Guest Blogger – TD McKinnon To Be or Not To Be An Author

To Be Or Not To Be An Author

Can I, indeed can any of us, afford to be an author? We, each of us, come to writing for our own reasons; or at least think we do, and at varying times in our lives we finally get to it (the writing). There are those who come to it early in life never to waver from the path, but… let not those lucky few feel superior.

I, of course, speak only for myself but I’m sure there will be a host of you who concur; those who, like me, knew from an early age that inherently you were a writer, but somehow life didn’t seem conducive to following the writerly way as you were pulled this way and that: appeasing parents, peers, lovers, partners, family obligations, financial commitments, and so on and on… However for the rest of your life, until picking up the quill so to speak, you were haunted by the narratives that crawl and scutter around the canyons of your mind, where lurks your vast imagination, spilling forth at times in inappropriate form and place until, that is, you give that imagination an avenue of expression; elsewise go mad…er.

Some of you will not be surprised when I say that many writers write only for themselves, their outpourings never seeing the light of day. This is a great pity, if for no other reason than those writers will probably never reach their full potential: honing any craft is a process that is generally helped, not by practice only but, by perfect practice, and nothing encourages perfect practice like the possibility of exposure to scrutiny.

Some may say, and I must admit to having acquiesced at times, that there are far too many so called writers on the scene flooding the market now, because ePublising makes the act of publishing so amenable. The standard of material that does come to light varies considerably, and that’s acceptable; not everyone is a Shakespeare, Dickens, Hemingway, McKinnon, Tolstoy or Twain. The only thing I have to say about that part of the equation is, ‘If you are going to ePublish, make damn sure it is the best product you’ve got.’

Gone are the days, if indeed they ever were for ninety percent of the writerly community, of being picked up by one of the ‘Big Six’, or is it five or four now? What does it really matter, like the Pacific Islanders endangered by rising sea levels, the publishing establishments of yester year are scrambling for positions in a disappearing landscape.

By the time you have penned your masterpiece (we won’t talk about how many hours, months and years that may take), had it vetted, with all the editing and prepublication costs that incurs, and gone through whatever publishing trip you buy into; even ePublishing – assuming you do everything yourself and it goes off without a hitch – is going to cost you in ‘time spent’. Also, regardless of which publishing trail you follow (whether you are an independent or not) the major part of the marketing (more time and money) is your responsibility.

Unless you are a well-established, best-selling author with lucrative film deals pending, one way or another, in varying degrees of time, money and energy, it is going to cost you. So, my initial question, ‘Can I afford to be an author?’ is a pertinent one. The answer for me is simple, I cannot afford not to be an author; on it my sanity depends!



Can you?

By T.D. McKinnon


8 thoughts on “Guest Blogger – TD McKinnon To Be or Not To Be An Author

  1. (“…naah, writing in itself is not going to cost you a penny unless you’re a writer still using that [i]yesterways with yestermeans[/i] the hard way, I mean only 3% of you humans still read books anyway, where blogs fare little better, and where the reader has neither the time nor the inclination to wade through umpteen pages…” smiled the goblin, who instead tended to compromise to the reader using a persona, adding “…no, [b]it’s all about the 2cts today[/b], as they want short interactive content, so you’re going to need to think out your persona, me I have no blog and don’t really need one, why, because one can only have one blog where a blog entry might get a hundred hits to it, or a thousand hits even, just chicken feed isn’t it, but imagine now if you did a blog thread on a forum, and then repeated that thread across fifty forums, admittedly something that doesn’t cost a penny but doesn’t make money neither, wouldn’t the total readership of that method run circles around both blogs and ebooks…”, at which point the goblin just thanked the mouse again for letting him post this, concluding “…no you won’t remember my name, just like most people won’t remember yours straight off neither, ah but I rather doubt that you can forget conversing with a goblin now, still think me mad, well perhaps I am indeed, care to catch me now humans, for a livewriter doesn’t even need to give a link…”)

    • I don’t quite know how to respond to your comment, Fleamailman. As you say, the very nature of your chosen style negates any riposte. So, I’ll just say, thank you for dropping by and commenting.

  2. …”not everyone is a Shakespeare, Dickens, Hemingway, McKinnon, Tolstoy or Twain.” — love the inclusion of your name with these greats — the author of Wide Sargasso Sea – forget her name — Jean Rhys? – said everyone who writes/creates/etc is pouring their libation into the universal ocean of creativity….while the world may judge us as better or worse or whatever, the critical thing is to put in the often awesome effort of actually giving life to those splendid urges….my first novel took me 20 years to complete — tho i thought i was done 7 times during that time period — so thanks!

  3. In some of us that potential remains buried until late in life. Often it is the result of other time constraints and commitments, as you say. For others that added lack of belief in your own worth and ability hold you back. I didn’t begin to write until I was 56. It has been the most liberating thing I ever did. Now I cannot imagine NOT writing.

  4. Excellent post, TD.

    There are too many authors around who are so obsessed with getting something out there that they’re not putting out the best book they can… and it ends up showing.

    • You are so right, William, and as far as the indie field goes it only takes one for the whole of trad publishing to point and say, ‘There you are… that’s the standard you get without the traditional gate keepers in place!’

      Thank you so much for dropping by and commenting, William.

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