If you want to be a writer, or you feel it’s your purpose in life to be one, then you’ve probably dreamed of being famous, and even making a living out of it. The publishing industry knows it, and now it’s cashing in on it with their pay-to-play schemes and other antics would be writers should be aware of. Rather than doing it the old fashioned way, where publishers would search for potential authors by trawling through thousands of often rubbish manuscripts, they sign up would-be writers:
- For an average fee of up to $8000.00 would-be writers can have their ebook edited, produced and distributed by the publishing company. The publishing companies then monitor the sales of the ebook – at no financial risk or waste for them – and then publishers make their decision to invest in future books by the author based on $ sales. Publishers can’t lose.
- For an average fee of up to $8000.00 publishing companies sign up would-be writers as students into learn-how-to-write courses to teach them to produce one decent piece. This is then edited, produced and distributed as a part of a larger project, with a few big author names making a written contribution, and lending their faces to marketing and promotional activities, which guarantees the $ sales promised to the student would-be writers. The publishers and their famous authors can’t lose.
These are ingenious ways for publishing companies to raise easy money since they are now in the throes of a paperless and technological revolution. As long as the would-be writers have enough money to support their vanity and egos, there will always be a market for pay-to-play schemes.
Other desperation tactics employed by the publishing industry to generate sales, and take advantage of a love of writing, are suggestions that writers have been doing it all wrong up until now. They have been doing it without consciousness. They have been writing unconsciously.
These claims are in reaction to worn out formulaic writing methods. There are benefits and drawbacks to formulas. Writing to a formula, especially for fiction, is getting predictable. You can tell what will happen next, and you know how it’s going to end because the Hero’s Journey formula has been applied as the outline for the story. These types of formulas have been overused and now readers and movie goers are intimately familiar with them. Formulas are a good starting point and act as creative containers and pathways for would-be writers, but there comes a point in learning where you must undo the learning if you want to create your own voice and style. This is where practise, practise and more practise is the only way to find it, and as a consequence, there are some writers who don’t subscribe to any formulaic manner of writing. They are well-seasoned writers, usually with many years of writing experience. Their creativity freeranges up and down and into and out of their inner creative valleys, mountains, rivers, oases and deserts. These are the writers who are not convinced that subscribing to the emergence of yet another formula, known as ensouling language, is any better. Publishers and established authors selling the formula for ensouling language to aspiring authors and would-be writers the idea that language has been bastardised and now it must be ensouled via yet another method or formula, is more lucrative for the author and publisher of such books and ideas, than it is to prospective authors, writers and would-be writers.
The purpose of media and advertising is to make you think you are missing something and you must purchase the missing piece if you want to be complete. The depth to which you think you are missing it will equal how much you are prepared to pay to get hold of it. In this case, these authors and publishers are telling you that you are incomplete as a writer unless you learn how to ensoul your language. It is a smooth and shiny way for publishing companies to use their marketing dollars to make writers wrong in their use of language and to imply that they are missing the pot of gold, because it can only be found, at best, once they ensoul their language by enrolling in a course to do so, or at least, to buy their book. The publishers and their authors can’t lose.
There is a proverb that tells aspirants, “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him.” As a writer, what is needed is not another formula to follow as you write, but to unlearn what you have learned as a writer or author if you want to improve your skills. If you really want to hone your craft, then dedicate yourself to it. Just do it. Stop talking about it. Forget the workshops and the courses. Stop chatting online about writing tips and posting famous quotes. Stop reading about it and start writing instead. Show up on time, all the time. Practise it every day, and if you are a budding writer, then you are destined to go down a number of formulaic tracks until you cut them down, break them in half, keep some and push through the rest. You have to do more than go off the beaten track. You have to pioneer your own.
NOTE: The Hero’s Journey® is a registered trademark, in Australia, of Gail Goodwin. The trademark is registered for the following: Personal and professional development training, counselling and consulting in personality typing, chakras and archetypes.