or build a world comes from an innate love of adventure (at least it does for me). Wanting to see where this adventure goes, who you’ll meet, and what will happen is often times the driving force behind a story’s continuation. It, along with wanting to share this experience with others, is what motivates a writer to write. A genuine love of creation and the hunger to continually hone the craft is always going to improve the quality of one’s writing.

But what happens when money becomes part of a writer’s motivation? What happens when it becomes the driving force? I’ll preface my response with this: money will most often times be a factor (publishing is a business and writers do need an income), but not the factor. When it becomes the sole reason for churning out stories several things will happen:

  • The quality of writing will suffer
  • The story will be pushed to the background in favor of sales
  • The ego becomes inflated, often times resulting in the inability to take constructive criticism
  • The audience (if there is one) will also suffer

I cannot claim to know the publishing industry as well as professionals, but as someone who, in the past, struggled with ego, monetary motivation, and writing quality, I’m more than able to spot bullshit when I see it. Buying up your own book in bulk in order to boost sales numbers–complete BS. It’s an insult to the authors who have rightfully earned their spots on bestsellers lists, who have paid their dues. It’s an insult to writers in general. It’s a middle finger to a prospective audience and it shows a complete lack of faith in your own work, not to mention tactlessness to the extreme.

There is no easy way to the top in publishing. If you think there is…good luck. You’re not going to survive.

P.S. Don’t blatantly plagiarize your cover art.

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