chuck sambuchino

10 Writing Myths; Bookstores Hocking Us For Money, Too

10 Writing Myths

I don’t know how naughty Chuck Sambuchino is, but he did write a killer piece for WD that gets into 10 Writing Myths…and more…I couldn’t agree with more. I also added a few of my own myths, below.

This is so true:

2. Author quotes are completely unbiased. (They’re usually given by friends, or requested by an author’s editor or agent.)

8. Don’t worry about grammar or spelling; that’s what an editor does. (If an editor receives a submission that is poorly written, she stops reading. She barely has the time to read it; she isn’t going to correct it too.)

So is this:

2. When you see your cover for the first time. (This is actually cool EVERY SINGLE time no matter how many books you write.)

10. The book, the book, the book. (Every book is different. With each one I learn something new. I can lose myself in the writing always.)

Check out the rest. They are very good.

Now…here are a few of my own writing myths. (Sarcasm intended to be funny.)

When you see a writer in a small genre getting more attention than usual for any writer in a small genre, this means the relatively unknown writer is beyond wonderful and everyone loves his/her books. (The odds are the writer is using sockpuppet accounts, or doing something underhanded you can’t figure out at a glance, and the writer is full of crap.)

When authors critique other others on storyline and writing technique it’s because these authors are the very best around, they know how to write better than anyone else, and no one is more talented than they are. (Writers who critique other writers too much, especially on storylines, are just nasty asshats…I’m not talking about book reviews here; just in general, like on blogs and social media.)

Publishers will always stand behind you and defend you at all times. (Ha!! Your publisher is the first one to disappear and hide when something controversial comes along.)

All literary agent blogs focus on one thing: helping authors get published and doing wonderful, heartfelt things in publishing. (Most literary agent blogs have an agenda, which is to get exposure, and to get a client that will bring them that one big book they pray for every night before they go to bed.)

All online book reviewers are honest and only care about readers and consumers. (Like literary agents, most of them…not all…have an agenda, too.)

All advice you see on author/writer blogs is true, wonderful, and will change your life. (Most advice is bad advice based on the personal opinions of people who don’t really know what they are talking about, and you have to weigh everything to see if it’s going to work for you before you take it to heart these days…including anything I might say here on this blog.)

ETA: Someone asked for one more, so here it is.

Every single book review on Amazon and Goodreads is totally and completely true, every review is written by one person with a legitimate account, and can be trusted 100%. (Yeah, right. And fire is cold.)

Bookstores Hocking Us For Money, Too

This weekend I posted about crowdfunding. To give you the exact definition of what crowdfunding is I found this:

Crowdfunding (alternately crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, crowd-sourced fundraising) is the collective effort of individuals who network and pool their money, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.[1][2] Crowdfunding is used in support of a wide variety of activities, including disaster relief, citizen journalism, support of artists by fans, political campaigns, startup company funding,[3] motion picture promotion,[4] free software development, inventions development, scientific research,[5] and civic projects.

In many ways, crowdfunding is a wonderful thing, and one of the best parts of our society today when it’s used for something important, and something that really is going to make a difference.

But I’m not so sure about this deal:

Crowdfunding is sweeping through the bookstore business, the latest tactic for survival in a market that is dominated by Amazon, with its rock-bottom prices, and Barnes & Noble, with its dizzying in-store selection. It’s hardly a sustainable business model; but it buys some time, and gives customers a feeling of helping a favorite cause and even preserving a civic treasure.

In San Francisco, a campaign for Adobe Books successfully raised $60,000 on Indiegogo.com in March after the store faced a rent increase and nearly went out of business.

This reminds me of something that happened locally here in New Hope about eight or nine years ago. We had a great video store here for many years. They carried all the new releases, and some of the best indie films from LGBT to mainstream. However, times changed, people stopped renting videos at brick and mortar video stores, rental prices started going up because small video stores couldn’t compete with online businesses, and eventually the landlord raised the rent. That’s how business works; that’s why good business people have solid business plans. Technology took control, consumer habits changed, and our little video store went out of business just like thousands of others all over America. When I think of video stores now, it’s with a nostalgic feeling of the 1980’s, where you could rent an armload of videos on a Saturday night at one or two dollars each, and spend a snowy weekend inside watching great movies.

There’s a reason why brick and mortar bookstores are going out of business, and it can’t be blamed on Amazon. And with all the serious charities out there looking for support, I find it interesting that anyone would invest a dime in a dying business model. Especially when there are so many positive things to invest in that will make a huge difference in society.

I have mentioned this before, but I’ll do it again. When I owned my art gallery in New Hope for ten years in the 1990’s, I saw more brick and mortar bookstores come and go than I can even count now. Bookstores going out of business isn’t something new to this century. You can’t blame that on Amazon because Amazon wasn’t even a thought with most people back then. At the time, the bookstore owners blamed it on Borders and large chain bookstores back then. They were nice people, but not good business people.

I didn’t see the makers of home permanents taking out a kickstarter campaign when frizzy hair styles went out of style. And what about record stores?

I think the reason this bothers me so much is that there are a lot of great small businesses out there that are struggling to survive on limited funds. I know personally how difficult it is to keep a small business going for ten years when landlords keep raising the rent and other obstacles come into play. But I did it without hocking anyone for money, millions of other small businesses do it without hocking anyone for money, and so should brick and mortar bookstores. As far as I know, not one single community has collapsed since brick and mortar video stores went out of business.