Author Topic: What makes a 100k author?  (Read 43560 times)  

Offline Chris Fox

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1888
  • Gender: Male
  • Mill Valley, CA
    • View Profile
    • Chris Fox Writes
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #125 on: June 12, 2017, 10:40:16 AM »
The word outlier doesn't mean random, and it doesn't have anything to do with how hard you worked. It's a statistical term that refers to a data point that doesn't fall within the same range as the bulk of the other data points. ;)

Right, but that's not how people often use it. Especially here. Outlier often gets wielded like a club (not that I think David was doing that). Having now been hit by that club a few times I get why people are sensitive. It sucks having your direct experience dismissed based not on the fact that you failed, but that you succeeded too well.




Offline Becca Mills

  • Moderator
  • Status: Emily Dickinson
  • *****
  • Posts: 7879
  • Gender: Female
  • U.S.
    • View Profile
    • The Active Voice
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #126 on: June 12, 2017, 10:47:51 AM »
You didn't call anyone an outlier, but someone called Annie one. The problem is that when someone successful gives advice and is dismissed because they're an "outlier" then it leaves little reason for them to give advice again and is also a huge failure on the part of those seeking advice to not study successful authors and see the things that they are all doing. We are all doing certain things.

I stopped posting here for a couple years because every time I did, I got "but you're an outlier" essentially meaning, my viewpoint didn't count or matter to those here. So I figured why post.

The irony is, in every sport, playing with people better than you elevates your game and I've done the same thing with writing/publishing. I try to surround myself with highly successful people because of the energy and ideas they have. It pushes me to work harder/better.

Jana, I think several of your recent posts have brought up this issue of feeling frequently disrespected here. I'm sorry you're having that experience.

In this case, Annie posted to point out that she does not fully fit the profile Written Word developed for $100K authors, with its average of 30 books published, or a couple of the practices other very successful authors have mentioned in this thread (heavy advertising, use of a VA). She was then called an "outlier" by someone who I'm pretty sure is also a six-figure earner, someone I presume does advertise heavy or use a VA or have 30 books out. So I'm not seeing any disrespect/ignoring of the very successful by the less successful, here; rather, I'm seeing the very successful disagreeing among themselves a little and/or pointing out there is some diversity of practices within their own echelon.

Others are always free to take or reject advice, of course, but if responses cross over into rudeness or otherwise break KB's forum decorum, please report them. This goes for everyone.




Offline Rosalind J

  • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
  • *******
  • Posts: 5223
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #127 on: June 12, 2017, 10:59:49 AM »
I think there's something, some X factor, that's hard to spot and account for, which is one reason why things can seem random. You can call it talent or skill or whatever--a way of making the story feel immediate, making it hooky. I thought I was just lucky at first, but part of it was that I deliberately wrote three books with a really strong and different hook, and then I titled the series and the books well and put covers on them that made them more visible. But it was the idea of the first book, the hook, that really sold them. I started thinking it was more than luck when my next series did very well, even though it was quite different. I think "voice" matters a whole lot, and you don't know whether you have an attractive voice (so to speak) until you put the work out there.

I've been a six-figure author from the beginning, mid-six from Year 2 on, but there was no way I was good enough to be a seven-figure author. My first book was my first fiction, and it shows. The book's sold well (about 100K copies in English ebook, 40K more in German), but I think if I'd done some things better, it could have done much better than that. Only about half the people who read it go on to read the next one.

Now, I think I might be getting there as far as the skill level, and indeed, I'll probably hit high six figures this year. What holds me back now is more the marketing aspect (I freely admit I don't do much), which includes not writing directly enough to my most profitable market. (Because I like to do different things.) I've written 23 books now, though, in these five years, more than 2 million words of fiction, and I've worked really hard to improve. That's mostly my goal--just to get better, to write things that delight people, to hit the notes right.

Perhaps saying all that invites potshots, and indeed, not everybody likes what I do. Not at all. Everybody doesn't have to like what you do, though. I don't think I write extremely mass market--Crystal has a word for it, but I can't remember what it is. Something about having very broad appeal. You just need to appeal to enough people to make up a solid audience.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 10:57:25 PM by Rosalind J »

Offline SA_Soule

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1185
  • Gender: Female
  • Northern CA
  • Author, Creativity Coach, & Avid Reader
    • View Profile
    • Amazon Author Profile
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #128 on: June 12, 2017, 11:09:42 AM »
I always advise new authors to put out the very best product you can. Beg borrow or steal (not really!) so you can get pro covers (even premade for $35 - $50) and get someone to -- at minimum -- proofread you work. You have to compete with the top sellers for visibility. Treat yourself like a pro. Pros get pro editing and pro cover design. They work hard. In the end, the rest is up to the book and how well the author tells the story.

This is good advice and so true. Writers should always be striving to improve their craft and studying the market.  ;D

Offline Crystal_

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1839
  • Gender: Female
  • Portland, OR
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #129 on: June 12, 2017, 11:13:36 AM »
All six figure writers are outliers and we're all lucky. That doesn't mean we don't work hard or that we don't haven't good business advice. Luck factors into some​ people's success more than others-- I know one author who succeeds even when she does everything wrong and another who flounders even when she does everything right-- but it is some element of success for everyone. That's true in every endeavor.

Everyone comes into this with certain advantages and disadvantages and finds more along the way. One person might keep getting Amazon deal of the day/months, another might write a great book that gets swallowed up in an ocean of similar hold because it suddenly became a trend, another might hit a trend a little earlier and get a huge boost from that. Or they might publish a week when also-ran are funky and lose a ton of visibility. Or publish during the election when book sales are a crater. Or get picked up by a blogger because they were in the right place at the right time. There are so many ways you can get lucky or unlucky in this job. It evens out over time, in theory, but it can be frustrating short term. All we can do is keep writing and marketing.

Good is relative, and sometimes good and commerical don't play well for a certain project or author. A lot of us chose a lower ceiling so we can write stuff we like more and that's okay too.

Offline Rosie A.

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 36
  • Gender: Female
  • U.S.A.
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #130 on: June 12, 2017, 11:14:54 AM »
The word outlier doesn't mean random, and it doesn't have anything to do with how hard you worked. It's a statistical term that refers to a data point that doesn't fall within the same range as the bulk of the other data points. ;)
Math wasn't my strong suit. :D I thought the term meant something different in the context of this conversation and only wanted to point out that it takes a lot of work and patience to get to such a point in this industry.

Offline Jana DeLeon

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1092
    • View Profile
    • Author website:
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #131 on: June 12, 2017, 01:49:18 PM »
Jana, I think several of your recent posts have brought up this issue of feeling frequently disrespected here. I'm sorry you're having that experience.

Actually, that's not it at all. To feel disrespected, I'd have to care what others thought and that's something I stopped doing a long time ago. It's the kindest thing you can do for yourself and I highly recommend it.

What I get is aggravated that successful authors spend time trying to help and the advice, which is often applicable to every writer in every genre, is summarily dismissed because of the success of the person saying it. THEN there is thread after thread complaining about lack of sales, when everything people need to know is right here but some refuse to listen.

Someone said earlier that if every successful author made a list of 10 things we do, we'd probably have 7 or more in common. I totally agree with that statement because I know several seven figure authors and a ton of mid to upper six figure authors and we all share similar work habits and business plans. To say that someone highly successful can no longer give advice to new authors is basically saying they can no longer remember two, three, five years ago. I doubt any of us has forgotten what it took to get here. We're still in the trenches. It doesn't get easier.
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author

Online Lorri Moulton

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 469
  • Gender: Female
  • Author of Romances, Mysteries, and Fairytales
    • View Profile
    • Lavender Lass Books
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #132 on: June 12, 2017, 03:38:42 PM »
All six figure writers are outliers and we're all lucky. That doesn't mean we don't work hard or that we don't haven't good business advice. Luck factors into some​ people's success more than others-- I know one author who succeeds even when she does everything wrong and another who flounders even when she does everything right-- but it is some element of success for everyone. That's true in every endeavor.

Everyone comes into this with certain advantages and disadvantages and finds more along the way. One person might keep getting Amazon deal of the day/months, another might write a great book that gets swallowed up in an ocean of similar hold because it suddenly became a trend, another might hit a trend a little earlier and get a huge boost from that. Or they might publish a week when also-ran are funky and lose a ton of visibility. Or publish during the election when book sales are a crater. Or get picked up by a blogger because they were in the right place at the right time. There are so many ways you can get lucky or unlucky in this job. It evens out over time, in theory, but it can be frustrating short term. All we can do is keep writing and marketing.

Good is relative, and sometimes good and commerical don't play well for a certain project or author. A lot of us chose a lower ceiling so we can write stuff we like more and that's okay too.

I very much agree.  Whether you call it luck, timing, random events...there is always an element of chance in any industry. 

Getting in at the beginning of a trend, happening to be in the right place at the right time, knowing someone who knows someone who needs an extra blog post...you can't always control these moments.  But being ready for that opportunity is something we can control, so make the most of it! :)


Please visit my Amazon author page to see my books...99 cents each, for the month of April.
Lorri Moulton | Website | Amazon | Facebook | Twitter

Online ebbrown

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2131
  • Gender: Female
  • South Jersey
  • Insulting the written word, one word at a time
    • View Profile
    • Amazon Author Page E.B. Brown
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #133 on: June 12, 2017, 03:47:58 PM »
I think there's something, some X factor, that's hard to spot and account for, which is one reason why things can seem random. You can call it talent or skill or whatever--a way of making the story feel immediate, making it hooky. I thought I was just lucky at first, but part of it was that I deliberately wrote three books with a really strong and different hook, and then I titled the series and the books well and put covers on them that made them more visible. But it was the idea of the first book, the hook, that really sold them. I started thinking it was more than luck when my next series did very well, even though it was quite different. I think "voice" matters a whole lot, and you don't know whether you have an attractive voice (so to speak) until you put the work out there.

Agree. There are so many factors that can't be quantified when it comes to a lot of this business. Ultimately, if you're not resonating with readers, doing all the "right things" still won't help make up for the missing "X factor".

Offline Justin Jordan

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 63
  • Gender: Male
  • The Wilds of Pennsylvania
  • Doesn't Talk Much
    • View Profile
    • HyperPulp 5000
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #134 on: June 12, 2017, 05:29:11 PM »
Man, this is baffling.

Not doing the same stuff as other people who are other wise similar to you do is literally being an outlier.

But especially in the context it first cropped up in this thread, that outlierness is relevant. Annie (and apologies for speaking for her) was specifically making the point about stuff she doesn't do on the list of stuff that most six figures authors in that survey do not being critical for success. Or, rather, that being an outlier didn't mean you couldn't be a six figure author.

If for instance, you found most NBA stars are over six foot six, Spud Webb would be an outlier who proves that it's necessary to be tall to succeed. But at the same time, context would show that your chances are BETTER if you are. And the flipside is true - merely being tall is not enough. So acknowledging when something or someone actually is an outlier is important for evaluating the points being made, in both direction. It's worth knowing you can hit six figures* with minimal advertising and no VA and less than thirty books. It's also worth knowing that the people in this study mostly did use VA's and advertising and had lots of books.

Or for a personal example: I write comic books for a living. I got a job writing for DC comics when I had exactly ONE book out from a professional publisher. This makes me an outlier. Knowing that this can be done is useful to someone trying to do what I do, but it's also worth knowing that most of the time, that's not what happens.

(Indeed, the actual story of how that happened involves factors that I couldn't replicate myself, let alone tell someone else how to do.)

*In this study.

Offline C. Gockel

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3682
  • Chicago, IL
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #135 on: June 12, 2017, 05:49:44 PM »
My guess is that everyone who was surveyed has a few ways they don't fit the profile.

I'd take what you can use--maybe you write slow, but you can advertise more, for instance--and customize it to suit you.

I'm not a six figure author, but now that I know that the average six figure author has 30 books out I feel better. I'll get to 30 books ... in another eight years or so.



I write books about Change, Chaos, and Loki
C. Gockel | facebook | tumblr | website

Offline nikkykaye

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 90
  • Frisky. Funny. Fearless.
    • View Profile
    • Nikky Kaye
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #136 on: June 12, 2017, 07:29:37 PM »
IFor example, Vi Keeland is one of the top writers in romance. She writes great books with hooky blurbs and nice covers, but her writing, covers, and blurbs are not signnifigcanly better than other authors who make 1/2 or 1/5 or 1/10 what she does.

Crystal, you just hit on the thing that has been my biggest enemy in the last year--the toxic whining of "why not me?"

I'm a pretty decent writer, and have been compared to Lauren Blakely and Vi Keeland--both of whom I read and enjoy and whose careers I would love to have. And I'm getting professional covers and have a publicist helping me and grown my list to 4k in the ten months or so since I started, and been a bestseller in a subcategory, but... I've yet to crack $500/month.

So there's that horrible, cringe-inducing part of me that is frustrated and wondering what to do differently. AFAIK, when people read me, they keep reading me. And that is picking up a little. I had a free promo last week that netted 15k downloads in a few days, and I have sales and reads across my entire catalogue daily. So I'm hopeful that new readers are discovering me. I just need another 100,000 of them. ;)

I think a lot of being a "creative" of any kind means that you're half narcissist, half plagued with insecurity and self-doubt. It's a nasty combination sometimes. It's too easy to get wound up in comparing yourself to others, and I know for myself that it just ends in negative emotions. I'm better off when I compare myself to where I was three books ago, or six months ago.

Online anniejocoby

  • Status: Arthur C Clarke
  • *****
  • Posts: 2087
  • Gender: Female
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #137 on: June 12, 2017, 10:26:50 PM »
Crystal, you just hit on the thing that has been my biggest enemy in the last year--the toxic whining of "why not me?"

I'm a pretty decent writer, and have been compared to Lauren Blakely and Vi Keeland--both of whom I read and enjoy and whose careers I would love to have. And I'm getting professional covers and have a publicist helping me and grown my list to 4k in the ten months or so since I started, and been a bestseller in a subcategory, but... I've yet to crack $500/month.

So there's that horrible, cringe-inducing part of me that is frustrated and wondering what to do differently. AFAIK, when people read me, they keep reading me. And that is picking up a little. I had a free promo last week that netted 15k downloads in a few days, and I have sales and reads across my entire catalogue daily. So I'm hopeful that new readers are discovering me. I just need another 100,000 of them. ;)

I think a lot of being a "creative" of any kind means that you're half narcissist, half plagued with insecurity and self-doubt. It's a nasty combination sometimes. It's too easy to get wound up in comparing yourself to others, and I know for myself that it just ends in negative emotions. I'm better off when I compare myself to where I was three books ago, or six months ago.

I feel ya. I had some serious early success in romance, then started spinning my wheels and never stopped. Romance is a brutal, brutal genre just because it's so saturated. So, don't beat yourself up! And, as Perry Constantine shows, all it takes is one hit. Eh, no, strike that - I had two series hit, and then went into the toilet.

Actually, this biz is more like a rollercoaster. And it's definitely not for the faint of heart.

Hang in there!

Two dollars! Two dollars! I want my two dollars!!!
Annie Jocoby | ]Badge[/url] | Annie Jocoby website

Offline sela

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1257
  • Gender: Female
  • Planet Earth is blue and there's nothing I can do.
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #138 on: June 12, 2017, 10:43:07 PM »
I feel ya. I had some serious early success in romance, then started spinning my wheels and never stopped. Romance is a brutal, brutal genre just because it's so saturated. So, don't beat yourself up! And, as Perry Constantine shows, all it takes is one hit. Eh, no, strike that - I had two series hit, and then went into the toilet.

Actually, this biz is more like a rollercoaster. And it's definitely not for the faint of heart.

Hang in there!

This for sure.

Publishing is a roller coaster. I know a few authors who have gone up up up and then dowwwwn and then up again. Rinse. Repeat.

It can be tough to see the sales plummet and then rise again only to plummet and rise again. I've been lucky to stay in five figures a month for the past two years, but I've come darn near close to falling below five figures. I get a Bookbub that coincides with a new release and it's back up to mid five figures and then if I go a couple of months with no new release or Bookbub, it falls to half that and then down to almost below $10K. It can be dizzying.

You have to plan for those peaks and troughs between new releases and promotions. Most of all, you have to keep producing new books and keep promoting.

Offline Crystal_

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1839
  • Gender: Female
  • Portland, OR
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #139 on: June 12, 2017, 10:46:49 PM »
Crystal, you just hit on the thing that has been my biggest enemy in the last year--the toxic whining of "why not me?"

I'm a pretty decent writer, and have been compared to Lauren Blakely and Vi Keeland--both of whom I read and enjoy and whose careers I would love to have. And I'm getting professional covers and have a publicist helping me and grown my list to 4k in the ten months or so since I started, and been a bestseller in a subcategory, but... I've yet to crack $500/month.

So there's that horrible, cringe-inducing part of me that is frustrated and wondering what to do differently. AFAIK, when people read me, they keep reading me. And that is picking up a little. I had a free promo last week that netted 15k downloads in a few days, and I have sales and reads across my entire catalogue daily. So I'm hopeful that new readers are discovering me. I just need another 100,000 of them. ;)

I think a lot of being a "creative" of any kind means that you're half narcissist, half plagued with insecurity and self-doubt. It's a nasty combination sometimes. It's too easy to get wound up in comparing yourself to others, and I know for myself that it just ends in negative emotions. I'm better off when I compare myself to where I was three books ago, or six months ago.

My BFF and I say being an author is swinging wildly between narcissism and crippling self-doubt. I do better than most, but it's still really hard for me to not engage in that why not me. I thought it would go away once I hit my idea of success, and it did for a while, but my standards for myself raised, and I found myself at that place again. I think it's hard for everyone, and it gets harder the more you actively work on the business/marketing side of your career. Because it is a legitimate question--what can I do better, that will help me get to the next level--but it can be baffling when you can't figure it out.

I have on and off depression and anxiety, so my brain is always looking for ways to say "you're not good enough." With indie writing, all the evidence is right there in front of you! You can see so much of other authors' success (though ranking, reviews, etc. don't always tell the whole story). I get frustrated when I see friends do really well without heavy advertising, even when I'm happy for them, because I claw my way to every dollar I make. I'm not sure there's really a solution, except to take as much fulfillment as you can from the work itself, to save your money when you can, and to engage in all the other parts of your life so writing doesn't feel so life and death.

Like Annie, I've found that romance is a constant uphill climb. I don't have to climb as far and fast as when I started, but I have to keep advertising more, trying new stuff, upping my game, etc. just to stay in place. Algo tweaks keep hurting backlists, and romance keeps getting more crowded, and with .99 books and with authors with four-figure a day FB ad budgets.

There's a natural ebb and flow to income-- it goes up with sales and new releases and down with "drier" months--but I've seen non-release months drop lower and lower, and it's scary, even when you're doing well. It's hard out there.

Offline Becca Mills

  • Moderator
  • Status: Emily Dickinson
  • *****
  • Posts: 7879
  • Gender: Female
  • U.S.
    • View Profile
    • The Active Voice
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #140 on: June 12, 2017, 11:48:38 PM »
Actually, that's not it at all. To feel disrespected, I'd have to care what others thought and that's something I stopped doing a long time ago. It's the kindest thing you can do for yourself and I highly recommend it.

What I get is aggravated that successful authors spend time trying to help and the advice, which is often applicable to every writer in every genre, is summarily dismissed because of the success of the person saying it. THEN there is thread after thread complaining about lack of sales, when everything people need to know is right here but some refuse to listen.

Someone said earlier that if every successful author made a list of 10 things we do, we'd probably have 7 or more in common. I totally agree with that statement because I know several seven figure authors and a ton of mid to upper six figure authors and we all share similar work habits and business plans. To say that someone highly successful can no longer give advice to new authors is basically saying they can no longer remember two, three, five years ago. I doubt any of us has forgotten what it took to get here. We're still in the trenches. It doesn't get easier.

I think most of our members are grateful for advice from major authors, even when the message is sort of painful. But people being people, it'll never be 100%. There will always be those who show up expecting to have their choices validated and are shocked, angry, or resistant when they get a different message. When your brain is recoiling from advice you don't want to hear, it's natural to come up with some excuse, even a weird one like "you don't know what you're talking about because you're successful" (which is, yeah, really quite a strange argument).

I get students like that. They come into class knowing they're terrific writers, certain I have nothing to teach them, and they make their certainty a reality by refusing to read my comments on their papers, listen or participate in class, revise, or learn new skills. So, they get bad grades. It's college; they're grownups. If they don't want to learn, I can't make them. The experience of fairly regularly having students like that doesn't diminish the satisfaction I get from sharing my expertise with rest, who are eager to learn what I can teach them or are at least willing to be won over.

So I have to admit, I don't really understand being aggravated about folks who choose to reject advice. I mean ... who cares? To use author-speak, they're not your audience. The far larger number of people who want and are grateful for your advice are your audience. They're there on every thread, even if the initiator of the thread isn't listening. Most are invisible. Right now there are 153 registered users on the forum and 732 guests. People you don't know and who will never say anything are reading and benefiting from what you say here, always.




Offline BellaJames

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 624
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #141 on: June 13, 2017, 12:38:34 AM »
I think most of our members are grateful for advice from major authors, even when the message is sort of painful. But people being people, it'll never be 100%. There will always be those who show up expecting to have their choices validated and are shocked, angry, or resistant when they get a different message. When your brain is recoiling from advice you don't want to hear, it's natural to come up with some excuse, even a weird one like "you don't know what you're talking about because you're successful" (which is, yeah, really quite a strange argument).


I mentioned in my post on here (which no one probably read because it's long and I am not a bestselling author) but there are some people who want to write a book, are just about to publish a book or have published but are not selling who find some of the advice from major authors overwhelming. I see it all the time on different forums, blogs and comments on videos.

It's almost like a big hollywood actor or director is so successful and far removed that they cannot stand in your shoes today and understand what you are going through. I think some people forget that you were right where they are, you had to deal with self-doubt, coming up with ideas, research, hours of cranking out words, writing an entertaining book and then publishing with no guarantee of success.
You were a newbie author one day.

What annoys me is when people say that we can't compare ourselves to this mega selling author e.g. E.L.James, Stephanie Meyer, Amanda Hocking but I think we can learn a couple things from all these authors. Maybe how to deal with self-doubt and self-sabotage, how to stay focused or how to find ideas. Basic stuff like how to build a relationship with your readers, which Amanda Hocking was really good at doing. Her videos were good and she was so open.

I see a few major romance authors doing the same things.
I am watching Alessandra Torre and J.A. Huss's videos about writing and self publishing right now. It is brilliant to see these authors taking time out to post this information and advice. Will it help make every viewer into a major bestselling author, no but the advice and insight is going to help some gain more knowledge and give them some action steps they can try.






Offline notjohn

  • Status: Jane Austen
  • ***
  • Posts: 474
    • View Profile
    • Notjohn's Self-Publishing Guide
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #142 on: June 13, 2017, 03:49:31 AM »
Quote
I get students like that. They come into class knowing they're terrific writers, certain I have nothing to teach them, and they make their certainty a reality by refusing to read my comments on their papers, listen or participate in class, revise, or learn new skills. So, they get bad grades.

Yes! About 1970 I taught fiction writing in an alternative program at the state university (there was a lot of that kind of thing going on at the time). I loved it and sometimes wish I'd tried to get a teaching job in the "real" university when the alternative program was abandoned (there was a lot of that going on, too).

What astonished me was how good a couple of those kids were. I couldn't imagine where they were getting their stories from. But yes, there were others who just sat there with glazed eyes or never showed up at all. Alas, I couldn't give them bad grades, because the alternative university had done away with grades, in the spirit of the times. I could fail them, however, and I did that to the student who didn't show up. And I could write letters for them to the "real" teachers when they shifted out of the two-year program. I think I recommended two of them. Alas, AFAIK I don't think either became rich and famous as a writer.

Talent just isn't enough, which I think has been a constant in this discussion.


Online GeneDoucette

  • Status: Scheherazade
  • *****
  • Posts: 1593
    • View Profile
    • Gene Doucette's Blog
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #143 on: June 13, 2017, 03:51:44 AM »

I get students like that. They come into class knowing they're terrific writers, certain I have nothing to teach them, and they make their certainty a reality by refusing to read my comments on their papers, listen or participate in class, revise, or learn new skills. So, they get bad grades. It's college; they're grownups. If they don't want to learn, I can't make them. The experience of fairly regularly having students like that doesn't diminish the satisfaction I get from sharing my expertise with rest, who are eager to learn what I can teach them or are at least willing to be won over.

This reminds me of a story. it's not meant to contradict anything above, it's just something I was reminded of. I only ever took one creative writing course, in college, as an undergrad. This came after multiple playwriting classes and a non-fiction class. The feedback I got from the instructor (not a professor: someone with a masters in creative) was consistently of the 'this is bad writing i don't like it' variety, and I was getting increasingly frustrated because I flat-out did not agree with her opinion of my work. So in a one-on-one, after more back-and-forth, she said maybe I just wasn't cut out to be a writer.

At that point, I suggested she walk by the theater, because they had a poster on the wall with my name on it. I was the first student writer to have a play produced by the school's dramatic society in the history of the dramatic society, and it was in production as we spoke.

I think that the vast, vast majority of the time, if someone, many someones or the market itself says to a writer that they aren't doing something well, they need to listen. But sometimes, the person telling us this is wrong. The biggest challenge is figuring out when our egos are right about something.

Online RightHoJeeves

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 718
  • Gender: Male
  • Perth
    • View Profile
    • Lawson Copywriting
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #144 on: June 13, 2017, 06:02:42 AM »
Right now there are 153 registered users on the forum and 732 guests.

Is that all? I never counted or estimated but I just assumed there were thousands.

Wow. This makes me feel like I'm in the indie publishing Freemasons or something.

James Lawson

Offline Patty Jansen

  • Status: Isaac Asimov
  • ********
  • Posts: 11155
  • Gender: Female
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Destroyer of Science Fiction
    • View Profile
    • Patty Jansen Author of SF and fantasy
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #145 on: June 13, 2017, 06:06:22 AM »
Is that all? I never counted or estimated but I just assumed there were thousands.

Wow. This makes me feel like I'm in the indie publishing Freemasons or something.

No, she means *right now*. Browsing the forum, in the middle of the night in the US, the slowest time on the internet. The KB has over 60,000 members.

Online RightHoJeeves

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 718
  • Gender: Male
  • Perth
    • View Profile
    • Lawson Copywriting
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #146 on: June 13, 2017, 06:19:29 AM »
No, she means *right now*. Browsing the forum, in the middle of the night in the US, the slowest time on the internet. The KB has over 60,000 members.

Oh. Thought I was a bit of a snowflake there for a moment.

James Lawson

Offline Red Riley

  • Status: Dr. Seuss
  • *
  • Posts: 15
  • Gender: Female
  • Chicago
  • Red Riley #1: Chicago Blue, coming in September
    • View Profile
    • RedRileyBooks.com
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #147 on: June 13, 2017, 07:23:14 AM »
I'm not an outlier, but I'm a pretty good regular liar.
RRkboards by Tom Holbrook, on Flickr
Red Riley | Red Riley

Offline C. Gockel

  • Status: Dostoevsky
  • ******
  • Posts: 3682
  • Chicago, IL
    • View Profile
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #148 on: June 13, 2017, 08:22:48 AM »
Quote
I think that the vast, vast majority of the time, if someone, many someones or the market itself says to a writer that they aren't doing something well, they need to listen. But sometimes, the person telling us this is wrong. The biggest challenge is figuring out when our egos are right about something.

I only took one creative writing class in highschool. I got a 'C'. I'm sure my final project was immature, but the idea was pretty damn good, and I've thought about rewriting it.


I write books about Change, Chaos, and Loki
C. Gockel | facebook | tumblr | website

Offline Arches

  • Status: Madeleine L'Engle
  • **
  • Posts: 72
  • Gender: Male
  • Denver
    • View Profile
    • Michael Arches
Re: What makes a 100k author?
« Reply #149 on: June 13, 2017, 08:46:23 AM »
I'm not an outlier, but I'm a pretty good regular liar.

The term laughed out loud is overused, but I still laughed out loud.