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Flowers and candy and other rewards of the business

Ask a roomful of successful authors why they decided to write and not one of them will answer “for the money,” any more than a hooker would say she chose her profession “for the flowers and candy.”

— Paul Carr, “Mr. Swift’s Moronic Proposal: Ebooks Will Keep Writers from Writing“, The Awl


And this on the same day I noticed that Joyce Carol Oates is selling short stories for a dollar each (or thereabouts) for the Kindle. I mean, what an awesome model that is, eh? With the size of Oates’ fan base, that’s a lot of dollars.

I’m loving the potential electronic publishing might offer writing. You can buy ‘singles’ without buying the whole album. A novella can stand proudly alongside a novel on the same ‘shelf’. In fact, novellas become EVEN MORE enticing: the whole unit price issue is moot, & novellas can offer a great intro to an author at a great price point.

Anyhow, I know this is old news for most people, but the new models for publishing are giving me a lot more hope than the old. This, and the Domino Project’s short, peppy emails around building a tribe advocate putting the power back in an author’s hands. At great investment of time, sure, but heck, even traditional publishing is a great investment of time for an author. And I’m not saying I’m going to leap into self-publishing any time soon. But it does show there are smart ways to deal with the changes to publishing. And it gives me confidence that no effort is wasted if you believe enough in what you’re doing. Which is a nice belief to foster, & one I’ve spent years lacking.


Traditional media is all about interrupting strangers. Modern media (including modern bookselling) is focused on building a tribe, earning permission and then creating products and services for that audience.

— Seth Godin, Now look what you’ve done, The Domino Project