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maestrowork
02-13-2010, 11:37 PM
A friend's recent comments to me bothered me.

Basically, she said something like, "being a writer is such an egotistical thing, like we're now going to bow down to you because you write a book or two..."

She went on to say the promotions and websites and book signings, publicity and all that further convinced her writers like me were egoistical, and she had no intention to become fans or groupies of anyone's -- that nobody needs to look up to others or live vicariously through another person's success.

My first reaction to her comments was "upset." But then I got to think: does she have a point? Are we the kind of culture that fawns over other people's success, or that this business is so about "selling" and "promoting" and "having fans" that it is all about our egos?

brainstorm77
02-13-2010, 11:43 PM
Everyone has a right to think however they want. My friends have been supportive and have never mentioned anything like this.
I do think some writers like having their ego's fed but then again so do many other people.
It varies and I don't think a whole group can be blanketed with a comment like that.

Toothpaste
02-13-2010, 11:43 PM
My business of selling is . . . selling. All the promotion I do, the conventions I go to, the readings I do . . . all of it is so that people know I and my books exist and I can make a living (a close second to that is because it's fun, but seriously, my main goal out there is to try to sell a few books). It has very little to do with my ego. If it did, I probably wouldn't promote half as much. Instead I'd think, "I'm so awesome, obviously people will seek me out."

But writing is my living. Surely I'm allowed to try to make money from it? I work darn hard at my living thank you very much. I'd like some financial reimbursement.

Yes I believe in what I've written, but I would hope most people in their professional lives feel pride and a sense of accomplishment in what they do. I'd also hope that they felt they were good at what they did.

As far as being a fan of someone goes, I think your friend is reacting more to the throngs of teeny bopper fans than the author herself. Truly I find screaming fans really annoying as well (and no, I have never experienced it with regards to me). But to therefore blame the artist for being popular, as if they should have done something to curb the enthusiasm . . . it's a bit odd.

Yes there are arrogant stars. There always will be. With great success can definitely come great ego. But it seems to me your friend has met a few arrogant authors (probably, to be honest, some with limited success who feel a need to prove their worth by being pompous about their abilities) and has lumped all authors as one. The authors I know are some of the most supportive, and to be honest, underrated people I've met.

Sophia
02-13-2010, 11:46 PM
I'd be upset by comments like that, too. What does she think the reaction should be to someone writing a book that people want to buy - complete indifference? Doing something well in any field normally gets positive reactions from the people around us: pats on the back, a celebratory drink, glad feelings all round that our work has paid off. I don't think it's fawning to mark an achievement. And I don't mean that writing a book is an achievement greater than, say, completing an office project to everyone's satisfaction and bringing in business. I think both are good, productive things, and there's nothing wrong with acknowledging success in either case.

Adam
02-13-2010, 11:48 PM
I want people to buy my books. To do this, I must market, promote, sign etc. at every possible opportunity. If this makes me egotistical in some people's eyes, so be it. :)

backslashbaby
02-14-2010, 12:22 AM
I don't want any fame! Aack. I like meeting people, so promotions or conventions are cool. But I hope a writer doesn't have to want fame.

I really, really like being able to write something that gets people excited, though. That's a kind of ego, I suppose, but I want authors to have it. I want them to care what I like and write more of it :)

It's all in good fun/entertainment. I think it's just the nature of that element. But, hopefully folks would still buy the books if they never knew a thing about the author.

Wayne K
02-14-2010, 12:31 AM
I'm going to vote "Ego" for me.

This is the first time I've said "Screw you, I'm good at this." in my life, so if that's too much for people, don't read my books, I don't care. I think of it as confidence, and it shows in my writing, so I'll allow myself to be full of myself for once.

Wayne K
02-14-2010, 12:33 AM
If I'm egotistical enough, maybe they'll buy my book and burn it. Millions of copies.

I'll bring the marshmallows.

Annayna
02-14-2010, 12:41 AM
LOl I'm with Wayne on this.. As long as it sells :) even though burning my books would make me cry at first... then I'd eat the marshmallows :D

Snivscriv
02-14-2010, 12:42 AM
She may have a point in that, to be a writer, you have to believe that you have something to say which other people mightwant to hear. I think, however, that the publishing process is remarkably effective at crushing whatever ego you once had, unless you are one of the very few successful enough to achieve fame through writing. For most of us, there's relatively little ego-stroking taking place.

I love the process of writing stories, and that's more than enough reward for my efforts. Fortunately, I don't need to make an income from my writing, so fame isn't that big a part of the motivation to keep writing.

NeuroFizz
02-14-2010, 12:45 AM
I'll say straight out that I am proud of my writing accomplishments. That feeds back as two important factors for further productivity in this business: confidence and experience. And in that way (confidence in particular) it has a positive impact on one's ego. But I sense the person in question was using ego more as a measure of arrogance, not pride or confidence, and arrogance is very different from what I'm talking about here.

Writing is a business for a writer. Most of us can't write to publication and then totally turn off our attention to that book and move to something else. We have to market the book in all of the ways mentioned, sometimes more. We have to try to establish a readership, and that requires we get our books and our names in front of people. But establishing a readership following isn't about ego stroking, it's about satisfaction that our work is found to be entertaining, the feedback there coming when people are willing to buy our second and subsequent books. Having fans and getting ego strokes isn't what this is all about. It's about managing to entertain, to have the skill and creativity to make readers happy so they want more. And it's about selling books to make some cash. I'm sure there are some authors who are very arrogant about their productivity. But don't automatically assume that good marketing is all about ego stroking. Far from it. Anyone who has sat/stood at a bookstore signing and watched three or four people walk buy the table for every one who stops, and who has spent three hours to sell a modest number of books, realizes that book signings, in particular, are anything but an ego (arrogance) boost. Yes, for the highly successful authors it can be, and they sell boxes of books at signings. But for the newly published author and even some midlist writers, book signings and similar forms of marketing are not nearly what some people here think.

Ray, some people are resentful of other people's success, and they sometimes show it in direct or indirect ways. The comments mentioned in your OP seem (to me) to lean in that direction. If that is wrong, the comments at least suggest the person has little experience, and some wrong ideas about what an author's responsibilities and actions are all about once that book is published. I do hope that person is successful in this business. And I hope when that success comes, she will re-visit her comments here and tell us if she still feels that same way.

ChristineR
02-14-2010, 12:50 AM
People who make pizza say similar kinds of overblown things about their pizzas. I'm not seeing a huge difference. There are some pretty egotistical celebrity chefs.

Cyia
02-14-2010, 12:53 AM
It's your friend who's got the ego problem. She's projecting. If you subbed in any other career path for what she said, it wouldn't make sense.


If you're a carpenter, you make cabinets that you expect are good enough for people to buy, so you sell them. You can teach classes on woodworking, and you've probably taken your fair share. When your designs catch on, you get more interest and people seek you out because they know you've got what they want. Would it make any sense for a gifted, or even merely competent, carpenter to never make another thing in his life? Or to not sell what he does make when people need/want tables and chairs? Why shouldn't he use his skills to produce the best product he can and be happy when others agree with his assessment? Why shouldn't he have a website where people can purchase what he builds? Why should he turn Home Depot down when they want to sell his merchandise in their stores nationwide.

dgrintalis
02-14-2010, 12:59 AM
I think people who are bit more insecure tend to view other people's confidence as arrogant or egotistical. In a perfect world, people would truly be happy about friends' successes. In some cases, it might be fueled by jealousy; in others, I think it might be fear that if you tell someone 'good job' too much, they might just get a swelled ego and turn into an ego-monster.

I had someone make an indirect comment that my frequent Facebook posts about daily word count and agent requests were arrogant. It hurt because this person knows me and knows I am far from arrogant, but what can you do?

Cranky
02-14-2010, 12:59 AM
I think a lot of it goes back to the idea that "Anyone can write a book!". A lot of people don't really realize how much work it takes just finish the friggin' thing in the first place, let alone get an agent, a publishing contract, yadda yadda.

If authors *didn't* promote their books in this day and age, they'd never get anywhere. It's not ego, it's business.

triceretops
02-14-2010, 01:00 AM
I think I stress over the task of getting that major deal I want. I don't have time to think of fans and celebrity TV spots. Although I have been quoted as saying "fame, friends, and eight-by-ten" as being my motivation, it's really just a tongue in cheek comment. Fans and success are so far down the road that I can't be bothered thinking about it, when my books need so much editing and polishing. Granted, I won't turn my back on it, but it sure ain't number# in my life.

Tri

Polenth
02-14-2010, 01:01 AM
I'm surprised she likes you as a friend if she really thinks that. Had I been you, I'd have confronted her directly with "do you think I'm more egotistical than you because I write?". If the answer had been "yes", I'd back away from the friendship. Mostly because I've been burned by people like that before.

That kind of thinking leads people to try and bring others down, later to claim it was for their own good / they were getting too big for their boots. Some people do go over-the-top with the ego thing, but to suggest everyone in a professional is automatically that way is silly.

dgrintalis
02-14-2010, 01:02 AM
I think a lot of it goes back to the idea that "Anyone can write a book!". A lot of people don't really realize how much work it takes just finish the friggin' thing in the first place, let alone get an agent, a publishing contract, yadda yadda.

If authors *didn't* promote their books in this day and age, they'd never get anywhere. It's not ego, it's business.

QFT

erinbee
02-14-2010, 01:09 AM
Also, I don't know about you, but at least part of writing for an audience is the idea of being in service to that audience or reader. So...in a way, I consider the books I love to be something I was given by the author. I certainly spent a lot of time thinking about my audience and trying to give them something I could be proud of as I was writing my book.

As for the money, fame, booksigning aspects of it...I'm not about to apologize for being a good businessperson. Who says being a writer means you need to throw away any idea of making a living ?

C.M.C.
02-14-2010, 02:08 AM
Every action we take is connected to our ego in some manner, so writing does fall into the same judgment, but some writers enjoy the attention more than others. Of course putting a value on the fruits of our labor is egotistical, but the degree to which it is depends on the person involved. Plenty of writers seek and embrace attention, which gives a bad name to the rest of the people in the field who only care so much as they are known and appreciated for their talent. In the end, we need to understand that there's nothing wrong with being a bit selfish in this regard, so long as we aren't going beyond the realm of acceptability.

scarletpeaches
02-14-2010, 02:12 AM
Seems to me like Ray's 'friend' has got one massive chip on her shoulder.

Jamesaritchie
02-14-2010, 02:43 AM
Sounds like your friend has a HUGE ego.

IceCreamEmpress
02-14-2010, 03:28 AM
So really what she's saying is "I scorn you because you get more recognition from strangers for your work than I do for mine?" She needs an attitude adjustment STAT. Those grapes sure are tasting awful sour to her!

kurzon
02-14-2010, 03:45 AM
It sounds to me like your friend has an inferiority complex regarding her own abilities.

I've occasionally encountered an attitude that being able to write a book makes writers think they're better than people who can't. No, it means writers can string enough words together to finish a book. But I've recognised that what the person is saying is that _they_ feel inferior for not being able to do that, and it's nothing at all to do with the writer's attitude. To me, there's nothing remarkable about writing. I've done it most of my life, known a lot of other people who write, and the internet has made me well aware that there are millions of writers out there. To me, writing is nothing special - it's fun and sometimes produces fun stuff.

To someone who doesn't write, and only knows that one writer, and sees all the hoo-hah surrounding big-name writers, and yet that one writer they know is an ordinary person they've known all their life and perhaps always thought themselves equal if not better to...serious jealousy issues.

Marketing - unless you happen to have a fandom - seems designed to make writers feel wretched. Nothing like a signing where only friends and family show up...

Cranky
02-14-2010, 03:48 AM
It sounds to me like your friend has an inferiority complex regarding her own abilities.

I've occasionally encountered an attitude that being able to write a book makes writers think they're better than people who can't. No, it means writers can string enough words together to finish a book. But I've recognised that what the person is saying is that _they_ feel inferior for not being able to do that, and it's nothing at all to do with the writer's attitude.

Marketing - unless you happen to have a fandom - seems designed to make writers feel wretched. Nothing like a signing where only friends and family show up...

That sounds great to me, heh. I think I'd have maybe ten people at the reading -- less pressure! :D

I will agree, though, that this is definitely more to do with Ray's friend than with Ray actually behaving like a meglomaniac. The idea makes me laugh, actually. And I suspect rather strongly that's true in most cases we're talking about here. Writers I know are by turns the most insecure and confident people I know, but they aren't usually egomaniacal. There are exceptions, of course, but they're exceptions.

cwfgal
02-14-2010, 04:09 AM
It sounds like insecurity and jealousy to me. And I think this sort of thing tends to be more commonly directed at published authors because so many people see writing as something that anyone can do. And it's true--anyone can sit down and write a story. It's the writing well enough for publication part that separates the wheat from the chaff but some people see it as one person preening about something anyone can do.

Beth

Monkey
02-14-2010, 05:51 AM
Danielle Steele once talked about how hard it was to write a book--any book, even a bad one. It is, and usually, there's no cheerleaders (other than the virtual ones here) for you during that period. You work and rework and tinker and rework some more, sometimes for months, sometimes longer, and there're no fans busting down your door for your efforts. Then you enter query hell...and from there, the saga continues.

Anyone looking for a quick ego boost, or even a bit of fame, could surely find a quicker, easier, easier-on-the-ego way to do it.

Marketing and promotion are necessary to most products--including writing. If you have a product to sell and modesty prevents you from putting it in the public eye, well...that's kinda shooting yourself in the foot, isn't it?

Then again, if all someone sees is an actress looking beautiful on the big screen, they may never realize how hard she worked to get there...if all they see is an author at a booksigning, they might not realize how hard it is to write a novel worth publishing. I know I've gotten lots of comments like, "I'd write, too, if I had time..." and the idea that anyone can do it is common. Maybe your friend thinks that you did something that virtually anyone else could have done, given the time and drive, and seeking publication and then marketing your work makes you egotistical.

If so, my suggestion is that you encourage her in her own writing efforts, should she have any. ;) If she's not writing, though, things could be tougher, because anything you say about how hard it is to get published could seem like bragging to her... as in getting published is hard as hell, but I DID IT. Either way, the problem is obviously with the friend, and not with every writer who ever promoted their own work, anywhere, at any time.

Given that, I'd try to let it slide.

HConn
02-14-2010, 10:54 AM
A friend's recent comments to me bothered me.

Basically, she said something like, "being a writer is such an egotistical thing, like we're now going to bow down to you because you write a book or two..."

She went on to say the promotions and websites and book signings, publicity and all that further convinced her writers like me were egoistical, and she had no intention to become fans or groupies of anyone's -- that nobody needs to look up to others or live vicariously through another person's success.

My first reaction to her comments was "upset." But then I got to think: does she have a point? Are we the kind of culture that fawns over other people's success, or that this business is so about "selling" and "promoting" and "having fans" that it is all about our egos?

Has this friend donated a kidney to you? Rescued your cat from a burning building? Cut you a check to cover the operation that saved your mother's eyesight? Because if not, you should tell her to get lost.

People become fans because they love a person's work. It's not egotistical to be loved.

Tell her to keep her sour grapes to herself.

Terie
02-14-2010, 12:29 PM
So, presumably, this friend has no job because she refrains from listing her skills, talents, and accomplishments in her resume, and even if she got an interview, she's too self-effacing to say why they should give the job to her over other candidates? (/tongue in cheek)

As others have said, these kinds of comments are much more about your friend than about you.

Old Hack
02-14-2010, 01:56 PM
I'm with pretty much everyone else here. Writing is a craft. But publishing is a business and, like all businesses, needs to get all hands on deck when it comes to selling its products. If a business doesn't market and promote its products effectively, then it fails.

I do wonder, though, about your friend. Has she ever tried to write? And if so, has she been roundly rejected? Could be.

frisco
02-14-2010, 03:30 PM
I'm kind of on the fence on this one. I think writing is what I do best, and I put a great deal of effort into it. I thrive on feedback for my writing, so perhaps there is a bit of ego involved there. If I write something and people say it sucks it bothers me--probably because its the only thing I do good and if I suck at it then my self image takes a bit of a hit.

On the other hand everyone takes pride in what they do--no doctor, lawyer or janitor wants to be told they suck at their profession. I might have the ego to think i'm a decent writer, but I don't think its more than anyone else.

I write because I love to write. I love to create characters and write stories that entertain people. If I end with wealthy over it than thats great, but regardless I would still write.

Libbie
02-14-2010, 08:39 PM
Interesting topic.

Well, here's what I think. It's bound to piss some people off, but this is my opinion, take it or leave it.

Writing books is like having children. It's a selfish act. By that, I mean nobody does it to make the world a better place. We do it because we want it for ourselves. Eventually both writing and having children becomes a selfless thing -- if you're a good parent, you devote yourself to your kids, to making their lives better; if you're a good writer, your work becomes a vehicle for another person's emotions, or you become committed to providing entertainment to your readers. But nobody gets into it for anything but gratifying their own self.

And there is nothing wrong with that. I don't know how "ego" became a nasty word in our culture. We only have one life. This is it. Once we're gone, we're gone. I admire the people who go out and make life what they want it to be. I don't begrudge them or look down on them. If they want to achieve the best they can at their job, I admire that. If they want to be a great parent, I admire that. If they want to climb all the Fourteeners, I admire that. If they want to become a writer and see their work in print and get fan mail so they know their writing has touched readers' lives, I admire that.

And if my friend who rock-climbs made a "Become a Fan of Allison" page on Facebook, I'd become her fan. If my sister made a "Become a Fan of Georgia, the Best Parent Ever" page, I'd become her fan. If my friend who's a great amateur cook made a "Become a Fan of Marianna" page, I'd become her fan. And I really am fanatical for them. I love their commitment. I cheer for them. I get all warm and fuzzy when I hear about their milestones and their accomplishments. Ray, if your friend thinks the only people who seek out praise and support from their loved ones are those damn egotistical writers, she is missing out on a rich experience of loving and rooting for all her friends, with all their varying interests and occupations. Writers who are really successful have a built-in and obvious cheering section. But everybody needs fans, no matter what they're doing. Everybody you love deserves a rah-rah-rah for making something of their lives.

But ego? Yes. It's ego. Ego drives me to write, so I can share the things I think and feel with the world in a way that might resonate with somebody else. Ego drives Allison to climb all the rocks she can get her crampons into. Ego drove my sister to have children. Ego drives Marianna to cook the best damn dishes she can. Ego drives all of us. There are few people, I think, who are driven by anything else. But I'm cool with that. I love my friends and family even though we're all ego-powered. I rejoice at their accomplishments.

Yay for ego. We'd have little art, few athletes, few children, and little of anything else of great worth without it.

Jamesaritchie
02-14-2010, 11:34 PM
Interesting topic.

Well, here's what I think. It's bound to piss some people off, but this is my opinion, take it or leave it.

Writing books is like having children. It's a selfish act. By that, I mean nobody does it to make the world a better place. We do it because we want it for ourselves. Eventually both writing and having children becomes a selfless thing -- if you're a good parent, you devote yourself to your kids, to making their lives better; if you're a good writer, your work becomes a vehicle for another person's emotions, or you become committed to providing entertainment to your readers. But nobody gets into it for anything but gratifying their own self.

And there is nothing wrong with that. .

You may be right abut having children, though I doubt that's always the case. But with writing, I think you're definitely projecting.
There are as many reasons for wrting books as there are writers, and I'd have real trouble saying hundreds to thousands of books weren't written expressly to make the world a better place.

Writers have gone to prison, or gulags, they've been run out of their own towns, cities, and countries, they've had their lives threatened, etc., all because they wanted to write a book that would make the world a better, safer place.

I don;t think ego is always bad, but I do know not everyone is driven by ego, by seeking self-gratification, whether it's a pilot, a writer, or a cook. Sometimes the aim really is to make the world a better place, even if we suffer for it, and sometimes the aim is simply to give others a way of enjoying their reading, or their food, even if we never get credit for the writing or teh cooking.

It's just dead wrong to say no one gets into writing, or any other field, for anyting other than gratifying their own self.

To me, that would be an awfully shallow way of living life.

LuckyH
02-15-2010, 12:30 AM
The professional writers Iíve met and know personally are a very mixed bunch, and yes, some of them proudly swagger along with ĎIím a writerí written all over them. Some of the others are so shy that they need tranquillisers to attend a book signing, and are lost for words when interviewed on TV.

Most of the others are reasonably normal people, proud of their achievements but with just the right amount of humility.

A minority of them are unashamedly in it for the money, nothing else matters in the slightest, adulation does not pay the rent and if they need to prostitute their beliefs, they will.

I donít know where I fit in, Iím trying to visualise a scenario where Iím offered only two choices, literary recognition or a sack full of money.

Why did I consider hesitating? Of course I would take the money.

aadams73
02-15-2010, 12:39 AM
A friend's recent comments to me bothered me.

Basically, she said something like, "being a writer is such an egotistical thing, like we're now going to bow down to you because you write a book or two..."


So...do you think she has a problem with writers and egos, or is it just you specifically and some other issue unrelated to writing? Do you annoy your friends by jabbering on endlessly about yourself and your writing? It might be time to sit back and think about that.

I have a fairly healthy-sized ego about a lot of things, but when it comes to writing, I just want to tell a good story. I'm not trying to push my beliefs onto people or sell them on anything other than buying my books. If I can sell books without having to put myself out there, I'll definitely take that option.

Basically I just want to be left alone. That way I can write more stories.

frimble3
02-15-2010, 01:07 AM
"We're now going to bow down to you because you write a book or two..."
"Bow down"? Sounds like a combination of her sense of inferiority and elitism - would she feel as bothered by your success if you had done something manual? Painted or built or grown? No, it's those overbearing literates that get up her nose.
She went on to say the promotions and websites and book signings, publicity and all that further convinced her writers like me were egoistical, and she had no intention to become fans or groupies of anyone's -- that nobody needs to look up to others or live vicariously through another person's success. And how does she feel about car ads on TV and in the papers? Because that's really what most of that stuff is, advertising, getting the product out there for the public to see. Unless she knows a lot of writers, how much of this does she see? Most people don't see a book-signing from one year to the next, unless they hang out in bookstores. Ditto author's websites and promotional stuff.

My first reaction to her comments was "upset." But then I got to think: does she have a point? Are we the kind of culture that fawns over other people's success, or that this business is so about "selling" and "promoting" and "having fans" that it is all about our egos?
Of course we're the kind of culture that fawns over other people's success! There seems to be a different award given out for something every week. It's just that some of us realise that no-one but our mothers or fellow-hobbyists care. But if you want to sell books, you pretty much have to sell yourself. Unless you have a ghostwriter.

Ken
02-15-2010, 03:18 AM
... some 'friend.' I'd lose them if I were you. No need having someone like that about. Seriously. Sure there are some egotisical writers who are in it just for the glory. But there are so many, many more who write simply because they love writing and want to bring enjoyment in one form and another to others. Some "egotism." :rolleyes:

ishtar'sgate
02-15-2010, 03:23 AM
Basically, she said something like, "being a writer is such an egotistical thing, like we're now going to bow down to you because you write a book or two..."

nobody needs to look up to others or live vicariously through another person's success.

Are we the kind of culture that fawns over other people's success, or that this business is so about "selling" and "promoting" and "having fans" that it is all about our egos?
We are most definitely a culture that fawns over successful people. Either that or we hate their guts! Your friend is most likely simply jealous of your success. You've done very well and that sometimes brings out the worst in people. If she felt she'd made a success of her own life in whatever is satisfying to her she wouldn't equate recognition of your success with 'living vicariously through another person's success'. She'd have a life she was happy with and wouldn't wish she had yours.
I don't think writing breeds egoists any more than any other line of work. Promotion is work, selling is work, fans are the fun part that make it worthwhile.

Jamesaritchie
02-15-2010, 03:51 AM
The professional writers Iíve met and know personally are a very mixed bunch, and yes, some of them proudly swagger along with ĎIím a writerí written all over them. Some of the others are so shy that they need tranquillisers to attend a book signing, and are lost for words when interviewed on TV.

Most of the others are reasonably normal people, proud of their achievements but with just the right amount of humility.

A minority of them are unashamedly in it for the money, nothing else matters in the slightest, adulation does not pay the rent and if they need to prostitute their beliefs, they will.

I donít know where I fit in, Iím trying to visualise a scenario where Iím offered only two choices, literary recognition or a sack full of money.

Why did I consider hesitating? Of course I would take the money.

I started writing strictly for teh money, and I'm not the least bit ashamed of doing so. Soem of teh best and most famous writers in history started writing strictly for teh money.

But this has nothing at all to do with prostituting anything for anyone. That's one of those statements that doesn't even have menaing, let alone a basis in reality. I assume some unsuccessful literary hack first said it.

Claudia Gray
02-15-2010, 04:22 AM
Of course a writer's ego is part of the drive to promote books. Anybody's ego is tied up in their professional life to some extent -- why would writers be an exception? But as long as those efforts have real impact, and a real audience, they serve a genuine purpose.

LuckyH
02-15-2010, 11:11 AM
I started writing strictly for teh money, and I'm not the least bit ashamed of doing so. Soem of teh best and most famous writers in history started writing strictly for teh money.

But this has nothing at all to do with prostituting anything for anyone. That's one of those statements that doesn't even have menaing, let alone a basis in reality. I assume some unsuccessful literary hack first said it.

I remember way back in the dark ages of wanting to please everyone in sight, mostly my God-like editor, who was a literary hack, a successful one as far as I could tell, who persuaded me that sex sells and that I wasnít writing enough of it in my little story.

I prostituted myself and wrote some stuff that made me cringe, and still does.

Another God-like figure, even higher up in the chain of command, ticked me off for writing something derogatory about lesbians, something I wasnít aware off and certainly hadnít intended. It took me a couple of days to amend my story, with gritted teeth, and I went too far, which also made me cringe.

I donít know who used the phrase before I did last night, but it seemed an appropriate way to describe what I was trying to describe Ė I foolishly think that all of my writing is purely original, but acknowledge that some hack somewhere may have thought of it first.

Itís all about ego, I suppose.

CAWriter
02-15-2010, 12:20 PM
nobody needs to look up to others or live vicariously through another person's success.

I think this is the most telling comment. She has enough ego that she thinks there is no one "above" her or worth "looking up to." In other words, "Even if you've written a book, you're no better than me and I won't look up to you." That's all on her, it's really got nothing to do with you.

I have lots of friends who are successful in various endeavors. Whether they have ego about it or no, I'm still capable of being happy for their achievements without feeling diminished at all. I don't have to live vicariously through anyone.

There are people with too much ego in any field. I think there are many writers who would honestly rather write in their little rooms and forgo any sort of public appearances or other activities related to promotion. If publishers didn't expect/require it, a LOT of writers wouldn't do it at all.

I have to admit though, my own fear of being perceived that way probably influences my reluctance to talk about my writing to most people in my immediate world. People don't get it, I don't like being misunderstood, so it's something I keep separate in many ways.

artemis31386
02-15-2010, 02:16 PM
I think that if any friend of mine said such a negative comment, I would call them on it, by pointing out a) they either don't understand how this industry works or b) they are suffering from envy.

Is there a little bit of ego, yes. It's not the big headed type that people would think. It's more the sense of accomplishment that you had the ability to not only finish writing your story, but you did it in a compelling way that made someone else feel something by reading it.

Promotional things like signings, interviews, etc. are not the place where ego comes into play. Maybe for a few there is. But promotion comes along with the territory of being a published author. Once we're published I think we all hope that we can someday quit the day job and the only way to do that is to garner sales. The only way to do that is to promote (or as my friends jokingly call it, pimp, lol) yourself and your book so people know who you are and your book's name.

Its not about being famous or rich. If we wanted to be rich, we wouldn't be authors.

ATP
02-15-2010, 03:15 PM
Your friend has stated a number of things, and the numerous comments here about your friend's statements are apt.

If this was one of my so-called 'friends' who had said this to me, I might have had the same initial reaction as you had. But, the conclusion I have reached is that there will always be detractors of successful people, in the very clear and obvious manner. It comes with the territory--best develop a 'thick skin', and just get back to doing what you're doing.

the_Unknown
02-15-2010, 03:15 PM
The writing itself is where you want to minimize your ego so it doesn't overshadow the story. IE, I've read a lot of reviews where people are sick of religious/political views being beaten over their heads.

Other than that, ego is about what personally works for you.

HelloKiddo
02-16-2010, 04:32 AM
1.) Maybe she thinks your ego is out of control and this is how she's telling you.

2.) Maybe she knows some other writers who are obnoxious and she finally snapped, unloading it on you.

Sarashay
02-16-2010, 08:01 AM
A friend's recent comments to me bothered me.

Basically, she said something like, "being a writer is such an egotistical thing, like we're now going to bow down to you because you write a book or two..."

She went on to say the promotions and websites and book signings, publicity and all that further convinced her writers like me were egoistical, and she had no intention to become fans or groupies of anyone's -- that nobody needs to look up to others or live vicariously through another person's success.

My first reaction to her comments was "upset." But then I got to think: does she have a point? Are we the kind of culture that fawns over other people's success, or that this business is so about "selling" and "promoting" and "having fans" that it is all about our egos?

As others have said, your friend sounds massively insecure and it seems like she would rather bring you down verbally than work on her own dreams.

PoppysInARow
02-16-2010, 08:38 AM
Honestly, I think your friend is demonstrating a very westerized ideal that celebrating success or loving what you have achieved is considered narcassism.

For example, in France it's acceptable to take extended vacations after a traumatic incedent to help heal your mind. In North America, people try to respect your pain, but after a couple of weeks people start tapping their toes and glancing at their watches, wondering when you'll stop being "selfish" and go back to contributing to society.

A lot of times people are made to feel guilty for having sucess. If a publisher would premote your book, that's fine, but if you take initiative and premote yourself, that's narcacism, putting yourself in people's faces and saying, "Look what I did."

I's fuelled by jealousy and shame, and in my opinion it's ridiculious. A salsman puts himself out there to sell a product and a writer is exactly the same.

Mr. Anonymous
02-16-2010, 11:15 AM
I think your friend has a very poor idea of the reality of being a writer (ie, not everyone gets to be J.K. Rowling/Stephen King, most don't even quit their day jobs.) HOWEVER, I do think she's on to something, regarding the fact that our modern society has this tendency to put a very small number of people, artists, actors, writers, directors, etc on a pedestal for us to idolize and then reporters go running around writing crazy stories about them which further galvanizes their already crazed fans...etc.

ATP
02-16-2010, 03:55 PM
HOWEVER, I do think she's on to something, regarding the fact that our modern society has this tendency to put a very small number of people, artists, actors, writers, directors, etc on a pedestal for us to idolize and then reporters go running around writing crazy stories about them which further galvanizes their already crazed fans...etc.

Yes. I believe the character of the relationship is a symbiotic relationship between the media and the audience, while its form is that of celebrity worship.Not necessarily confined to the US, no; but the US appears to have made it into somewhat of a strident art.

Phaeal
02-16-2010, 06:35 PM
We objectivists think true ego is good. That is, a sense of self that produces good work and that wallows neither in false modesty nor false grandeur.

Your friend sounds very unfriendly to me.

CaroGirl
02-16-2010, 06:35 PM
Aren't Pride and Envy each one of the seven deadly sins? Sounds to me like there's both going on here. Ray's friend sees writerly Pride as egotistical and self-indulgent, and we writers see her Envy as nothing more than "sour grapes".

HighDesertBrat
02-16-2010, 07:51 PM
I fall back on what my grandmother told me.
Them what matter don't mind. Them what mind don't matter.

Jamesaritchie
02-16-2010, 08:47 PM
I remember way back in the dark ages of wanting to please everyone in sight, mostly my God-like editor, who was a literary hack, a successful one as far as I could tell, who persuaded me that sex sells and that I wasnít writing enough of it in my little story.

I prostituted myself and wrote some stuff that made me cringe, and still does.

Another God-like figure, even higher up in the chain of command, ticked me off for writing something derogatory about lesbians, something I wasnít aware off and certainly hadnít intended. It took me a couple of days to amend my story, with gritted teeth, and I went too far, which also made me cringe.

I donít know who used the phrase before I did last night, but it seemed an appropriate way to describe what I was trying to describe Ė I foolishly think that all of my writing is purely original, but acknowledge that some hack somewhere may have thought of it first.

Itís all about ego, I suppose.


Sure, you can write something you don't believe in simply for the money, but you never have to do so. In thirty years, I've never written nyting I didn't want to write, or anything I didn't believe in.

The reason is simple. The best possible way to make money from writing is to write what you most love writing, and to tell the story you most want to tell.

This is a society that fawns over success, which is fine. Thr problem is that too many people cofuse being good at something with being a good person. There are actors and writers out there who act or write in ways I love, and good for them. I love it when someone does something but this does not make the actor or the writer a special person, a good person, or even a person who should be allowed out in public without a guardian.

That's what bugs me. A person might be a great ctor, but to dress like them, eat like them, act like them? That's worse than sad.

I've heard it said that we shouldn't admire anyone because of how much money he makes, but for what he does with the money after he makes it.

Lot of truth in that. Actors and writers should be taken the same way. We shouldn't be admired because we earn millions of dollars from acting or writing, but for what we do with that money after we make it.

As for writing, I tink many writers, like many in otehr professions, see themselves as what they do, rather than who they are. Being able to write a pubishable book or short story means no more to me than being able to throw a football well, or being able to hit the bull's eye with a rifle, or being able to sail a boat. Each takes a little talent, a little skill, and some practice. That's it.

Everyone talks about how hard it is to write a pubishable book, and it's true enough that most who try will never get the job done, but I don't think this is because it's so terribly difficult. Good grief, so many people write publishable books that not even the chain bookstores can keep up with the output. Walk into any bookstore and you see tousands of published books. Wait three weeks, and most of those will be gone, and thousands more will take their places.

Most writers have trouble writing a publishable book because they find all sorts of reasons not to write one. They find reasons not to write at all, or to only write when "inspiration" strikes, or not to write to length, or to write all sorts of things that are really just delaying tactics, or you name it.

To me, writng just seems an awfully silly, thing to wrap your ego around. So does acting, painting, or pretty much any profession.

What really make sit all pathetically funny to me is that there are many professions that people can rightfully feel very good about themselves for doing, be it a doctor who foregoes a luxury private practice to live in a third world country helping the poor, to a Mother Teresa, to a school teacher who works in Africa, etc, yet these people usually have the smallest egos of anyone. And receive the least amount of acclaim.

It sometimes seems that the less meaningful our lives, the more we seek ego boosts, and the more the genral public is willing to grant such boosts, probably because too many of them also lead meaningless lives.

I don't care how well Madonna sings, or how well Sean Connery acts, or how well anyone writes. If they do good work, I'll listen and watch and read, but I won't be a fan of them, only of their work.

Books can be important. Books can change lives. A book that changes an individual can change the world. But admire the book, not the writer.

I think we get ourselves in trouble when we start insisting that we're artists, as if being an artist can't mean we aren't low life scum. We get in trouble when we think being a writer means being a special person. Hell, even Hitler wrote a book.

Writing is just something I do because I'm good enough at it to make money without having to pick heavy things up here and sit them down over there. I try to write the best way I can, but I try to chop wood the best way I can, too.

maestrowork
02-16-2010, 09:32 PM
But admire the book, not the writer.


But how can you be a fan of Catcher in the Rye but not a fan of the man who created that thing?

A religious analogy would be to admire the universe and world, but not God.

That's, of course, very different from the notion that God is saying, "Look at me! See great and glorious I am. Worship me."

I think ego is natural. We all have it, even to the slightest degree. But too much of it becomes vanity and pride. Arrogance if the person believe they are better than anyone else.

Still, on the flipside, it seems to be rather cynical to say "we only admire the work, not the person who did the work." It seems to me we have it backwards: that we're celebrating the work and not the human beings. Does it really mean that we're no different than Albert Einstein or Thomas Edison (in many ways, it's true.. we all go to the bathroom and put on pants one leg at a time) or Mother Teresa? But at the same time, personally I think it's awfully disrespectful to say it's the work that mattered, not the person behind it. Oh, the humanity!

Then why not NOT have Martin Luther King Day, but instead, have a "I have a dream" or "a great inspiring speech" day? George Washington meant nothing to us, then?

scarletpeaches
02-16-2010, 09:35 PM
I can understand that perfectly. How often have we said we are not our characters? The author is separate from his work. I can like a book but not the person who wrote it.

Although I suppose when you talk about being a fan, that's not necessarily liking the whole man, just appreciating his abilities with regard to creating a novel.

KTC
02-16-2010, 09:39 PM
A friend's recent comments to me bothered me.

Basically, she said something like, "being a writer is such an egotistical thing, like we're now going to bow down to you because you write a book or two..."

She went on to say the promotions and websites and book signings, publicity and all that further convinced her writers like me were egoistical, and she had no intention to become fans or groupies of anyone's -- that nobody needs to look up to others or live vicariously through another person's success.

My first reaction to her comments was "upset." But then I got to think: does she have a point? Are we the kind of culture that fawns over other people's success, or that this business is so about "selling" and "promoting" and "having fans" that it is all about our egos?

stuff your friend.

the sad truth is that you have to SELL, SELL, SELL if you're a writer today. not all of us are made that way, either. gone are the days where great writing is enough...with exceptions, of course. you could see mediocre writers doing better than great writers today...because of the mediocre writer's ability to sell, push, sell, push themselves. it doesn't make them egotisical bastards...it makes them passionate about writing.

KTC
02-16-2010, 09:41 PM
When I talk of being a fan of a writer...I mean that I am a fan only of their words. My favourite writers are JD Salinger and Michael Chabon. Almost everything I know of Salinger outside of his writing is speculation. I know almost nothing of Michael Chabon outside of his writing...but I'm a huge fan.

Ken
02-16-2010, 09:55 PM
... it's possible to respect a writer's talent and like their works, but not be a fan. Take Jack London. I like his books, very much, but don't think much of the author. And if I was around at the time and spotted him on the streets I'd spit on the ground and shake my fist on account of the racist ideas he occasionally expressed in public. The same of Mark Twain, who sided with the Confederates and joined its militia! So it's good I can separate the author from their works, else I'd have no choice but to toss their novels in the trash. Perhaps one day I will!

Noah Body
02-16-2010, 10:12 PM
A friend's recent comments to me bothered me.

Basically, she said something like, "being a writer is such an egotistical thing, like we're now going to bow down to you because you write a book or two..."

She went on to say the promotions and websites and book signings, publicity and all that further convinced her writers like me were egoistical, and she had no intention to become fans or groupies of anyone's -- that nobody needs to look up to others or live vicariously through another person's success.

My first reaction to her comments was "upset." But then I got to think: does she have a point? Are we the kind of culture that fawns over other people's success, or that this business is so about "selling" and "promoting" and "having fans" that it is all about our egos?

Look, if she's not gonna buy your books, turn the death ray her way.

LuckyH
02-17-2010, 12:55 AM
For logistical reasons, I had to re-arrange my writing space yesterday, which should have meant throwing out some books to make space. I tried hard and filled several large containers full of books I thought I could do without. I put them out on the terrace to arrange to give them to local charity shops.

Some of those remaining had to be dusted down to restore them, which I found to be a pleasant task. But then I realised that the ones destined to be thrown out could still fit in the re-arranged space, albeit reducing my access to the writing desk.

Iím now stuck between piles of books and can hardly move my elbows, but Iím happy.

(I might still throw out the Choirboys because I noticed that some pages had come loose, and Iím debating whether a hard copy of Wilbur Smith deserves to be there).

(And Iíve put Dickens on probation).

(And Koontz).

Phaeal
02-17-2010, 01:04 AM
Huh?

maestrowork
02-17-2010, 01:07 AM
I think LuckyH was looking for the plant in writing space thread...

Chris P
02-17-2010, 01:20 AM
I don't see how writing differs from any other profession in that way. It's just that writers, actors, athletes and musicians are so much more visible than say, research scientists with gorilla avatars. In every profession there will be those who think that what they do means more than it does.

I have a friend who has been writing since he was a teen, has millions of words tucked away in his sock drawer, has never even attempted to publish anything, yet expects to be treated as a talented writer. He might be, but how will we ever know? I think your friend is responding to people like my friend.

In the end it comes down to me; how am I acting toward people? Do I act like my grand total of 2000 published words and a novella that's sold 11 copies means anything it doesn't? I don't want what my friend has, so I'm not going to try too hard to act like him.

Rebekah7
02-17-2010, 01:35 AM
This is a society that fawns over success, which is fine. Thr problem is that too many people cofuse being good at something with being a good person. There are actors and writers out there who act or write in ways I love, and good for them. I love it when someone does something but this does not make the actor or the writer a special person, a good person, or even a person who should be allowed out in public without a guardian.


NOTE: Just because I quoted you, doesn't mean I'm saying that you think this. I was just using part of what you said as a starting off point. /NOTE

Actually, I've met more people who confuse being good at something with being a bad person. Skill and acclaim don't mean someone has to feel worse about themselves or tell everybody that what they do isn't as important as the "average" people in society. Average is a lie. Some people are good at things that society decided is "special" and some people are good at things that society decided are "normal."

The people who happen to be successful at what's currently deemed "special" are not arrogant by default anymore than they are superior by default. They are just people taking pride in their accomplishments like everyone else.

I think the reason some people try to put down others who accomplish things in the "special" category isn't envy, it's because it's been drilled in everyone's head that their worth is based on how well they perform on certain tasks. When they see someone who is good at those tasks, they assume that person must think they're better than everyone. From what I've seen, most people who are good at one of the "skills of the month" is don't see themselves as better, simply because they've also been taught that they aren't worth much because they aren't good at some other "special" skill.

Feeling worthless is confused with feeling humble. The most humble people I've met are the ones that know they have worth and are still able to realize that so does everyone else around them, even those who don't have any of the "special" skills.

Mr. Anonymous
02-17-2010, 04:19 AM
Now that I think about it, I do think there is something of ego involved in the general reluctance of authors to share their sales figures/size of first printing runs, etc. *waits to be crucified.*

aadams73
02-17-2010, 05:12 AM
Now that I think about it, I do think there is something of ego involved in the general reluctance of authors to share their sales figures/size of first printing runs, etc. *waits to be crucified.*

No, it's just none of your business. It's one thing if it's volunteered, but you are not entitled to those figures.

maestrowork
02-17-2010, 05:33 AM
I have no secrets. I make between $1 and $10,000,000,000.

Mr. Anonymous
02-17-2010, 05:57 AM
No, it's just none of your business. It's one thing if it's volunteered, but you are not entitled to those figures.

I don't mean to provoke anyone/start a ruckus, but honestly I just don't get it. It feels like a lot of people (NOT JUST WRITERS) react to this kind of question (how much money do you make?) as if the person asking (NOTE, I have never asked) is asking to see them naked (which tells you a lot about our cultural values, that a silly question like this is considered so very intimate.) Of course, the next question is, why would you not want someone to see you naked? My personal answer is that I'd be embarrassed. I think a feeling of embarrassment is a way of taking someone's pride and rubbing it the wrong way somehow, and to my mind at least, pride is tied into ego. *shrugs shoulders.* Then again, I am young and stupid and the only thing I've sold is one short story to some highly suspect looking website that I won't ever use as a cred. They did, admittedly, pay me well though (100 dollars.) I dunno. Maybe I'll come to understand later.

And just to clarify. I'm not saying that anyone HAS to tell anyone else. I'm just bringing up the fact that if you don't want to tell, it is for a reason, and that reason is probably tied into ego. To say it's none of somebody's business, while true, is to side step the question. Would you similarly side step a question about your age or eye color? Probably not. If I asked people about their weight though, I'm sure a lot of them would either lie or sidestep, because that's something we're more sensitive about. Why are we more sensitive? Ego. Just my opinion (I'm not making a judgment on whether this is necessarily good or bad... Most actions in life can be argued to be egotistical...)

To give you an example of what I mean. Younger people often times aren't taken seriously in serious conversation on the internet. So, years back, when people asked me how old I was, I would either lie or tell them it was none of their business. I did this to preserve a certain image of myself that mattered to me.

scarletpeaches
02-17-2010, 06:32 AM
I don't tell anyone how much money I have in the bank because a) it's no-one's business and b) I'm sick of hearing requests for a loan or admonitions that I clearly have too much if I can afford to buy toys (ereader, netbook and the like).

An ex boyfriend once said it was "sickening" than I earned more than him. That's part of the reason why he's my ex.

My own mother stole money off me.

Money is one of those subjects about which people seem to think they can opine, unbidden. That is why I don't tell anyone how much I earn/have/save/spend any more. Even when asked.

It's nothing to do with ego. Everything to do with the fact no-one has the right to that information and a sense of entitlement to same guarantees I will withhold it from you.

Mr. Anonymous
02-17-2010, 06:39 AM
I don't tell anyone how much money I have in the bank because a) it's no-one's business and b) I'm sick of hearing requests for a loan or admonitions that I clearly have too much if I can afford to buy toys (ereader, netbook and the like).

An ex boyfriend once said it was "sickening" than I earned more than him. That's part of the reason why he's my ex.

My own mother stole money off me.

Money is one of those subjects about which people seem to think they can opine, unbidden. That is why I don't tell anyone how much I earn/have/save/spend any more. Even when asked.

It's nothing to do with ego. Everything to do with the fact no-one has the right to that information and a sense of entitlement to same guarantees I will withhold it from you.

Maybe you've just been telling the wrong people. xP

scarletpeaches
02-17-2010, 06:41 AM
Anyone who asks about money is the wrong person.

Wayne K
02-17-2010, 06:44 AM
Money and sex are the same in one respect. People who talk about it a lot don't have any

Mr. Anonymous
02-17-2010, 06:44 AM
Anyone who asks about money is the wrong person.

lol. But you have to admit, it's only natural for an aspiring writer who wants to try to make a living off his writing to be curious about these questions. I fail to see how a stranger can/will somehow be able to take advantage of another stranger on that basis, especially when the second stranger is actually HELPING the first one. Maybe I'm naive.

scarletpeaches
02-17-2010, 06:49 AM
There are websites which give average sales and royalties for certain publishers. So the information is there, but not specific to any one writer.

The problem with saying "I sold such-and-such," is that it often becomes a pissing contest, or people think you're boasting.

In a way, I agree that we should feel free to be more open about things like that, but...hell, I had people come down hard on me for merely mentioning particular successes on my path to publication (not there yet, but knocking at the door). To some (insecure) people it seems like boasting if you're open and honest about certain things.

Now sure, withholding that information is a kind of lie, to me anyway. Lying by omission. But...for the sake of a quiet life and because I'm sick of plain old jealousy, I keep certain things to myself these days because I know someone will tear me a new one if I make them feel bad.

Which is probably why writers in general like to keep their earnings private. Sales? Less of a problem there, but as I said before it tends to be averaged out across a publishing house's authors rather than specific to any one (unless they're stratospherically successful, a la King or Steel).

maestrowork
02-17-2010, 07:18 AM
The only people who know EXACTLY how much money I make or have are myself and the IRS.

I don't see why that has anything to do with ego, though. And certainly not related to writers and writing only. I'm sure if you want to find out exactly how much Bill Gates or JK Rowling makes a year, you can. Such things are not really "secrets." But the thing is, should we go over to Gates' or Rowling's house and ask them? Should they answer?

Chris P
02-17-2010, 07:21 AM
Now that I think about it, I do think there is something of ego involved in the general reluctance of authors to share their sales figures/size of first printing runs, etc. *waits to be crucified.*

Oh, good grief. Keep your pot-stirring in your own thread! Go on! Shoo!

C.bronco
02-17-2010, 07:28 AM
I'm really happy when I hear that someone gets a deal and sends the little people in their head to life.

Egotistical? Nah. It takes a lot to put yourself out there. There is so little payback 99% of the time. Most writers who venture toward publication are voting themselves as lambs to the slaughter.

Don't fret over it; getting published is a praiseworthy thing.

You deserve the kudos you have recieved, Ray. I recommend a drink and some chocolates; everything will be better in the morning!

Mr. Anonymous
02-17-2010, 07:33 AM
SP (can I call you sp?) - You have a good point. I retract some of the force of what I said, though I still feel that the reason you stated (avoiding pissing contests) is tied into ego, just not in the way that I described. I mean, pissing contests aren't really about the pissing. They're about ego.

Maestro - But surely you realize that it would be much more valuable for an aspiring writer to know how much an author like you makes as opposed to an author like J.K. Rowling? There are places online that give average salaries for virtually ever job you can imagine... Nothing like that exists for writers of poetry/short stories/novels. The only website I ever saw that listed some information as to this regard was a page that had the average advances by publishers on romance novels.

As for ego, I merely brought that up as a reason for not wanting to answer. SP brought up a very good point that basically amounted to avoiding drama, but even that ties in a little bit with ego.

Chris P - lol? Excuse me? If you're thinking I was the one who made that unholiest of unholies thread then you're mistaken. I haven't even posted in it (though I admit, reading through it did prompt me to make the post that I did.)

Chris P
02-17-2010, 07:36 AM
Chris P - lol? Excuse me? If you're thinking I was the one who made that unholiest of unholies thread then you're mistaken. I haven't even posted in it (though I admit, reading through it did prompt me to make the post that I did.)

That thread was interesting. Much about the business that I don't know. It certainly got people talking!

maestrowork
02-17-2010, 08:20 AM
There are places online that give average salaries for virtually ever job you can imagine...

That's the problem, writing (at least non-salaried fiction writing) is not a "job" like the others. There is a range but it's very wide range. The problem with giving my income or Rowling's income is that neither is a good yardstick. Some writers don't make anything. Some gets seven-figure advances. Some of these are generally public knowledge (for example, Niffeneger got $5M advance for her second book).

There is, however, common sense. There are "average" figures in each genre, for each type of books, etc. If you look you can find how much, on average, a midlist novelist makes. But that's just A figure. It does not say, "if you do this and that and follow this or that, you will make that amount." This isn't "computer programming" or "data entry level II" positions.

But anyway, none of that has to do with ego, though -- just privacy. My income is my business.

Toothpaste
02-17-2010, 09:07 AM
There are places online that give average salaries for virtually ever job you can imagine... Nothing like that exists for writers of poetry/short stories/novels. The only website I ever saw that listed some information as to this regard was a page that had the average advances by publishers on romance novels.


Here you go. It's a couple years old, talks about general fiction and SF/Fantasy: http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2005/10/05/author-advance-survey-version-20/

The problem is, as has already been repeatedly answered for you, me telling you how much I got on an advance is of absolutely no help to you. It's different for everyone. What's more helpful are links like the one I provided because it gives you a sense of what authors earn on average.

As to the whole not telling thing to people their income because of ego . . . that's just weird. I'm sorry. But I used to artlessly tell everyone everything about me. I just thought it was interesting, and, what's more, helpful. I still, to a certain extent, do so with my blog. That's why I have a blog in the first place, I come from a long line of teachers and I like to share the lessons I have learned in my short time in the publishing industry.

HOWEVER.

Like SP I was burned. I've had people get mad at me for sharing my latest book deals because they thought I was bragging (I'm sure Maestro's friend would have felt that way). Thing was, I was just so excited and couldn't believe something like this could ever happen to me. If anything, it was the opposite of ego. I've had people accuse me of being cheap because they knew what my advance was (these people neglect to remember that I may not sell another book for years and I'll be living off that money for a while so I need an extremely strict budget).

I don't share much personal information anymore because of personal experience. Not because I think, "Ooh, you'll all be jealous of my awesomeness." I do it because people misconstrue why you're sharing, and, to be honest, not many people like to see others succeed.

Besides it's also dangerous. I don't know who's on the internet, and I don't want them to know how much money I have thank you very much. I don't want to be a target (for the record you evil money scammers out there, I seriously don't have that much).

Beyond that, things are allowed to be personal. I know we live in a day and age where everyone is an open book, but there's something nice in having things that are just yours. That aren't anyone else's business. I don't need to be judged, thank you very much, because I don't want to share everything with the world. And nor does that mean I have excessive pride over these secrets. Heck, they aren't even secrets to begin with. Secrets implies I'm keeping something from you. This information was none of your business to begin with.

(also the idea that people who willingly share any and all information have less ego is a rather false conclusion. Have you never heard the term braggart?)

Mr. Anonymous
02-17-2010, 10:01 AM
Maestro, you have a good point and you certainly have a right to your opinion, though I still don't quite agree. People don't keep private for the fun of it. They have a reason for doing so. That may be avoiding drama, or not wanting to "brag" but it certainly isn't because they want to be private (because that involves circular reasoning. I am private because I want to be private and I want to be private because I want to want to be private...etc.)

And Toothpaste, thank you for the link. I can agree with a lot of what you say as well and I'm sorry to hear of bad experiences on your part.

I dunno guys, I get the feeling that you think I'm insulting you or something. I'm not. I'm unpublished, so what do I know? If I ever do get published, there's a good chance I'll feel the same way you all do. Maybe I just won't want to quantify a book, which is kind of like a dream, really, with something concrete that to my mind will somehow diminish its worth. There is more to my book than the advance I got or the amount of copies I sold. Maybe I wouldn't talk about it for that reason, but that's still ego based, to my mind.

For me most if not all things in life are to a greater or lesser extent (doesn't make them bad.) For example, I've been seriously wondering about whether I should bring a child of my own into this world or not - whether I wouldn't be just doing it because I want a child, because I want someone else in my life to love, for me me me. I'm not trying to call anyone out. Just speaking my thoughts out loud. Like I said, I haven't been in the position so all I can do is speculate (especially because it's a sort of taboo to even discuss it.) Now that I've spoken with you all I have a more balanced idea that takes into consideration more than just my own view. For that, you all have my thanks.

LuckyH
02-17-2010, 11:21 AM
Having made a faux pas a few posts ago, I want to make amends.

I got an advance of £4,800 in 1993. It made me write much faster than before. Due to domestic circumstances, I didnít tell anyone. Perhaps I wouldnít have told anyone anyway, because Iím quite a private person.

Until now.

aadams73
02-17-2010, 03:06 PM
I don't mean to provoke anyone/start a ruckus, but honestly I just don't get it. It feels like a lot of people (NOT JUST WRITERS) react to this kind of question (how much money do you make?) as if the person asking (NOTE, I have never asked) is asking to see them naked (which tells you a lot about our cultural values, that a silly question like this is considered so very intimate.) .

Oh I know you're not trying to start a fight, but honestly asking for that kind of information is a breech of etiquette. It's just rude.

It's nobody's business, that's all.

aadams73
02-17-2010, 03:20 PM
Besides it's also dangerous. I don't know who's on the internet, and I don't want them to know how much money I have thank you very much. I don't want to be a target (for the record you evil money scammers out there, I seriously don't have that much).


You bring up a great point about privacy. It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that the faces and names we see on this board are the only ones reading our words.

We form friendships, we get to know people, we socialize. As a result we sometimes let our guard down when we shouldn't. We give a little too much identifying information. We sometimes over-share.

We don't know who is watching or how they'll use what they see. So keeping one's income and sales figures private is a sensible idea.

Amarie
02-17-2010, 05:16 PM
Maestro, you have a good point and you certainly have a right to your opinion, though I still don't quite agree. People don't keep private for the fun of it. They have a reason for doing so. That may be avoiding drama, or not wanting to "brag" but it certainly isn't because they want to be private (because that involves circular reasoning. I am private because I want to be private and I want to be private because I want to want to be private...etc.)


People keep things private because in our culture we believe we should have some control over how much of our lives we want to share. That's not circular reasoning. I don't have to tell anyone the results from my latest doctor's visit, or how I spend my free time, or what I spend my income on or what that income is.

Phaeal
02-17-2010, 05:20 PM
I'd tell you guys how much money I make, except I don't want to be accused of causing coffee/tea/milk/alcoholic beverage spews of merriment.

Heh, the question makes me think of how so many people in Jane Austen's novels are introduced by how much money they have. Mr. Bingley has 5,000 a year, or was it 10,000? But Darcy has 20,000. Dude! Emma is worth 30,000, so Mr. Elton comes way down in the world when he has to settle for a wife with only 10,000. I think the poor Dashwoods are living on only 500 a year.

Ruv Draba
02-17-2010, 06:17 PM
Are we the kind of culture that fawns over other people's success, or that this business is so about "selling" and "promoting" and "having fans" that it is all about our egos?That's a really interesting question, Maestro.

I know more introverted writers than extraverts -- there aren't many extraverts who can enjoy sitting by themselves for the kind of time a writer does. But most everyone, no matter how solitary, likes to feel valued, to be respected, to feel they belong.

One of the pleasures of writing fiction is that whatever you write, it's yours. If someone likes your work you can be proud of that. And stories are always intimate things. They come from the middle of your mind. So in some way, if readers like your stories, they like you.

Most writers aren't rock-star personalities. I think a lot of writers enjoy the idea of being liked by strangers without actually having to spend a lot of time with them. I think too some like the hours, or the working conditions or the idea of earning a living from what is essentially daydreaming.

Writing is demanding, but a lot of fiction-authors don't need to please too many people other than themselves (though it's a bit different for copy-writers, journalists and staff-writers).

So even writers who don't like the selling/promoting side (and I think there are a lot who don't) may have some self-interest in writing. But that's not to say that writers are only self-interested. Writers can invest a great deal of time getting to know other people, other professions, other peoples' problems and issues. Many are compassionate people who donate to charities. Many volunteer to help other people. There's plenty of evidence of that on these forums.

So sure, I'd say that writing can be very self-interested but I don't think it's necessarily self-absorbed.

*RomanceWriter*
02-17-2010, 06:24 PM
I haven't read any of the comments because of the sheer volume.
From what you've said though, I'd say it's jealousy. Plain and simple.

Ruv Draba
02-17-2010, 06:25 PM
An afterthought -- writing to publish requires some self-confidence. It's an entrepreneurial activity -- you're investing in developing a product that you think people will want to buy, and some might find that intimidating -- if you write to publish and I don't write at all then you must think you're smarter/more interesting/better than me.

I've seen this accusation levelled at managers, musicians, actors and people running their own businesses: you must be an egotist because I could never do that. :D

Namatu
02-17-2010, 06:52 PM
People don't keep private for the fun of it. They have a reason for doing so. That may be avoiding drama, or not wanting to "brag" but it certainly isn't because they want to be privateActually, it is. I don't want everyone to know my business, personal or professional. Why? Because I don't know you (general you). Why would I share my salary with you (general you) when I don't share it with my coworkers? (Meant for example purposes only.)


I dunno guys, I get the feeling that you think I'm insulting you or something. I'm not. I'm unpublished, so what do I know?I admit to being curious as well about advances, but I also figure they vary so much depending on author, type of deal, and the current economy, that there's no way to ever get a good idea of what's "normal." Normal varies. I'll just have to wait and find out for myself.

Toothpaste
02-17-2010, 07:05 PM
Glad I could help Mr. Anon! :)

But I have to say, you are drawing a false conclusion I guess based on your own thought process. Just because you keep things to yourself for egotistacal reasons, doesn't mean everyone else does. As I elaborated in my post, there's safety, there's a fear of being burned, there's also just people who want to be private. I know that concept seems crazy to you, but there actually are people who are deeply private, some who are painfully shy, and you know what, they aren't thinking they are keeping information from others, they just don't feel it's anyone else's business.

It's amazing how now the expected norm is sharing. I feel truly bad for the younger generation who feel obligated to open up about everything otherwise they must be hiding something for a nefarious reason. If it's not a big deal why not share it?

If it's not a big deal, why do you care?

Namatu
02-17-2010, 07:20 PM
It's amazing how now the expected norm is sharing. I feel truly bad for the younger generation who feel obligated to open up about everything otherwise they must be hiding something for a nefarious reason. If it's not a big deal why not share it?

If it's not a big deal, why do you care?Exactly!

I don't advertise my birthday. They've never been a big deal to me. Someone told me I was robbing all of my friends of joy by not sharing the info. Now feel free to celebrate me any day you want, but I somehow doubt I'm robbing anyone of joy by keeping a birthday quiet. Nor am I robbing them of anything else by keeping other information to myself (unless, of course, it's "that bus is going to tip over and roll off a cliff; don't get on it").

Toothpaste
02-17-2010, 07:32 PM
And exactly back!

Also, interesting to think . . .

Surely there's got to be some kind of ego involved in the attitude that others owe you (a general "you" not anyone in particular) information about their private lives. In the attitude that no one can possibly be keeping anything to themselves unless it's a secret to be kept from you.

You know what, there are certain things reserved for the people we care about in our lives and that's it. Choosing not to tell you something isn't some big deep decision that has something to do with my attitude towards you. You aren't that important to me. If you were, I'd be telling you stuff about me. Not everything is about you.

Namatu
02-17-2010, 07:55 PM
Choosing not to tell you something isn't some big deep decision that has something to do with my attitude towards you. You aren't that important to me. If you were, I'd be telling you stuff about me. Not everything is about you.I love this.

Modern technology leads people to believe that they have to share everything (because they can) and that there's something wrong with not sharing. No, that's just privacy, discretion, and a good heaping of common sense. It will be interesting to see how society changes over the next many years and whether the pro-privacy people get together to form a commune. ;)

maestrowork
02-17-2010, 08:00 PM
Maestro, you have a good point and you certainly have a right to your opinion, though I still don't quite agree. People don't keep private for the fun of it. They have a reason for doing so. That may be avoiding drama, or not wanting to "brag" but it certainly isn't because they want to be private (because that involves circular reasoning. I am private because I want to be private and I want to be private because I want to want to be private...etc.)

Some people are just private people. No point of assigning any moral or whatever value to that. What does fun have to do with it? What do you want? Everyone should just expose every detail of their lives? Why are you so interested in what I make? Do you ask your plumber how much he makes a year? Do you ask every plumber you know? Why is it your business?

And to me, telling people everything about you is the epitome of ego. What makes you think that you're so interesting to everyone around you that you should tell them everything about yourself, when not being asked? Why do you think people are interested in how much you make? Where you went on vacation? What kind of cars you drive? Is it bragging (oh, I drive a BMW)? Or is it self-deprecation (I can't afford a car)? Either way, there is "self" in it.

The lack of ego is something opposite -- people who don't inject themselves into everything they do or say. I was raised to be "humble" -- the least I tell people about me, the better, because I was taught that we're not important to other people until they make us so. Now, I am not saying I totally understand or follow that -- I certainly talk more about myself than I should... but I can understand the idea of taking yourself out of everything until other people are interesting in you. There's certainly about the reality-TV type of "in your face" tactics...

Jamesaritchie
02-17-2010, 08:10 PM
Maestro, you have a good point and you certainly have a right to your opinion, though I still don't quite agree. People don't keep private for the fun of it. They have a reason for doing so. That may be avoiding drama, or not wanting to "brag" but it certainly isn't because they want to be private (because that involves circular reasoning. I am private because I want to be private and I want to be private because I want to want to be private...etc.)

s.

Say what? Your thought process is really circular. Seriously, this makes no sense at all. Some people simply enjoy privacy, so they strive to keep everything private. I love privacy, and the reason I love it is because it's an enjoyable way to live. It most certainly is for the fun of it.

timewaster
02-17-2010, 08:49 PM
[QUOTE=maestrowork;4635863]A friend's recent comments to me bothered me.

Basically, she said something like, "being a writer is such an egotistical thing, like we're now going to bow down to you because you write a book or two..."

She obviously doesn't live in my world where, frankly, nobody cares. Nobody fawns, the idea is quite funny. People who know about what I do regard it as my part time job and nothing more. Websites etc are mandatory really like listing a business in the telephone book.
Maybe it is her problem that she really does think it remarkable to have written a book - most people know it isn't.

Sarashay
02-17-2010, 09:12 PM
Maybe it is her problem that she really does think it remarkable to have written a book - most people know it isn't.

I'm not so sure about "most people." Most writers, maybe, especially once they've written one or two and have a feel for what goes into it, but most people still seem to have funny notions about what writing a book entails.

Mr. Anonymous
02-17-2010, 10:23 PM
Namatu - Because I don't know you (general you). Why would I share my salary with you

So there is a reason that you are private. It is because you do not know me (me generally, speaking).


Next question is why would not knowing me dissuade you? Why is asking how much we make any different in our society than asking what color hair you have? I think it ties into SP's answer. It turns into a pissing contest, people start to get jealous, etc. And that's tied into ego.


Toothpaste - but there actually are people who are deeply private, some who are painfully shy, and you know what, they aren't thinking they are keeping information from others, they just don't feel it's anyone else's business.

*raises hand* I am painfully shy. Well, maybe not painfully. But you get my point. And when I keep thing's private, I think it is often tied into ego, the image I'm projecting/preserving, the way I am being perceived, etc. That said, last semester I worked 9 hours a week for 7.25 at a campus job. This semester I am not working (long story.) I will be in debt by about 130k by the time I graduate with a bachelors degree in philosophy (and that's AFTER the financial aid. Ha.)

I can understand having a book published is different, and how well it sold might not be the first thing I'd tell somebody I'd just met. But that's less to do with privacy and more to do with etiquette and being humble. If this person were a writer was genuinely curious as to how a fellow writer was getting by, I think I'd have little qualm telling him/her (though like I said, I don't know really know. Maybe I would have big qualms. If it sold poorly I might be ashamed, and if it sold really well, I might not want to get on the wrong side of someone else's ego.)



Say what? Your thought process is really circular. Seriously, this makes no sense at all. Some people simply enjoy privacy, so they strive to keep everything private. I love privacy, and the reason I love it is because it's an enjoyable way to live. It most certainly is for the fun of it.

To clarify, you enjoy privacy for a reason. You want to be private, for a reason. If you are a private person, you are a private person for a reason. To say you are a private person because you like privacy and you like privacy because you are a private reason is circular. The example in my previous post wasn't circular so much as it was a regress where we never really get a satisfying answer because we just keep restating the same thing...

I am a very shy person in real life. But I feel I can step back and say, it's all about preserving a certain image, maintaining a certain face, etc.

All I'm saying is that this kind of information could be genuinely useful to aspiring writers, and I was curious as to where the reluctance was coming from.

Maestro - Some people are just private people. No point of assigning any moral or whatever value to that. What does fun have to do with it? What do you want? Everyone should just expose every detail of their lives? Why are you so interested in what I make? Do you ask your plumber how much he makes a year? Do you ask every plumber you know? Why is it your business?

If you are thinking about being a plumber, I don't see why not. If I asked, what's a life in the day of a writer like, I think most people would have little problem answering. Talking about what they do on a daily basis. Explaining, etc. I've seen agents and editors make these kinds of blogs, for complete strangers to read. Why is what you do every day more private than what yoy get paid to do it?

And to me, telling people everything about you is the epitome of ego. What makes you think that you're so interesting to everyone around you that you should tell them everything about yourself, when not being asked? Why do you think people are interested in how much you make? Where you went on vacation? What kind of cars you drive? Is it bragging (oh, I drive a BMW)? Or is it self-deprecation (I can't afford a car)? Either way, there is "self" in it.

Yes, bragging does involve ego. But I don't think you're bragging if someone else asks and you give an honest answer. Even if we had some kind of anonymous collection of book sales/print runs whatever of various AW writers, I think it could be a great resource for new writers who want to stay realistic.

CaroGirl
02-17-2010, 10:35 PM
So what if I want to be private AND there's a reason? It's nobody's business what I earn at my job, no matter what that job is. It's also nobody's business WHY I might not want to tell any stranger off the street what I earn.

Is it just me or is this a completely ridiculous "argument?" I'm at a loss to understand the point here.

Mr. Anonymous
02-17-2010, 10:42 PM
Well, this thread was about ego, so I simply stated I think the reason why a lot of people are private has to do with ego, their self image, the image they're projecting, how they feel they're being perceived, etc. I don't think that's such a crazy idea at all.

Is it just me or is this a completely ridiculous "argument?" I'm at a loss to understand the point here.

The point is that we live in a culture where people are obsessed with materialism and so the question of how much money you make is deemed something private, something you only share with people you know. There are some practical reasons, for this, I admit, but I feel there's more to it than that to it.

I see that this discussion just seems to be aggravating people, and I'm the lone wolf here, so I will bow out. Thanks for your responses.

CaroGirl
02-17-2010, 10:48 PM
Well, this thread was about ego, so I simply stated I think the reason why a lot of people are private has to do with ego, their self image, the image they're projecting, how they feel they're being perceived, etc. I don't think that's such a crazy idea at all.

Is it just me or is this a completely ridiculous "argument?" I'm at a loss to understand the point here.

The point is that we live in a culture where people are obsessed with materialism and so the question of how much money you make is deemed something private, something you only share with people you know. There are some practical reasons, for this, I admit, but I feel there's more to it than that to it.

I see that this discussion just seems to be aggravating people, so I will bow out.
I doubt there was ever a culture in all of human history in which individuals freely displayed their wealth and possessions to strangers they knew nothing about. It doesn't have anything to do with ego but has everything to do with risking losing that wealth and those possessions to another whose intentions are unknown and potentially dishonorable.

I'm probably missing something essential because, again, I'm not getting it. :Shrug:

Phaeal
02-17-2010, 10:51 PM
So what if I want to be private AND there's a reason? It's nobody's business what I earn at my job, no matter what that job is. It's also nobody's business WHY I might not want to tell any stranger off the street what I earn.

Is it just me or is this a completely ridiculous "argument?" I'm at a loss to understand the point here.

I don't want to know what you earn. Unless you hit me up for a loan or I decide to marry you for your money. As for the first, can't loan what you don't have. As for the second, I's tooken.

;)

Namatu
02-17-2010, 10:59 PM
Namatu - Because I don't know you (general you). Why would I share my salary with you

So there is a reason that you are private. It is because you do not know me (me generally, speaking).Nah. I don't tell people I do know either. Why? Because my salary isn't an issue one way or another. It's unimportant.


Next question is why would not knowing me dissuade you?Stranger danger!


Why is asking how much we make any different in our society than asking what color hair you have?Hair color is evident by observation, and while a person can be jealous of my fabulous hair, they're highly unlikely to steal it from me.


I think it ties into SP's answer. It turns into a pissing contest, people start to get jealous, etc. And that's tied into ego.It can be, but to presume that that's what's at the root of whether someone is willing to talk about money or not does them a disservice.

Why can't it not be ego? Sure, this thread is about ego, but it's not "you're a big egoist". It's are "we" or aren't "we", maybe even how are we, but it's not "ego is at the root of everything." It's entirely possible it's not about ego at all. It could be privacy, modesty, orneriness, etc. Psychologically speaking, the ego is involved in everything, but it's not required to be dominant.

aadams73
02-17-2010, 11:11 PM
Well, this thread was about ego, so I simply stated I think the reason why a lot of people are private has to do with ego, their self image, the image they're projecting, how they feel they're being perceived, etc. I don't think that's such a crazy idea at all.


Ok, I think I see what you're saying now:

Some people like to flash a wad of cash and pretend they've got more than they have in actuality. And so to maintain that image of false wealth, they keep the secret of how much they really make.

I can see how that's about ego, but in the case of most writers', I don't think that's true. You don't see a lot of writers poncing around pretending they've sold X copies. They're either on the bestseller lists or they're not. That kind of information is readily available without hard fast figures being dribbled to every Tom, Dick or newbiewriter123432 on a forum.

(I'm extremely private, to my own detriment at times, but at the same time I'm sociable and outward going. The privacy thing has nothing to do with my ego. I just don't want to share every detail of my life with everyone, and I'm quite sure they don't care to hear those same details.)

Back to the ego/writer thing, I do know a writer or two who is an egotistical bore. But that's their personality--it carries across to all their activities. They brag about their writing, they brag about the new phone they just bought, they carry on like everything they do is the most important thing in the world.

Which is why I asked Ray if that's really what was bugging his friend. Maybe she feels he blabs on about his writing too much. As much as you like a person, having them yap about one subject non-stop can get old fast.

Or maybe she's just a sour puss. :D

Ken
02-17-2010, 11:59 PM
... the other justification about being hesitant to reveal how much you make from writing is that you're often not just revealing your own earnings but also how much a publisher in question is paying you. Publishers may not be entirely pleased to have this info released, publicly, for one reason and another. There are no official gag orders. But it is something to think about in keeping things professional and business-like between you and your publisher.

Richard White
02-18-2010, 01:07 AM
I have worked for companies where disclosing your pay to someone else in the company (outside of your immediate chain of command, since they handled your pay), could be grounds for termination.

It was felt that since people get paid in bands instead of everyone at X rating getting paid the same, it could cause bad morale. Apparently knowing the new guy got hired for X and you were still making X-% after so many years. Sure, the new guy has a higher degree/more experience from another company/is an expert in something . . . but dammit, I've been here longer, I should get paid more.

Ken
02-18-2010, 01:29 AM
... wow. That's intense. The policy makes sense, but it's still intense.

maestrowork
02-18-2010, 07:47 AM
I have worked for companies where disclosing your pay to someone else in the company (outside of your immediate chain of command, since they handled your pay), could be grounds for termination.

That's certainly the case with my previous company. Personnel information, especially compensation, is sensitive and only the managers or HR has that info. Anyone who disclose their exact pay or pay grade would be in trouble. If anyone dare to ask another employee how much they make, it's ground for termination.

Back the writing: the problem with talking about "pay" as a writer is that there really is no standard. It's not like you're in certain band or position, then you know what the pay grade and range is: for example, my pay level ranged from $60K to $135K. Still a wide range but you do have a good idea. With writing, though, we can talk about the "average" all we want, but each case is different, and that's why we have agents -- agents negotiate these things. Advances range from $0 to millions. So, I really don't see the point of a newbie writer asking "how much did you get for your novel?" It just comes across as nosy instead of having any quantitative merits.

As for ego: it's human nature. Everyone is selfish, at least to some extent, and there is always ego when the "I" is concerned. However, I think we're talking about egotism here -- self-importance. And I certainly don't think just because someone is private that they think they're more important than someone else. Or that writers are by nature self-important.

Still, I do wonder, what makes writer want to write? Is there some kind of egotism that we, writers, think our words mean something to other people, that we can entertain others, maybe even change the world? That other people should pay to read our words? Is that egotism?

icerose
02-18-2010, 09:24 AM
Whenever someone makes a stupid ignorant comment like this, and yes it is stupid and it is ignorant, I turn it around on them.

Do you consider musicians having a concert as playing just for their own ego and fawning for achievements?

Do you consider Johnson and Johnson advertising their next baby shampoo as an ego trip?

Do you consider an engineer for having a career and earning money just in it for the ego?

Chances are all of these would be answered no. Why the hell are writers any different? I have no patience for people like these and I happily point out their blatant stupidity.

icerose
02-18-2010, 09:25 AM
As for why I want to write? I love it. I love creating my own worlds and I hope to bring that love of my worlds to other people like previous authors did for me.

Namatu
02-18-2010, 06:40 PM
Still, I do wonder, what makes writer want to write? Is there some kind of egotism that we, writers, think our words mean something to other people, that we can entertain others, maybe even change the world? That other people should pay to read our words? Is that egotism?I don't remember ever thinking, "I want to write." I do remember that almost as soon as I knew how to to write the English language, I was writing stories. The conscious thought came later, after I'd decided I needed to "grow up" and stop thinking about pretend people. It took me a few years to realize this was a bad idea. I've always loved language, its look and feel and taste, and I've always enjoyed using it. Once I recognized that, I gave myself permission to do what I enjoy. And yes, it was permission. Feels a lot less like it now, which I'll consider progress.

My words mean something to me. It's a benefit if they also mean things to others, and I'm very glad when it does. Most people get paid for creating objects that are consumed: food, music, furniture. Books - newspapers, magazines - shouldn't be any different.

Rebekah7
02-18-2010, 11:56 PM
Still, I do wonder, what makes writer want to write? Is there some kind of egotism that we, writers, think our words mean something to other people, that we can entertain others, maybe even change the world? That other people should pay to read our words? Is that egotism?

Nope, because there's a difference between "I'm better than everyone else" and "I have just as much chance as anyone to possible do something others will enjoy and find meaning in."

timewaster
02-19-2010, 12:36 AM
I'm not so sure about "most people." Most writers, maybe, especially once they've written one or two and have a feel for what goes into it, but most people still seem to have funny notions about what writing a book entails.

Perhaps - it is just work though isn't it. Writing a book is not the same as writing a good book or rather the process is but what distinguishes it is the thought and the skill. I admire those things but not the writing the book part.

scarletpeaches
02-19-2010, 02:24 PM
I write because it's the only way I can be heard.

KTC
02-19-2010, 02:26 PM
did somebody say something? No. I didn't think so.

maestrowork
02-19-2010, 08:49 PM
Post #117 and #118 are missing...

scarletpeaches
02-19-2010, 08:51 PM
I hate you guys.

lucidzfl
02-19-2010, 09:52 PM
I am just as proud about my ability to cook as I am to write. People enjoy my cooking and tell me so. I don't get a big head about that, I take it as compliments. On the same token, why would I feel any different about my writing?

Knowing someone read my work and liked it is the same as someone eating my steak and telling me it was teh tasty.

LOG
02-19-2010, 11:56 PM
@OP, I blame people like Stephenie Meyer for your friends attitude.

But besides that, what's wrong with being egotistical?

aadams73
02-20-2010, 01:05 AM
@OP, I blame people like Stephenie Meyer for your friends attitude.


Why? She doesn't seem egotistical to me. She seems like she pretty much keeps to herself and does her job.

scarletpeaches
02-20-2010, 01:44 AM
Yeah, every right-thinking person blames James Patterson. He eats babies, after all.

aadams73
02-20-2010, 02:14 AM
Yeah, every right-thinking person blames James Patterson. He eats babies, after all.

I think we bbqed him and ate him to absorb his bestsellerness over in Novels.

Let me go fire up the grill and we can throw Ms. Meyers on. And Stephen King while we're at it. Oh, and Dan Brown.

But, please, someone remove his toupee first. I can't stand the smell of burning synthetics.

We're gonna be so full of bestsellerness once we're done roasting popular authors!

scarletpeaches
02-20-2010, 02:15 AM
You may have barbecued Patterson, but he has risen again, like a zombie.

He cannot be killed.

Such is his power.

aadams73
02-20-2010, 02:21 AM
You may have barbecued Patterson, but he has risen again, like a zombie.

He cannot be killed.

Such is his power.

That's because we only bbqed one of his ghostwriters.

*sigh* He has stand-ins to die for him. Well played, Mr. Patterson. I should have seen that ending coming. The foreshadowing was there.

kuwisdelu
02-20-2010, 02:40 AM
I still haven't read anything by this dude. Should I know him, or what?

scarletpeaches
02-20-2010, 02:48 AM
That's because we only bbqed one of his ghostwriters.

*sigh* He has stand-ins to die for him. Well played, Mr. Patterson. I should have seen that ending coming. The foreshadowing was there.It's like The Boys from Brazil all over again. Instead of Hitler clones, we're gonna be overrun by James Patterson's Mini-Me's.

Oh my God. Did I just Patterson-Godwin this thread?

silvergarma
02-20-2010, 03:21 AM
while i'm not egomaniacal, after i finished my book i did go around saying ha ha in your face you didn't think i could do it(singing), but i didn't say it out loud. but i do like to think i'd be 100% in the right if i did. hell i think i'm good at what i do... sometimes :) other times i'm not so sure. so you can tell that friend of yours to kiss it. tell them i'm great and i know it. even if you don't know it, they don't know that you don't know it.

Snowstorm
02-20-2010, 03:22 AM
Back to the OP, Ray, I'd be real interested in what this friend has accomplished.

The Lonely One
02-20-2010, 06:26 AM
Ego exists everywhere I think, but I agree we shouldn't look to other human beings as higher or better than others. To me we're all the same in the end. You're going to be buried next to me. It's a 50-50 chance which grave the dog is going to shit on.

But seriously, I think it's okay to be a 'fan' of art, but maybe to know the difference between the art and the artist. Because to idolize an artist rather than the art, in my experience, can leave you more than a little disappointed.

On the other hand, I think there's plenty of art worth admiring.

KTC
02-20-2010, 07:18 AM
Yeah, every right-thinking person blames James Patterson. He eats babies, after all.

Bullshit, he does. He pays people to eat them for him.

KTC
02-20-2010, 07:20 AM
You may have barbecued Patterson, but he has risen again, like a zombie.

He cannot be killed.

Such is his power.

Yes...but if we kill all the people around him, his books should stop hitting the shelves. Right.

scarletpeaches
02-20-2010, 07:28 AM
So you're going for the old Wall o' Death motif, huh?

LOG
02-20-2010, 10:36 AM
Jmes Patterson makes money because he has like, a billion co-authors. He just writes two words in each book, 'The End.'

Rebekah7
02-20-2010, 10:52 AM
Jmes Patterson makes money because he has like, a billion co-authors. He just writes two words in each book, 'The End.'

So, you saying that if we eat him, we're only eating two words out of every bestseller he's written? :rant:We need better sacrifices! Maybe we should reanimate the body of Shakespeare and eat HIM.