Crying Shame But Someone Has It Better

Regardless of being an author, which invariably, since I have written madly since my youth and published a few good books, makes me a party to the countless writers out there, I wonder how many of you are actually being hit by cost levelling?

What I mean by that is, authors are constantly aware of ePub methods, and the rising costs of services incurred during the inception of their books. If an author wishes to approach traditional publishers, it can get very expensive – roughly £2,000 per manuscript, plus you still have to do the hard work yourself – you will end up with a bill whatever you do! Even if you are Hugh Howie or Adam Croft, you know you will have overheads and promotional expenses up-front to gain access to all the wonderful tools out there to express yourself through the printed word. As with any business, you have to speculate to accumulate, it’s that simple.

So, I get really cheesed off – I’m a Green Bay Packer fan, too – when I see people in writing mags and blogs saying how easy it is to make a fast buck! They are really glossing over the hard work and expense of the publishing industry. Yes, it cost nothing to actually place you on the world wide web. But everyone knows that to actually understand the minefield of information out there, you end up costing for books and courses, that are definitely not cheap – quite rightly so, otherwise it would not be lucrative enough to put food on the top authors’ tables – and then there is the cost of advertising in the right place at the right time, and no-one is going to tell you all this info for free! All this money has gone into the coffers of the ones that have dredged the internet before you and also done the hard work, and shelled out a few bob in the process.

Add this hard cheese to the fact that readers demand more for less, and you have a glut of writers to the lower ratio of readers available. Loads of choice, and there should be, but the price of a book in print becomes less than the cost of producing it. And that is what I mean by asking readers, do you actually think about the artistic quality of books nowadays? Would you, for instance, go to a gallery, see a painting that has a price tag of £250 and begin your negotiations on the basis that you only wish to pay under £1 for it? You would be laughed out of the art foundation, and be left scurrying for cover from the incredulous stares from artists all over the world. And yet a great majority of people insist on judging a work of printed art, and valuing it as nothing worth a nicker!

There are over 281300 authors, writers and editors out there today! That is a lot of artistic bent!

Let’s look at the stats for other artists. There are over 320,000 on Artnet, which is only one of the tons of art sites that allow artists to display their modern and contemporary arts in a visual arcade. An alternative site, over 351,86 gather together in an artistic flower to present their creativity to the world. In just one space, they can earn upwards of £3,000 per day!

Now I am not demeaning art at all – There is obviously some exploitation going on in all art realms – lol

Now, I’ve said this before, tongue firmly in cheek, that I am definitely in the wrong business! I am in the artistic writer’s camp who, driven to manipulate the written word, rather than myriad colours on canvas, I know I will suffer the most, and go without supper on most occasions, because most buyers of books think it disillusioned of me to believe to value my work at more than 99p per ‘mistress-piece’. I am not saying here that you should consider paying me £2,000 per copy, but the ratio between one canvas and 230 average pages of a masterpiece is vastly different, and writers as artists are grossly underrated. Both arts tell a story, both have been cogitated, pored, studied over, and both have taken hours of careful preparation beforehand. So why should the vast majority of written material, which is another art, simply go either perfunctorily bargained-for at best, or at worst, summarily dismissed if it is not at the pre-requisite quid?

I, too, have subjected my books to scrutiny, and submitted them for all to see, at the very same price I have a bee in my bonnet about. I have produced works of art, to expose them to your judgement and detailed analysis, too, for the ingratiating price of less than a cup of coffee!  We do this because we know to be heard amongst the statistical 281,300 of us who are producing books at the rate of knots a cutter would be proud of, we have to be cost-effective, and right now the subject of price per book is an eye-watering lump in a writer’s throat.

I urge readers to contemplate, cogitate and conclude that although it is a massive deal for you, it is a hard pill to swallow for writers.

I leave you with this thought – Not even prisoners are expected to live off bread and water all their lives, and on today’s market a loaf of bread costs more than a writer’s hard work in  book form.

Copyright 2017 Linda Bates

Footnote: My apologies to struggling artists everywhere, of whom I am privileged to be.

 

 

 

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Declutter Today & Bear March in Mind!

I was looking through some old stuff the other day. You know how it goes! You have little to focus on since you started the new year with new ideas. You really do cast your net wider in search of boundaries unsolved. At least I do!

January is a looooong month, isn’t it? But is not the winter supposed to be when you rest, reshuffle your boundaries, get ready to spring into action in March?

I woke up yesterday morning like a baby being coaxed prematurely from the womb – I am not coming out of here until I have to! Metaphorically, I could have kicked the cat. I’m not that kind of person, so I growled grudgingly at my Indulgent Partner (IP), instead. In contrast, today was different, I was ready to giggle from inception into a bright new day. There’s the key!

It’s okay to be reluctant to enter the world if you are unready for its boisterous inhabitants!  Somehow, I figure I am not going to be indulged so often if I have further days of bear philosophies, anyway. The rest of humanity can go tickle their fat aunt!  Always assuming someone, somewhere, as an aunt to begin with, let alone a fat aunt – and anyway, given the plethora of New Year Resolutions, she should be dieting by now, if she is, or reasonably chewing the fat from this rather precipitous pun, if she is not! 

I, on the other hand, are well and truly out of the crypt, now, and zombi-ing around the town with the rest of humanity. I headed straight for the caffeine, and my favourite den. Upon ordering coffee with a grunt, the waiter is a person who understands mornings, he being one who has a peak to his hair rather resembling a captured killer whale, curled into a depressing latency, I try to focus on my day. I see he also sports a pad and pencil – does he really need this if all I want is a coffee? – and almost as if he can read my thoughts, he states with an embarrassed smile that he has no need for writing implements. His brain is not as latent as I imagined.

Docile enough, I glance out of my window, watching from the warmth of my den, the frozen figures scurrying to their early destinations. They seem to be stuck in their rhythms:  Almost stolid in their movements towards a day they have no focus on whatsoever! Like every one of them is saying, “Keep taking the tablets!”

cheap-tablets

No! Not those kinds of tablets!

I laugh to myself as Orca swishes his body towards me, and delivers my beverage in a style of make-believe enthusiasm. He is not really called Orca, but my euphemisms are catching. What I think is a massive attempt to thank him, results in an impatient grunt for him to clear the floor of his wet smile! Poor chap, he’s only doing his job!  He is, however, oblivious to my peevish insolence, having left the coffee things, and the bill, on the table beside me, and swum off to ingratiate himself on another irascible bear! I thought fish and bears get on fine if one does not see the other as dinner? I could not have devoured the waiter for the life of me! I suppose figuratively speaking, I did eat him up a little, but then, I did not feel sufficiently full. His metaphorical skin and bone precluded any substantive repast! 

However, I have completely digressed, and now wish to turn my attention not on the coffee and window seat to whit I am enjoying the view, but to the rather cathartic announcement of perusing old stuff. 

Does one throw away, or does one keep ones possessions close? I opt for chucking out, myself! It’s much better, and serves two purposes, though that short list is not inexhaustible. One is to declutter, the other is to clarify the future.

It helps that your home is not full of debris over years of living in the same place, and also helps your mind spring into action. I was looking at all the old stuff, deciding whether to donate, throw out, or simply re-use. I use the old maxim – if you have not used, worn, touched it, in two years, then you can safely say it’s useless, and discard it. The charity shops prosper most in January, I should think. I prosper in two ways. One I give to a cause that which I have been Scrooge-like throughout the last year, thereby exonerating my conscience by a degree. Don’t get me wrong, I do like to be benevolent, but my budget will not always be as gregarious. I also know that tipping is illegal! 

So on to clarifying the future! I always believe that if you have a decluttered space, then you have a clear mind. I have things around me, I am not a minimalist. I thought I was until I met my partner, who would discard our three piece suite tomorrow if we had a mat to sit on – that being thrown out when it looked a little dirty on one edge – not true, but you get the picture! She is truly a very nice person, one I celebrate every day, and unlike the crotchety old foetus that I have painted here, I laugh with joy at the things she has brought to my table, unlike the tepid cup of coffee from the skinny, depressed whale in my den!

coffee-break-28930177But oh the joys of in-with-the-new! I will go back to bed at the end of the day knowing that whatever bear I am tomorrow morning, I have thrown out all my disused, misused, stockpiled and useless assets ready for a bright new tomorrow. Hello to a brighter future, IP!  The baby has crash-landed on your mat with its tepid cup of coffee -bear that in mind!

 

Copyright Jan 2017 Linda Bates Author

 

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Writer’s and Readers – You are all valued!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I am pleased that you pulled through all the celebrations this year, and can look forward to another year with me!  I had the time of my life taking the holiday season and embracing it with gusto!

The results were amazing!  However, it has left me with a most effective Festive hangover! The hangover is not the usual over-indulgence of booze and food, but rather the glut of all that encompasses the whole season.  After a whole month of being swept along by Christmas and New Year obligatories and traditions, I feel like I need to shake off the trimmings and get the New Year into gear.

It’s difficult to get yourself out of party mode, and into the real world of think, be seen, and focus!  So I am taking a leaf out of my own book today, and in order to get my world back to normal – if one can term my life anything near as normal – and I am refocussing on my path.  

There are many ways to do this, and I have some very special offers for my Kith & Kin, but for me it involves a lot of things.

I don’t make resolutions any more.  They are superfluous, and can be constly!  If you don’t live up to those you tend to drop as the year goes by, you can be left with as much guilt as if you sold your grandmother!  For women, I think it is harder to live up to those high expectations we try to set ourselves, and that is wrong on all sorts of levels. 

We should feel happy with ourselves, content with the world, and gently mould the world to us, not the other way around, as I like to think!  

It’s not easy to rejuvenate.  It is easier for those in regular jobs, because you have a regulated schedule to keep. But for me as a full-time writer, it’s difficult to draw the line after the 1st of any January.  I had a blast during the last fortnight, but now I want to get back into my swing, and write, write, write!  I can’t do this if my system is still playing catch-up with my mind.

Remember that saying – The mind is willing but the body is weak?

Yeah!  I know what you mean!  

So I have some steps that I follow that involve the ‘mindfulness’ that everyone is quoting as being the well-worn, yet eliptical phrase, to help with some well-deserved time-out from the hectic world from which I have just emerged, and want to escape from. They are in the Kith & Kin newsletter.

For those who have not taken the plung into my Kith & Kin – Before you have to incline your head to the grind – think of something peaceful and self-absorbing that will bring you back to yoursel that only takes 15 minutes of your time to accomplish – at least give yourself that!

Again, Happy New Year to YOU!  And tap into my world for FREE by signing up for my newsletters to gain insights into my writing world – and get those freebies! 

This month I am offering a free, signed & printed copy of American Dream by Linda Bates Only for Existing Kith & Kin!   

Be warned:  The free, signed & printed copy of American Dream by Linda Bates is only on offer for the month of January-the offer closes at Midnight January 31st 2017. Author has final say. This offer is only available to those who have already signed up for the free newsletter in December.  Further offers in subsequent months will be available, but only to subscribers.

 

 

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