The Beast That Binds

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I’ve been blogging on-and-off about writing and publishing for a while now, but… as it turns out… I have some new things to say. So, there’ll be a few posts in between my usual craziness that’ll posture and ponder the current sad state of affairs.

And sad it is or can be. Change is uncomfortable in many reaches of this industry, from the newly published to veterans, from those who are still learning and those who teach. There are a million different scenarios depending upon what an author’s goals are and a billion more ways to get readers. BUT (and this is a big “but”) as varied as these situations are, the key difference between those who will make it and those who won’t are the authors who treat writing like a business.

I titled this post “the beast that binds” because, for anyone who wants to treat publishing like a hobby or a career, money is that terrifying creature. Publishing is a term that reflects a business process where an author produces a product with an intent to sell it to as many people as possible. Now, I know some of you may balk at the term “product” because a story is more than that. Sure it is and I’m of the mind that you have to have faith in art as ART in order to create whatever it is you do.

But here’s where I feel the problem lies — when an author stops believing that. How many times have I heard: “Oh, I can write better than ‘X’ who sold a zillion copies of books.” Or, “I can’t write as good as ‘X’ so if I pursue this I’m coming across as a pretentious jerk.” When you create a product to sell, you create YOUR product. You’ll never write just like Steven King because you’re not. Steven. King. Sure, go ahead and write better than [author of choice here]. But isn’t that subjective? Do you have as many rabid fans willing to pay money to buy your books? To fund your career?

It’s not glorious. It’s not pretty. Money is the cold, hard reality that gets in the way of just about anything we want to do. Anything. But here’s where a lot of authors differ. For some, money is everything. For others? Not so much. Those that are have a reputation of being a hack or a charlatan. Those who don’t? Fools. The question of when money factors into any author’s equation is a personal one, but I do know one thing: Yoda was right. Do or do not, there is no try.

Sometimes, that just means you have to keep trying.

    Mood: Pulp-y with a side of OJ
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: In recovery. (SERIOUSLY.)
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Walk.
    In My Ears: Screaming dust bunnies
    Game Last Played: Battle Nations
    Movie Last Viewed: Indiana Jones marathon
    Latest Artistic Project: A gold bead. Yep, I made a bead. And chainmaille. And…
    Latest Release: “Don’t Ignore Your Dead” included in Don’t Read This Book for the Don’t Rest Your Head RPG

Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

Want an interview? If you’d like to interview me or request a guest blog post, please connect with me via the contact page, too. Due to time constraints and other communicative concerns, I typically don’t follow up on requests via social media.

Keen on sending fan mail? I am also happy to engage with readers and fans. Please note that I am unable to reply satisfactorily to certain types of queries related to the companies I work for due to the agreements I typically sign. If you have a question about a TV show or a line of books, the best way to get your answer is to contact the studio or publisher directly.

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