Is all this just a waste of time?

WasatchWind

Writer, musician, creator of worlds
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My plan all this time has been - write drafts for books I want to write on sites like this. Then I finish the first draft, do a couple revisions, then take the story off of the site. Then I try to get an editor to pick it up, and after trying a bunch of manuscripts with a bunch of publishers, hopefully get one to pick up my stories.

But I've just been informed by a professional editor that was on the Royal Road forums that if I finish even that first draft on one of these sites, it will likely mean that it can never be published. Even the first draft, in it's jagged messy form, that may look very different from the final product, is too similar, and therefore, voids first publishing rights. This means that any publisher has no interest in it, because they did not get the right to sell my story first, and as such they will have not interest in it.

I feel distraught. Many times I've wanted to just toss aside my writing. People IRL don't really care about my writing, and I haven't had much luck with keeping it contained in google docs (is even sharing it with those few strangers online voiding the rights as well?) but few people showed interest.

But when I posted on sites like these, I got actual feedback, people who actually were interested in my writing. I decided not to give up, and have been in a recent surge of creative fire.

Then reality had to smother it. I don't see much of a way forward. I don't want to ruin things for my readers, and I doubt most of them will be willing to jump on a more private method of reading. I don't think I'd have much will to write stuff that I believe to be utter crap without reader validation.

But according to this professional editor, publishers are stuck in the past where they think authors are still writing on typewriters, and thus find things like what I'm doing unacceptable.

I never wanted to be a fulltime professional author, but I saw it as something that was going to keep me going in life. I wanted to, in addition to a normal job, work towards that amazing goal of publishing a novel, even if it's just one. But now... I just kind of want to give up.

Some people might say that if I enjoy it, that's all that matters. But I enjoy it because I get to share it with people. If all I have is the dead end promise of maybe a handful of readers on these sites, that feels like a failure to me, even if they are passionate about my work. Keeping it private just makes me feel like some weird lunatic guy writing stories about mermaids and whatever fantasy nonsense pops into his head.

I just don't know what to do. Traditional publishing is sounding more difficult than I thought it was, and trying to shut me out, and self publishing feels like it will cause a traditional high fantasy novel like mine to be lost in the shuffle.

The professional editor suggested that I consult someone in the industry. I'm just a lost scared 23 year old child hiding in a man's body. I don't have any idea how to network with gigantic publishing industries. I barely know how to ask a girl out on a date.

I just feel worn out and tired. I lost interest in drawing after elementary school. I lost interest in game development in college. And now when I thought I'd finally found a creative spark again, it's slipping away too.
 

Tessa_Renalds

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I get it. I talked with several publishers and editors about similar things. Writing and publishing are two different beasts entirely. When I was publishing with a small writing house it was the most stressful and heart wrenching moments in my life.
As time moved on, I came to the realization that my idea was crap but I enjoyed that crap. I know some of my friends who enjoyed it, shared their perspectives and ideas of what they thought, and then cheered me on even when I went a self publishing route.
Publishing can be a monster, but if you have the drive and fortitude to push through the muck, it may not pay off, but you can say that you did it. Not many people can say that, at least from where I come from. I lost so much of my own money to self publish though.
 

Reisinling

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But when I posted on sites like these, I got actual feedback, people who actually were interested in my writing. I decided not to give up, and have been in a recent surge of creative fire.

Then reality had to smother it. I don't see much of a way forward. I don't want to ruin things for my readers, and I doubt most of them will be willing to jump on a more private method of reading. I don't think I'd have much will to write stuff that I believe to be utter crap without reader validation.

But according to this professional editor, publishers are stuck in the past where they think authors are still writing on typewriters, and thus find things like what I'm doing unacceptable.

I never wanted to be a fulltime professional author, but I saw it as something that was going to keep me going in life. I wanted to, in addition to a normal job, work towards that amazing goal of publishing a novel, even if it's just one. But now... I just kind of want to give up.

There seems to be a general belief that traditional publishing industry is.. pretty much dying in the west. At least in the sectors that appeal to modern audiences. Not to say it is all doom and gloom, but your chances of getting picked up, and succeeding that way are super slim.

I agree that your tags are harder to push on sites like RR and SH, but take note that it is related to why its more popular in printed media- in online world you have to adapt faster to trends and preferences, while published novels tend to target older, less internet-breathing audience (or at least less internet-breathing when relating to books).

If you hope to make this your career/earn side income, I strongly suggest continuing to build audience, and trying to go patreon route, (or use one of the sites that allow you to sell advanced chapters).

Also, its harder than ever to publish with big houses, because they have to compete with self published novels! What difference does it make to you if your novel has penguin logo on it if it sold the same number of novels (however unlikely that is) with print on demand? If you look at top novels on this site many have printed versions available, and they seem to sell a few thousand copies, so it is possible!
 

Mihou

Firefly—
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I get it. I talked with several publishers and editors about similar things. Writing and publishing are two different beasts entirely. When I was publishing with a small writing house it was the most stressful and heart wrenching moments in my life.
As time moved on, I came to the realization that my idea was crap but I enjoyed that crap. I know some of my friends who enjoyed it, shared their perspectives and ideas of what they thought, and then cheered me on even when I went a self publishing route.
Publishing can be a monster, but if you have the drive and fortitude to push through the muck, it may not pay off, but you can say that you did it. Not many people can say that, at least from where I come from. I lost so much of my own money to self publish though.
How's the outcome from self-publishing, have you lost a lot but also gained some or lost a lot and lost everything?
 

ArcanePunkster

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Sometimes it's worst to publish with companies as they'll try to make you change your concept to fit the current trend that sells in bookstores not what people want to read online.

From my experience you're better off doing something like a Patreon or something similar nowadays for writers like ourselves. Before you even get past the first point I made you'll have to convince these companies that what you're writing is going to sell and make them money.

Also exclusively writing on sites like RoyalRoad, ScribbleHub, Wattpad and so on gives you the freedom to write what you want and to most likely find your most niche readers/following.

For example look at some of the most popular Light Novels that have been turned into Anime/Manga a lot of them were stories that started out as web novels that over time grew a massive fan base. I'm not saying you should follow this or write a light novel esque story here, but it just goes to show that big companies aren't the only way forward to reaching your goal.

At the end of the day it's your choice how you go about this situation, but if we're giving you advice as a friend I would personally urge to stick with self publishing/writing web novels.
 

Tessa_Renalds

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How's the outcome from self-publishing, have you lost a lot but also gained some or lost a lot and lost everything?
I haven’t gotten any sales through Amazon. My loss of profit is around 3,000-5,000 US dollars. I also actively go to conventions and sell in person, which helps but even then the cost never balances out. I’ve been in the red for YEARs.
 

Razmatazz

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I don't understand, your plan didn't work out so you're gonna give up? It's that easy, huh? Make a new plan, man. Why do you care if a 'professional' publisher takes your book? They're an outdated dinosaur model that we still attribute some societal-prestige too, despite their scummy practices.

There are dozens of other roads open to you if you keep pushing forward. Some examples -

  1. You can literally self-publish for free on Amazon these days and Amazon has a bigger market than even the biggest other publishing houses
  2. You can write on SH/RR etc and make advance chapters for Patreon
  3. You can post your stories and offer writing commissions on the side

All of these come with their own caveats and all of them require their own mountain of work to push through. But the ways are there, you just need to be willing to walk them long enough. And I mean long enough. Years. But you know what? The year is going to end if you spend it writing or not, so you might as well.

Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face~ Mike Tyson
 

Reisinling

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For example look at some of the most popular Light Novels that have been turned into Anime/Manga a lot of them were stories that started out as web novels that over time grew a massive fan base. I'm not saying you should follow this or write a light novel esque story here, but it just goes to show that big companies aren't the only way forward to reaching your goal.
Some companies are trying to copy the Japanese model in the west as well (taking online novel, publishing it, then making movies out of it, here usually live action). - though the results were... mixed .
 

WasatchWind

Writer, musician, creator of worlds
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If you hope to make this your career/earn side income, I strongly suggest continuing to build audience, and trying to go patreon route, (or use one of the sites that allow you to sell advanced chapters).

Also, its harder than ever to publish with big houses, because they have to compete with self published novels! What difference does it make to you if your novel has penguin logo on it if it sold the same number of novels (however unlikely that is) with print on demand? If you look at top novels on this site many have printed versions available, and they seem to sell a few thousand copies, so it is possible!

Yeah, I see little chance of doing much with patreon. People have already pointed out time and again, my story just doesn't succeed here like others do. It will get lost in the shuffle on Amazon. A humble patreon will not feed my family.

And yeah, the big publishers may be competing with the self published novels... but if I take that route I ain't going to make any money. That's the reason why they're failing, is because sites like these are all giving away this stuff for free.
 

someguysomeone

One of the dime a dozen undead
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I asked myself same question and made lot of profile posts. kind of even privated my own profile .
The answer is yes. It is a waste of time. I am not giving a pep talk. Statistically it is a waste of time there are only so many books which could be popular and is not going to benefit you what so ever.Starving artist and philosopher trope exists for a reason.


If you are beyond caring and would still waste your life away in naive idealism. Then be my guest and try.

If you have to force yourself to do something then i personally don't think there is any value in doing it or not doing it.
I don't mean not doing is better. I am just saying weather you do it or weather you don't do it . One option won't be better than other option.
 

WasatchWind

Writer, musician, creator of worlds
Joined
Feb 7, 2021
Messages
397
Points
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Sometimes it's worst to publish with companies as they'll try to make you change your concept to fit the current trend that sells in bookstores not what people want to read online.

From my experience you're better off doing something like a Patreon or something similar nowadays for writers like ourselves. Before you even get past the first point I made you'll have to convince these companies that what you're writing is going to sell and make them money.

Also exclusively writing on sites like RoyalRoad, ScribbleHub, Wattpad and so on gives you the freedom to write what you want and to most likely find your most niche readers/following.

For example look at some of the most popular Light Novels that have been turned into Anime/Manga a lot of them were stories that started out as web novels that over time grew a massive fan base. I'm not saying you should follow this or write a light novel esque story here, but it just goes to show that big companies aren't the only way forward to reaching your goal.

At the end of the day it's your choice how you go about this situation, but if we're giving you advice as a friend I would personally urge to stick with self publishing/writing web novels.

But my story is not a light novel. Things work differently here. Not every story is Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. You don't get an amazing movie or TV show. If I don't traditionally publish, no one interested in my genre will actually find my book. A patreon isn't going to feed my family. Unless of course, I choose to follow the advice of some professional authors, and forsake the idea of getting married and having children, because that's obviously less important than your creative vision.

And on that note, I've heard that's a super big myth that a lot of new authors have, that a publisher will horribly disfigure your story - and that it rarely happens. If you actually get a response back from an editor saying they want to pick up your story, it means that they want your story, not whatever they're going to try to twist it into.
 

someguysomeone

One of the dime a dozen undead
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"Don't Try" -Charles Bukowski
He lived a shit life. He only got popular in his 50s even though he had been writing since he was a kid .He worked in a post office and still wrote.

It was by luck that someone decided to publish him and it sold well. Even after it sold it did not mean his life got any less shittier.

I am certain there were many people like enstien who never got popular because they weren't born in the right time after the right experiment.
Cause only one person can be the first to discover special realtivity. The first person who discovered it after the experiment where they measured speed of light won. Everyone else who had the idea after that was fucked. Most child prodigies also don't do shit.

Statistically no one here is Enstien or a genius. Seriously half of obscure genius had a pretty shit life.
 

someguysomeone

One of the dime a dozen undead
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Don't do my man dirty. If you are going to try, go all the way.
You don't choose to go all the way. You just do let yourself go and see what you are doing. Don't try if you have to force yourself to go all the way
 

Tessa_Renalds

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I think that’s up to whoever is writing to determine whether it’s a “waste of time” or not. Even though I’ve been through some bad crap due to terrible decisions, I never once thought it was a waste of time. I considered the time of my writing a period of growth, and it always continues.
but again it’s dependent upon the person and their thoughts on it.

And on that note, I've heard that's a super big myth that a lot of new authors have, that a publisher will horribly disfigure your story - and that it rarely happens. If you actually get a response back from an editor saying they want to pick up your story, it means that they want your story, not whatever they're going to try to twist it into.
Not necessarily true. Sometimes editors will get in contact with a writer to extort money for their services—and leave the writer on to dry. Sometimes you have to be careful with whom you get in contact with, especially those who try to reach out.
 

Reisinling

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Yeah, I see little chance of doing much with patreon. People have already pointed out time and again, my story just doesn't succeed here like others do. It will get lost in the shuffle on Amazon. A humble patreon will not feed my family.

And yeah, the big publishers may be competing with the self published novels... but if I take that route I ain't going to make any money. That's the reason why they're failing, is because sites like these are all giving away this stuff for free.

Think of it like f2p games- switch to f2p actually makes MORE money to the industry, it's just more continous and less front loaded.

Most popular writers on RR and SH make over 10k$ a month including amazon book sales. Though it depends on your model and marketing skills. If you want to feed family by writing you are unlikely to succeed, period - in one of his lectures Brandon Sanderson talked about how, when he graduated from fancy university with writing degree, out of his class where all people tried to become writers full time, only something like 20% succeeded. And that was super high. And before the self-publishing days. Path of art is always hard.

And don't misunderstand it as me saying that printed books suck or anything, or as hate towards publishers, but man, if you believed it was ever easy to earn money writing or even remotely likely, you are naive. Even famous authors had to earn money in other ways for years before becoming successfull writers- Hunter S Thompson, D. F. Wallace, Hemmingway - they had to be reporters, and/or write short technical stuff. People who send novels to big publishing houses and got accepted, and magically became able to earn money by writing are exceptions of exceptions.

You also seem to think that serialising novels is somehow less, shit ton of famous novels (and respected) were serials.. just serialised in literary magazines that sold books chapter by chapter. "I Robot", (many early asimov works actually?), I think many works by Lovecraft, or with traditional literature for example Lalka (noble prize winning, sorry if you don't know it but it's super big deal in my country :P)

Video on publishing:
 

someguysomeone

One of the dime a dozen undead
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Everything doesn't have to be motivating.
A man is allowed to say "Most likely it won't work"
 
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