Are you writing for your cat?

Sometimes I think that I may be writing for my cat, Thibodaux, because today’s paradigm for success seems to be one of two ways: (1) plug in lots of keywords so you can get it up there on page one of Google (ugh!); (2) Write like blazes, get out a novel every two weeks, sell it on Amazon as ebooks for ninety nine cents (.99!), and get rich! Hey, it can happen!

My friends, both of these fly in the face of the art and craft of writing. Of course you should write every day, and write a lot to perfect your craft and keep your flow moving. But to whore out by wanting my stuff to be on page one so badly that my attention is on getting the right keywords that people search for into my work? Your thoughts, while writing, are “where can I stick this essential word or phrase in so that it looks natural yet so that the spider algorithm will suck it up in its mindless mind and thrust my name high in the kingdom of Googleland.”

Is that creativity? Sacrificing your writer’s soul to rise into the inflated popularity of Google isn’t what I call being a writer—it is being a damn engineer or accountant. Your muse will go into a sulk or pout at your perfidy and you will have to rely on something besides her help. And being on page one of Google certainly won’t guarantee sales or substitute for quality.

OK, how about those guys like John Locke, who sold a million ebooks in six months? (I bought his book by the same title) I also bought a couple of his very fun little novels for .99, and enjoyed them. They are worth .99. He is turning them out like hotcakes. So he is creating a whole new genre of writership, and I must say I envy the production and talent. There are others who are turning out more than than that, like Russell Blake. Here I lifted a paragraph from a blog in Writer’s Village.

It’s illustrated by novelist Russell Blake who has self-published one ebook every five weeks for the past 30 months, sold 450,000 copies and earned around $1.5 million. He wrote one best-seller, Jet, in just 16 days. His output of 26 books in 2½ years outpaces that of Barbara Cartland (one every 40 days) and approaches that of Simenon (nearly 200 novels at the rate of one every 11 days).

John Yeoman, commentator for that August (and enjoyable) group and my new best friend, said this about it:

‘I must express my strong concerns about ‘word factories’ like Russell Blake who write a new a novel every month. They present a dangerous model for debut indies and demoralize us before we’ve begun.’

Really! I was wondering what that sinking feeling was. I felt as if the air had gone out of my tires and my sails and that I should just chuck it all for I didn’t belong in this new universe that spoke a different language. But that riles the cowboy in me and I know there is always going to be nosepickers for they are amongst us. We must cleave to our ideals and ignore their table manners and bad breath.
Amen.