Skip to main content

A writer's plague

Are we in the middle of a writer plague?

Every vampire/zombie apocalypse movie I’ve seen has about a thousand to one ratio of zombie/vampire population to human survivor. In the movie I Am Legend for example, there was one surviving human in a city of thousands, perhaps millions of vampires. I’ve often wondered why, when vampires drink blood, they simply just didn’t die out? It’s possible that they feed off each other to survive and if that is the case, what bleak and bloody future do writers face, stuck in the middle of a writer plague as we are?

Library Thing has 89 million books listed. Goodreads has 750 million books added. A 2013 Huffington Post poll claims that 28% of Americans had not read a novel in the past year, even thought the U.S. produces 300,000 new books every year, not including e-books. Some quotes suggest that there were 600,000 independent books on Amazon in 2013, and that there are around 50,000 traditional (albeit many of them are small) publishers in the U.S.
Are we in the midst of a writer plague? Are there too many books and not enough readers?
The evolution of modern writing is such that everyone can publish a book and it seems that everyone is. It doesn’t mean books are being sold. It just means that there are more books out there than ever before. And because there are more books than there are readers, writers can’t even give their books away because readers simply can’t keep up with the demand. Check out most giveaways these days and you’ll see that authors are giving away gift cards instead of books. The readers are happy. But will this help books sell?
Innovation is defined as using or showing new methods and ideas. In order to sell books, writers need to be innovative, which can take us out of our comfort zone. But to survive the writer plague, this is something we must do. However, there’s a catch. Think of Matthew Reilly, who self published his book in print and got it into the hands of a major publisher and now he's sold millions. This sparked everyone to do the same. Think of Amanda Hocking who self published her e-book in order to make enough money to visit a Kermit the Frog exhibition and then she ended up selling millions and is now with a major publishers. This sparked everyone to do the same.
Once everyone jumps on the bandwagon, that idea is no longer innovative. So it can be difficult to tell a new writer how you reached your goals when what you did to reach them might no longer work.
It can also be difficult to share that information when the competition is as fierce as it is. If, to succeed in the new literary world, it is a case of survival of the fittest, will it be those writers who are creative and innovative who succeed? Or will it be the cunning and clever writers who lead novices down steep paths over cliffs in an effort to reduce the number of books out there?
A blog I read this morning, which featured the below headlines and subheadings, got me thinking that the playing field is made up of both, and this may not even be intentional. Perhaps secrecy and omission of the truth is how many writers will win the battle against this plague:
8 simple ways to market and sell your book.
1.         Have a website
2.         Start a blog
3.         Be active on social media
4.         Try to get interviews in your local radio or paper
5.         Be patient and persistent – it takes years to sell enough copies to quit your day job and not everyone will be successful.
The “8 ways to market and sell your book” article is about as helpful as:
How to win the lottery
1.         Buy a ticket
2.         Check your ticket
3.         Be patient and persistent – it takes years for a person to win the lottery and not everyone will be successful.

I occasionally get asked by students, friends, and strangers, who are just starting out on their writing journey for some tips on publishing. And I find myself wondering if I should give horribly broad statements because, dare I say it, to give away trade secrets could be bad for business. I can give away snippets say for example the leg of a chair, but not the whole chair. Because if you have a chair and I have a chair, and there is only one platform for a chair then we could end up using those chairs to knock each other off.

I'm joking. I love to share tips on my small wins with our writers. But seriously, is the future of writing under threat of a writer plague? I’d love to hear what you think.


D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.






Twitter   !/DLRichardson1


Popular posts from this blog

Latest news! I've signed up to write a post-apoc series

When I started writing, I had one set goal: to become a prolific author. At the time I was into reading Stephen King and Dean Koontz, and I wanted to write books, lots of them.  Now I have that chance. After writing, publishing, and promoting 10 books, I've signed up to to write a series of post-apocalyptic fiction books for  Mission Critical Publishing. The reason I signed up was simple. They're innovative. The publishing industry today is fast and fluid.  I've agreed to write 3 books in 6 months. Each book will be around 60,000 words when completed. I'll need to become a writing machine. To accomplish this I'll need to do  2 things: #1 Write fast The only way for me to write fast is to write an overview of the entire book (or series). This can be one page per book. Then I write dots points that become the chapters. Complications, conflicts, solutions, all fit into these chapters. Then I set a daily word count. I'm

The Bird With The Broken Wing by D L Richardson ebook now $2.99

Welcome Latest news!!! What a surprise it was for me to check in on my online retail sites and discover some good news about my debut novel The Bird With The Broken Wing . I regularly do this to make sure links are working and what not. Anyway, I checked in and discovered that my publisher has reduced the ebook price to $2.99 USD. This is great news, because many ebooks are set at this price point and I've often thought that maybe this deterred buyers rather than attract them, which is the essence of selling. you can read reviews for this YA fantasy novel on author website Author's description of the book: "The Bird With the Broken Wing is a tale about a guardian angel who ends up in Purgatory with the mortal she was assigned to watch over. While working on getting her mortal out of Purgatory she discovers some disturbing news about her presence there." Things about this book you did not know , as told by the author D L Richardson : "This was ori

Science fiction predicts...

It started out as a discussion group on Amazon. "Who likes Apocalyptic fiction and why?" I asked this question and received so many great recommendations for books to read. Why did I ask this question in the first place? Because I'm writing two different sci-fi apocalyptic novels at the moment, and I really wanted to know that I had an audience. A writer's worst nightmare is to write a book that nobody wants to read. Yet, often its a case of nobody being able to find your book in the highway jam that is the internet. THE VIRTUAL WATER COOLER Everyone will tell you that word of mouth is still the best way to sell a book. The industry is clogged with books. Just like the highway, the jam is full of good cars and bad cars, and the online book industry is the same. Asking a question like "Who likes Apocalyptic fiction and why?" on an Amazon discussion group was the best way for me to get a list of books to purchase. This is the word of mouth that advertis