I normally don't go near things like this, however, because so many newer writers get so much bad advice I wanted to post something short. And readers are a part of this, too, and they usually don't get all the information they should have.
A writer I don't know, Lorraine Devon Wilke, wrote a piece for Huff Po telling authors....actually, self-pubbed authors...they shouldn't publish more than four books a year. The first red flag for me is that she most likely wrote this post for Huff Po, for free, without any compensation...no money, not even twenty five bucks and a pat on the back. I don't know that for certain. Maybe she's on staff and they did pay her. However, my bet is she wrote it for free in an attempt to get publicity. And I have posted several times about how I feel about writing for big publications like Huff Po and not getting compensated. It's just shabby of Huff Po, or any *huge* publication, to treat writers this way, and I feel sorry for any writers who fall for this gimmick.
With that said, I think that if Ms. Wilke had written this piece with regard to her writing and how many books she feels comfortable publishing each year, I would not find a single issue. And that's because I've been in publishing for over twenty years, both trad pubbed and indie pubbed, and I've worked for and written for more magazines than I remember. I have never once seen a writer who falls into a set mold. In other words, all writers work differently and at different paces. And there's absolutely nothing that's ever going to change about that. No one can pigeonhole the creative process.
Unless they're four gorgeously written, painstakingly molded, amazingly rendered and undeniably memorable books. If you can pull off four of those a year, more power to you. But most can't. I'd go so far as to say no one can, the qualifier being good books.
After reading that, my first thought was should we tell her? Last I heard it's not really possible to distinguish good books or good writing because that's so subjective. That's why books like "The Help" are rejected numerous times before they get picked up. Subjective. You can spot bad writing at a glance, however, good writing is a completely different issue.
Then, after she refers to some indie writers hacks, she talks more about "good" books, as if she's become the expert of all books ever written that are "good."
As you move down, Ms. Wilke gives out more advice about how terrible it is to write and publish too many books a year. I'll admit that there's a great deal of exaggeration in the example she gives about publishing in volume, however, it's not totally false either. The plain fact is that unless you're in the ranks of Jonathan Franzen, volume does, indeed, make a big difference, especially with search engines. The more books you are able to publish each year the better your chances are. It's called competition. In fact, publishing is changing so much, and so fast, there's an author who actually publishes his first drafts, unedited, and his readers LOVE him. They can't get enough of him. I wouldn't do that, but I'm not going to judge him or his readers.
In between all this advice from Ms. Wilke, there's a lot of nonsense about "fine-tuning one's craft," and her book being a "work of art." In other words, water is wet and fire his hot.
I could continue, with examples, but I don't want to waste your time. My main point in linking to this post is that she's not totally wrong and she plays it safe for the most part, but it's not the kind of advice I would give to new authors, trad pubbed or indie pubbed. You can't tell a writer how to write. It won't end well. So once again, take this advice and all future advice like this with that proverbial grain of salt. Actually, don't even take my advice. What works for me might not work for you.
Oh, and one more thing no one ever mentions. Not to sound like Donald Trump calling bullshit on other politicians, but Ms. Wilke did do something very clever and seductive with this post. What did she do? She got attention and free publicity, which isn't easy to get. I'm posting about her right now and I don't even like Huff Po's content in general and I rarely ever link to it. So in a way I'm helping endorse her book. But I know I'm doing that. And it might be a "good" book for all I know.
You can read it all in full here. The comments are amusing.
Global Gay Rights
I know a lot of these things don't have anything to do with a lot of people who read this blog, but I do have a lot of LGBT social media readers who message me from time to time about books, gay rights, and other things directly related to the LGBT community, on a global scale. I send them arcs when they can't buy my books, and I listen. I think it's important to address these issues globally as well as nationally.
Here's an article about where gay rights are internationally.
We have a US president who supports gay marriage, and now a pope who, if not exactly signing up to equality for all, is at least starting to talk in language less inflammatory than his predecessor. "If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has goodwill, who am I to judge?" he told an assembled group of journalists on the papal plane back from his tour of Brazil. Then he went on to criticise the gay "lobby" and said he wasn't going to break with the catechism that said "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered". Still, for a brief moment it looked like a minor breakthrough.
You can read more here. Of course they fail to mention that it wasn't until recently we had a US President who supports gay marriage. I often fail to see how they forget these things so quickly. Up until very recently our President was on record stating it's up to the states to make their own decisions, which was the same stand both Clintons took. But I think that just proves how hard we've had it, and how much harder gays in other countries still have it.
Kim Davis Back At Work
I'm going to try to sum this up fast.
Kim Davis went back to work today.
She claims that she has an impossible choice...following her conscience in her quest to discriminate against same sex marriage, or not.
She agreed to this "emergency stopgap." Her clerk issued marriage licenses to gays without her name or endorsement.
She hid in her office while they worked all this out and Deputy Clerk, Brian Mason, worked on giving a marriage license to the one gay couple who showed up.
When he finally finished the license, he handed it to the couple and shook their hands. The document, a template issued by the state and filled out by each clerk, had been altered. Where the name of the clerk and the county is typically entered, it said instead "pursuant to federal court order."
You can read the rest here.
Unfortunately, we still don't know if the licenses are valid without Davis' consent. I've read varying opinions on this and I'm going by what I just read in that article.
Tom Hardy Dodges Sexuality Question
I'm not always sure where I stand on this topic. I've mentioned up front that Tony, my husband, worked in corporate America for a long time and no one ever knew he was gay. He couldn't take that risk. And each time someone made reference to his sexuality he responded much the same way Tom Hardy just responded to a reporter who tried to bait him. It's an offensive, not defensive, approach, calculated and planned, to intimidate the person questioning.
It's a difficult issue because it involves someone's livelihood and how they make their living. Tony was worried he'd lose his job if they found out he was gay. He had a great job; we have a mortgage. In Tony's case he eventually came out and stopped caring when he wound up dealing with life threatening pneumonia in 2007. When you're that close to death, being authentic counts more than ever. If he's had any regrets about coming out to work or to his family he's never mentioned them to me. And, while he was in the closet with work and family I never put any demands on him. I knew he had to be ready to come out, on his own terms. It wasn't up to me, not even his partner. We didn't discuss it and I never held it against him.
So in many ways, even though I respect everyone's right to privacy, they way Tom Hardy answered this reporter may have been clever, and he may have come off looking like a cool dude, but he's also supporting the age old passive aggressive shame that has always come along with being openly gay...or admitting, in public, to being openly LGBT. The shame is still there. Why else would he get that angry about the question? He just didn't want to be questioned about it. And in Hardy's defense, if my own husband still felt the need to keep his sexuality a secret in his professional life I would probably still support him. I wouldn't like it, but I'd understand it.
When the reporter started asking questions about Hardy's sexuality, this is how he replied:
“I don’t find it difficult for celebrities to talk about their sexuality,” Hardy answers Coleman before asking, “Um, are you asking me about my sexuality?”
“Um…sure,” says Coleman.
“Thank you,” Hardy says, moving on to the next question.
I think the reporter was being kind and I would have done the same thing if I'd been in his place. He must have realized he wasn't going to get anywhere and Hardy would continue to aggressively shoot him down.
You can see the video here, and read more.
And Hardy comes off as the hero...and no one even questions it, not even the gay people who left comments. It's just a good thing that people like Tom Hardy don't really make that much of a difference in the world or the LGBT community with regard to equality and discrimination. If they did, we'd all be in a shitload of trouble.