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View Full Version : Be honest: do you want to be a famous writer? Or just write?



KCathy
02-05-2007, 02:01 AM
I'm reading Lerner's The Forest for the Trees, and she's talking about how writers can't really write for just the money. After all, there are far easier ways to make far more of it. She says most of us do it to be loved, to be respected, to show that big jerk boss that fired us that we're worth something, or to be well-known.

I thought, "Whatever. I just want to make a living writing a book or two a year." (Yes, I know how unusual that is; I'm dreaming big here and have just enough sense to realize it.) Then I thought, "Would I be happy if I did that under a pseudonym and none of my friends and family knew about it?" Uh-oh. The answer is no. I don't think I would have to be on the bestseller list to be happy, but I wouldn't be satisfied with anonymity, either. And I would be extremely UN-happy with the Philip Roth, make-everyone-in-your-tribe-hate-you-type notoriety, no matter how honest and artistically pure it would mean I was.

What about you? Want to be famous?

Beyondian
02-05-2007, 02:08 AM
Yes and no. I mean, it would be all very nice to be top of the best-seller list and have everyone reading my deathless prose. But...
In a sense, that kind of fame and money would probably kill my love for writing. If the public eye was trained on me, and my books were eagerly awaited by hordes of devoted followers, it would be too much pressure. I'd be pretty upset if no one ever read my books, but it wouldn't stop me writing. (Annoying things, characters. Very vociferous about their tales getting told)
I guess the best thing would be to have moderate success. Not too much, not too little. It's a pity things don't usually work like that, isn't it?

KTC
02-05-2007, 02:11 AM
I just want to write. I was never crazy about money. Fame? Whatever. Money...I've always been insulted by it. I have enough...

Sage
02-05-2007, 02:13 AM
I would write just to write, but I do want an audience. That said, I'm content with my friends as an audience & was through several years of writing RPG-based fanfic.

Having one of my novels published would be a bonus.

Becoming famous would be an extraordinary bonus.

scarletpeaches
02-05-2007, 02:14 AM
To get all Sigmund Freudy, mental masturbation, talking shite about it...

There's still a bullied little girl inside me who wants recognition for doing something well, so yes, fame does come into it. I want to create something that lasts so people will know who I am and that I DID do something worthwhile.

Gabriel
02-05-2007, 02:20 AM
I'd like to make a living from it and have a respected reputation. I would rather not be as famous as J.K. rowling. A nice medium I suppose.

Tracey
02-05-2007, 02:25 AM
I write for myself and because I love it. When the time comes and I have something polished enough to submit for publication, I will, but that's not my ultimate goal. I enjoy writing and will continue to do so no matter what. If I can get published and make money from it, that would just be a bonus.

thethinker42
02-05-2007, 02:29 AM
I could live with being rich and famous.

But I write because...well...I could just as easily explain why I breathe. I do want to make a living writing. I want to get out of the corporate rat race. Ok, I know there's plenty of corporate bullshit in the publishing industry, but you know what I mean.

I write because I have to.
I write even more because I have to get out of my cubicle.

Fame? Riches? I wouldn't complain if I got 'em.

Siddow
02-05-2007, 02:35 AM
Hell yeah I want to be rich and famous. I want to have to wear dark sunglasses and travel with a bodyguard, I want to worry about the creepy guy who keeps driving by my house and throwing roses on the lawn and sticking sick love letters in my mailbox. I want to say, "Oh, forget it. I have nothing left in me to write," on the deck of my freaking yacht in the Mediterranean while Jeeves mixes me another martini and Charles, my personal captain, steers the boat into a Greek harbor and tells me, "Your jet is ready to take you to Paris for your monthly shopping trip, Ms. Siddow."

But I'd be happy with a single piece of fan-mail.

jodiodi
02-05-2007, 02:37 AM
I write for myself and because I love it. When the time comes and I have something polished enough to submit for publication, I will, but that's not my ultimate goal. I enjoy writing and will continue to do so no matter what. If I can get published and make money from it, that would just be a bonus.


I'm with Tracey. I write just because I do. Had my husband not encouraged and pushed me to try to get published, I wouldn't even be trying. I plan to publish under pseudonym(s) and don't really want notariety or fame. Money would be great but I make enough doing what I do now. I just write because the stories need to get out of my head.

Willowmound
02-05-2007, 02:38 AM
I don't write for fame. I'd rather not be famous, actually. To earn enough to do nothing but, would be all right. But I don't care about money beyond that.

I would write if I were the only person left on earth.

scarletpeaches
02-05-2007, 02:39 AM
I started writing because I had to...and I STILL have to. I enjoy feeling creative (and playing God).

What keeps me writing? The thought of the reward. The reward could be satisfaction, achievement, self-esteem...

But if it happens to be in the form of too, that's all to the good.

limitedtimeauthor
02-05-2007, 02:39 AM
What about you? Want to be famous?No. In fact, I sort of worry about writing the next big novel. (Haha, like that's really going to happen! :D I realize how silly that is. Nonetheless, I worry.)

I would like to be able to write - novels, articles, essays, funny greetings, inspirational, reports, or even the copy on a box of mac-n-cheese - but I don't want to be famous. I'd be much more comfortable if people regarded writers the same way they think of cable technicians or pizza delivery persons. Then I could still tell people I write, but they wouldn't see me any differently as anyone else.

If everyone tells you that you are oh-so-special, and then something shows you that you aren't - not really - it can be crushing. You feel like a fool.

Besides, it isn't fair to the people who are fantastic plumbers, or secretaries or cake decorators. The people who make the world go 'round are as worthy of recognition and respect as anyone else. I've spent years working in jobs like that. If my book or articles ever get any recognition, I would want to hide in a corner somewhere. Great, if it touched you. Sooo glad if it helped you. But it's the least I could do, so I don't deserve special attention.

Anyway. There's my little bit of honesty.

ETA: But money for writing is always good. I have nothing against getting paid to write. That part is cool!

My-Immortal
02-05-2007, 02:42 AM
To be a famous writer? I wouldn't turn it down if it happened, but I don't expect it either. I'll stick to writing the best story I can, and let others decide if they want to make me rich and famous (or not). LOL

:)

Vincent
02-05-2007, 02:42 AM
Respect over fame. And a small cult following.

scarletpeaches
02-05-2007, 02:48 AM
Oh, and it'd be nice if the fame got me laid a lot. ;)

Storyteller5
02-05-2007, 02:50 AM
But I'd be happy with a single piece of fan-mail.

I do like the sound of that! I'd like to know my writing has affected someone.


I just write because the stories need to get out of my head.

I agree that I can't imagine not writing. It's just something I have to do. yes, I would like to have some success with it. For me, that's not famous on the scale of the top ten bestseller lists. I would like to be able to find my work in major bookstores, like Chapters, and have a bit of income from writing. :)

truelyana
02-05-2007, 03:09 AM
I'm writing without no final destination. I write because, I feel from the heart. The participation, to me is far greater than what will be at the end.

Azure Skye
02-05-2007, 03:11 AM
Oh, and it'd be nice if the fame got me laid a lot. ;)

Always an added bonus.


Do I want fame? Hmmm... I plan on using a pen name so what does that say? Well actually, I want my name to be recognzied, I don't want my face to be recognized. Not that there's anything wrong with my face, thank you very much. ;) Knowing the chances of publication, I would say I write mostly for myself while always keeping my mind on the potential audience. I'd like to be able to make a comfortable living writing...ah shit, I want JK Rowling's money. That would be nice.

OverTheHills&FarAway
02-05-2007, 03:20 AM
I've always written, ever since I could hold a pencil, and I think before as well. So I always will, fame or no. If I lived in a cardboard box under a freeway overpass I'd still write.

But I sure would like to show the obnoxious sceptical grandparents (and others who mean much less to me personally) that I'm not wasting my time and have some talent outside being a cute granddaughter.

And to prove not everyone needs to go to college to have a fulfilling life. Will becoming a famous writer give me a fulfilling life? Maybe, but at least the money will distract the detractors. :)

CheshireCat
02-05-2007, 03:24 AM
Oh, and it'd be nice if the fame got me laid a lot. ;)

It doesn't. ;)

Not most writerly fame, at least. There's a line between name recognition and true celebrity, and few writers cross it.

Thank goodness.

Like Scarlet, I want to create work that lasts, work that marks my presence here, something to leave behind besides my DNA. And, yes, recognition that I have an ability a remarkably small percentage of humans share, that I am a storyteller for my people.

Mail telling you that your work brightened someone's day, or moved them to tears, or scared the hell out of them, or just occupied them during a difficult time in their lives is good.

The money is nice too.

Manat
02-05-2007, 03:27 AM
I do want to make money at it but I don't need to be famous. I use a pen name to protect my privacy and would be just fine with making the bestseller list without anyone knowing who I am. I love the writers's life. Being my own boss, working in my pyjammas if I want, playing with ideas and making the stories in my head appear on paper. I love to write and I quit the day job to try it full time. If I don't make enough money at it I won't be able to live this way and that would be sad. I want to be a best seller so I can buy a nice cozy private place on the water and work at home doing something I love, not to be famous.

Deadbeat 007
02-05-2007, 04:08 AM
The only reason I write is so I can make loads and loads of money. I hate writing. Writing is terrible.

Honestly, though, I write for the same reasons as many of you -- to leave some sort of "mark" -- a "Lauren was here," in a sense. Writing seems like the most appealing way to go about that.

Toothpaste
02-05-2007, 04:19 AM
I would love to make tons of money off of writing. I would love to win the lottery. I just want enough money so I don't have to worry about paying bills etc.

Fame? I dunno. It is fun to be recognised and stuff, but I don't think I would want real fame, like the kind movie stars have. The frightening fame. I would rather respect. Respect from my peers and my readers. Maybe a certain clout within the industry, so perhaps the layman might not know who I was, but other authors would. But of course I write because I like to. Not in order to achieve any sort of greatness. I don't think I am a 'great' writer if I am honest.

Arisa81
02-05-2007, 05:28 AM
Mainly, I just want to write. It's what I love to do.
Being famous, no. I don't need or want to be famous. It's nice to know my work is being read though.
What I do hope for? That those nasty people from school, peers and teachers, and whoever else, get to see what I have done, especially after telling me I couldn't.
What is nice, is making other writer friends. Whether it's through my blog or someone reading a piece I've written and contacting me.

Judg
02-05-2007, 05:34 AM
I would like to be recognized as a good writer (this is presuming that I am one, which has yet to be proved). I really don't care if the people at the grocery store don't know who I am, and if the people at church or the gym or wherever never find out. But I'd like to have respectable sales and people whose opinions on books matter (i.e. editors, good writers, people with some modicum of taste) having a good opinion of my writing. Or failing that, the disdain of those people and blockbuster sales. ;) But seriously, I'd prefer the first.

kristie911
02-05-2007, 05:35 AM
Of course I'd love to be a famous, bestseller-writing, writer with hoards of money and even more fans...who wouldn't?

But I write because I have to...whether or not anyone ever reads it.

maestrowork
02-05-2007, 06:12 AM
I don't really care about fame but I do want people to know my work. And that means fans. And fans buy books. And I do want an audience. If all I want is write, why don't I just write a journal? I want people to read my books, darn it.

As for fame and money. I make so much more money doing other things than selling my writing (for now). It's never really an objective. Now, if making lots of money means millions are reading my books -- then yes. It comes back to readership. As for fame -- I am actually a private person. I don't need fame.

Groupies, however, would be nice.

Chumplet
02-05-2007, 06:37 AM
I want it all, dammit! But if I don't... well, that's okay. I guess.

C.bronco
02-05-2007, 06:38 AM
Yes and yes. I write because I want to communicate something. Therefore, I need recipients. Also, I write because that's what I love most, and would like to earn a living doing it. Yes, both. Yes oh yes. It's all I ever wanted.

johnzakour
02-05-2007, 06:41 AM
The $$$. But that doesn't mean I still don't really enjoy myself. ;-)

WriterInChains
02-05-2007, 06:54 AM
Honestly, I'd love to be known as a good writer who makes people feel things. I'd love to have people spend their hard-earned money to buy the words I bleed over. I'd love to have people come to my readings hours early just to get a good seat and b.s. with like-minded folks. I'd love to get a cramp in my hand while making sure everyone who's interested gets some face-time and a signed book.

These are the kinds of things I think about as I'm drifting off to sleep most nights. If any of them happen, to any degree, cool; if not, I'll still write. I've loved stories, and had them living inside my head, as long as I can remember. Since I've been actually crafting them, molding them to say something important (if only to me) while telling what I hope are entertaining stories, it's the most fun I've ever had in my life.

I grew up with nothing, so the idea of fame kind of scares me but is also alluring. Sure it's one of my goals, but so is living forever. I could say that I don't care about the money, but honestly, I'd love to have Stephen King-sized royalty checks. I've lived the other extreme, I'd like to see what it's like to have too much money. Why not? I spread-around the little money I have now, so I'm not worried about it corrupting me too badly.

Can't remember who said this but this is how I live my writing life: Try harder. Set impossible goals. Proceed as if you know you can do it.

Cool thread! :)

johnrobison
02-05-2007, 07:22 AM
I have been fortunate to have achieved success owning a business and operating real estate before I tried my hand at writing, though I was always a story teller. While I enjoy running my business, I was troubled because I wanted to return to the creative work I did in my 20s.

My brother kept telling me I should write a book, and in 2006 I decided to do it. As I got into the writing, I started to see what a hard time I'd had growing up with Asperger's Syndrome, and I began to feel my story could help other young people and families.

I began to realize that non-fiction writing like mine can actually change other people's lives for the better, and I began to feel good about that. At the same time, I worried that no one would want to publish my story.

When I completed the book and submitted it for publication, I was shocked to discover all the major houses wanted to publish my book, and most wanted it in a really big way. Last week, I gave my book to the Crown imprint of Random House. It's all starting to feel real now. Next week, they should add me to the list of authors on the Random House/Crown web site. Even that's a bit scary, looking at the list of writers in my peer group at Crown . . .

That made me proud, but it also made me scared . . . what if I don't live up to my publisher's expectations? We'll find out in 9 more months . . .

I write stories that I hope my target audience will want to read. I think one has to have a "target audience" to have any hope of commercial success as a writer. Many people, of course, do not care about that. They write for themselves.

I write to feel good. While it was cathartic to write my book, it feels better to hear how my story has touched others, and perhaps inspired them in some way. That's why I did it. Even before my book was published, I started to hear that. It was very clear that many of the editors who read my book last week were deeply moved by it.

Other writers may write to entertain, or to spread a political message . . .there are countless things that drive us to write. Some may write for an audience of millions while others write for an audience of hundreds.

Since there are so many different audiences, there can be no one answer to a question like, "how many readers does one need to be a success?"

Like others have posted before, I would like to be remembered for giving something back to society via my writing more than I'd like to be remembered as a business owner. I hope my upcoming work accomplishes that. I don't want to be famous, but I do want to be read widely enough to actually make a difference.

johnzakour
02-05-2007, 08:12 AM
I began to realize that non-fiction writing like mine can actually change other people's lives for the better, and I began to feel good about that. At the same time, I worried that no one would want to publish my story.

When I completed the book and submitted it for publication, I was shocked to discover all the major houses wanted to publish my book, and most wanted it in a really big way. Last week, I gave my book to the Crown imprint of Random House. It's all starting to feel real now. Next week, they should add me to the list of authors on the Random House/Crown web site. Even that's a bit scary, looking at the list of writers in my peer group at Crown . . .

That made me proud, but it also made me scared . . . what if I don't live up to my publisher's expectations? We'll find out in 9 more months . . .



John nice story. It's normal to feel a little scared out with the first publication. When I see my name next to Tanya Huff and Tad Williams (and others) on the Daw list it still kind of freaks me out. (Of course it really freaks me out to be sitting next to one of them at dinner.)

Sohia Rose
02-05-2007, 08:16 AM
I'm doing it for the glory! The money is crap for writing a book (okay, unless you're some bigwig).

greglondon
02-05-2007, 08:20 AM
Be honest: do you want to be a famous writer? Or just write?

I'm not sure how one can be a writer without wanting readers.
I want to write something that resonates with lots of people.

Am I doing it just for fame? No.
Am I doing it just for money? No.
I'm writing because I have this story I want to get on paper.
And I'm writing because it's a skill I want to learn.
But I do want to eventually get to the point where I write something
that gets a lot of readers that say they like my work.
Some semblance of name recognition might be a side effect of
what I'm shooting for.
But it certainly isn't the driving factor behind why I write.
But there is something behind everythign I write that is
thinking only of the reader. I think that is the ultimate goal
for every writer.

johnrobison
02-05-2007, 08:22 AM
John nice story. It's normal to feel a little scared out with the first publication. When I see my name next to Tanya Huff and Tad Williams (and others) on the Daw list it still kind of freaks me out. (Of course it really freaks me out to be sitting next to one of them at dinner.)

I know what you mean. My editing/producing team at Crown just did Barack Obama's book, which they gave my wife and I to read (along with a whole bag of others) On the ride home my wife was looking at the Crown catalog and she saw Ann Coulter and she said, "they won't make you put God and right wing politics in your book, will they?"

It's both inspiring and scary when you say, "Can you show me some books that you've done that may be similar to mine?" and they slide these huge bestsellers across the table.

Ms.Write
02-05-2007, 08:55 AM
My main motivation is to write a REALLY good story, with characters who live and breathe, something that touches the reader and uplifts her. And I want to be recognized as someone who can do this.

I expect when this happens, the money will come too.

I am not looking for fame, just respect as a writer, and I know that I must first give that to MYSELF.

Southern_girl29
02-05-2007, 09:03 AM
My friend and I were talking the other day. She's a reader, but not a writer. She said she would like to have just a part of JK Rowling's money. I said the money would be nice, but it would be great to have created something with your own imagination that millions all over the world love. If I had to be famous to achieve that, then, that's great. I kind of like the idea of something living on after me for many, many years.

I would also like to achieve a little bit of fame to prove several people wrong. Growing up as the "bastard" child in a very small town, I heard a lot of times that I would never amount to anything. This didn't come from close family (well, the family that I lived with anyway), but I did hear it from others. I would love to have to some fame to prove them wrong.

Of course, some of those same people are impressed by the fact that I'm the lifestyles editor at a newspaper, so I've achieved a little bit of it there. But, for others (my paternal grandparents mainly), I would like to go all out.

And yeah, the money would be great.

scarletpeaches
02-05-2007, 04:48 PM
I challenge all who claim to 'not be bothered about recognition' and 'just want to write for themselves' to:

Stop submitting. Go on. If you're not bothered about the rewards, stop submitting. Publication doesn't happen by accident. No-one makes you put your work out there.

So stop.

johnzakour
02-05-2007, 05:19 PM
I'm doing it for the glory! The money is crap for writing a book (okay, unless you're some bigwig).

You can't eat glory. ;-) Besides when you get up to book seven or eight the money's not bad. Plus, all your other books sell better. Plus, you get foreign sales...

Gary
02-05-2007, 05:31 PM
I'd like to write a best seller, but have zero interest in fame. If money happens, that's fine, but if it doesn't, that's fine too. I guess that means I write mostly for self-satisfaction.

aka eraser
02-05-2007, 08:06 PM
My current level of "fame" suits me just fine. No one recognizes me but I get nice letters now and then from folks who like what I've written.

More money would be good and it's doable. But I'd have to write and submit more and that's hard work. Plus, if I did so, folks might start recognizing me. Dang vicious circle....

janetbellinger
02-05-2007, 08:20 PM
I don't care about fame but I would like to have respect.

jodiodi
02-05-2007, 08:26 PM
I challenge all who claim to 'not be bothered about recognition' and 'just want to write for themselves' to:

Stop submitting. Go on. If you're not bothered about the rewards, stop submitting. Publication doesn't happen by accident. No-one makes you put your work out there.

So stop.

Why?

The question was about fame and money. It wasn't about satisfaction or affirmation. For some people, simply knowing your work can be sold is satisfying and enough recognition because you learn from the process. Someone may want to write better and so they submit until they reach a benchmark set for themselves. That benchmark may have absolutely nothing to do with fame and money.

Shadow_Ferret
02-05-2007, 08:26 PM
I want to be famous enough to have groupies. That's all I've ever wanted.

Groupies.

SpookyWriter
02-05-2007, 08:30 PM
I want to be famous enough to have groupies. That's all I've ever wanted.

Groupies.:D

maestrowork
02-05-2007, 08:37 PM
That benchmark may have absolutely nothing to do with fame and money.

What is that benchmark, then? And how do you measure it? # of people who know your work and would pay to read it? That translates to fame and money. How well you write? By the number of literary awards you win? That seems like fame, too. I don't know how else to measure readership unless you're giving your books away.

Pagey's_Girl
02-05-2007, 08:51 PM
Sure, I'd love to make lots of money - who wouldn't? :)

But really, I'd just like to tell stories that people want to read and that are worth reading. I guess it's like the line from "American Pie" - "I knew if I had my chance that I could make those people dance, and maybe they'd be happy for awhile..." Ultimately, knowing I wrote something that made someone happy for awhile is just about the best feeling there is.

Okay, I guess maybe I am kind of a hippiechick. :)

Jamesaritchie
02-05-2007, 09:48 PM
I had just a brief glimpse of fame a few years back. I hated it. I've been writing primarily under pseudonyms ever since. I've never believed fame is a good thing. There's nothing about it I like. I have no idea why anyone who isn't insane, or an idiot, would want to be famous.

Unfortunately, fame sometimes comes with the package, whether we like it or not.

And glory? There is no glory in writing a book. Unless, maybe, you write the Bible.

Money? Absolutely. There's nothing wrong with money, and the more, the better.

To do a job well, to leave something lasting behind? Yes, I'd love to do this. But realistically, it isn't all that likely to happen to any of us, and if it does happen, it will almost certainly come with fame and money attached, at least to a degree.

Write because I have to? If you actually have to write, you need help from the nearest psychiatrist, not a word processor.

And I don't understand why people who claim not to care about being published submit so many manuscripts and gum up the works? If you don't care about being published, odds are you'll never write anything worth publishing. Writing simply for personal pleasure is a fine thing when it really is the reason a person writes. But it usually isn't. It's usually a damned lie, or the rejections wouldn't hurt nearly as much.

But, fame? Hell no. Money? Of course. Writing something that lasts? Definitely. Entertaining many readers? In the end, this is really all we can hope to do.

.

MidnightMuse
02-05-2007, 09:50 PM
I want to be famous enough to have groupies. That's all I've ever wanted.

Groupies.

Come here, I'll grope you, Ferret.

EDT: Oh, GROUPIES. Well . . .

Kate Thornton
02-05-2007, 10:09 PM
There's nothing wrong with money and I like making it and having it. I love getting paid for my writing, too.

As to fame, a certain amount is a good thing and helps to sell your writing which makes you more money which is also a good thing. I like having fans and getting fan mail.

I would write without fame and money, but I like them, too.

jodiodi
02-05-2007, 10:22 PM
What is that benchmark, then? And how do you measure it? # of people who know your work and would pay to read it? That translates to fame and money. How well you write? By the number of literary awards you win? That seems like fame, too. I don't know how else to measure readership unless you're giving your books away.


For some the benchmark could simply be getting an acknowledgement from an editor or agent that their project has merit. No one has sold a single book or achieved any degree of fame, but internally they have received some sort of acknowledgement that their writing is good enough for someone.

I'm simply pointing out that it is possible for someone to want to write for reasons other than fame or money (which was the original issue).

engmajor2005
02-05-2007, 10:24 PM
If I could just make enough money from writing to do that full-time, I would not cry. It would be cool to be famous at the rock star level, but I wold also want to be respected. Far too many rich and famous authors end up being hated by their fellows; Michael Crichton isn't exactly winning any popularity contests in the literary world now is he?

jodiodi
02-05-2007, 10:28 PM
Why is that? Why do people seem to think because something is popular, it can't be any good? Is it that cult of exclusivity so many people want to belong to?

scarletpeaches
02-06-2007, 02:42 AM
For some the benchmark could simply be getting an acknowledgement from an editor or agent that their project has merit.

...In which case they would be published. If an editor didn't like it, they'd knock it back. Therefore, no acknowledgement. In fact, quite the opposite - a knockback. Denial of approval.

Unless you're prepared to be offered publication and then turn it down because you have all the acknowledgement you need?

I don't think engmajor2005 was saying that which is popular can't be any good...but bestsellerdom doesn't automatically guarantee quality. How much you sell and how well you write are two different arguments. Some good books will never see the light of day...

...because the writers only write for themselves, not for outside approval, dammit! :D

triceretops
02-06-2007, 02:45 AM
It's fame, friends and eight-by-tens all the way. To make up for all the crap that's happened.

Tri

farfromfearless
02-06-2007, 02:58 AM
What about infamy in place of fame? Seriously, we talk about life changing events and all that but having death threats heaped in your in-box or in your mail box must, for all intents and purposes, count as wide-spread recognition as well - right? AND you might even win yourself some groupies, a cult perhaps, and MAYBE nations will base their ideologies on the seeds you plant in your writings!

All that aside, I just want to be published - famous? hmmn, maybe not. That's too much responsibility, too much pressure when all I want to do is write and see the product of my creativity in print.

scarletpeaches
02-06-2007, 02:59 AM
Fame? Meh. Recognition as someone who writes that which is worth paying money to read? Hell yeah!

TrainofThought
02-06-2007, 06:04 AM
Famous writer.

limitedtimeauthor
02-06-2007, 06:27 AM
I've never believed fame is a good thing. There's nothing about it I like. I have no idea why anyone who isn't insane, or an idiot, would want to be famous. ...

Money? Absolutely. There's nothing wrong with money, and the more, the better. ...

Write because I have to? If you actually have to write, you need help from the nearest psychiatrist, not a word processor. ...



Amen!

I don't equate being famous with having books published. I think I would like to have books published, and read, and enjoyed; I'm just not looking for fame. Fame is a double-edged sword. Sure, there are people who love you, think you're fantastic, but the ones who don't will shout it from the rooftops, look for every opportunity to shoot you down, will criticize you so harshly your dog feels sorry for you. And everyone will cluck and say, "She is in the public eye. She's fair game. She should expect this."

So, that's what I don't want.

But to write and make a living doing it? Amen!

ltd.

Sean D. Schaffer
02-06-2007, 08:27 AM
I personally want to be respected, but not necessarily famous. The idea of being respected but not a big name, and with a modest income, appeals to me in ways that being rich and famous do not.

For one thing, I've held to the idea that the story, not my name, should carry my work. If I become hugely famous, I could eventually become, by my own estimation, arrogant. If I become arrogant, my work will definitely suffer. That's something I do not wish to have happen.

Also, I've heard horror stories about the incredibly famous over the last few years. They seem to have absolutely no private life, and I treasure my privacy. I do not wish to become a big name because I am afraid of the intense scrutiny that I would most likely be placed under.

Finally, if I became overly rich, I fear I would become complacent to the point I would never write anymore.

All these fears are reasons I do not wish to be a big name. I would rather be a modest name with a decent life than to have all these worries mentioned above to have to deal with every day.

I hope this helps.

:)

aruna
02-06-2007, 09:47 AM
I honestly, truly, sincerely don't care about fame, recognition, or even respect as a writer. Yes, I do want respect, but for myself as a human being, I don't want to be respected just because I'm a writer; even if those books were fantastically popular. In fact, ESPECIALLY if those books were fantastically popular.That kind of "respect" is hollow. For me, worthless.

I would be quite happy to write anonymously, and nobody knew it was me. Look: in England I lived in an appartment house with two other families I knew quite well, and I knew other people next door etc. Not one of these people know I'm a published author. I never told them, and the subject never came up. I know they like and respect me for myself. That's what's important to me. In fact, I hate that moment when somebody discovers you are a published autor and their eyes light up suddenly, as if SUDDENLY they realise you (An Author!) are worthy of their attention. I really, really hate that kind of attention. It makes me sick. It's fake.

Now, writing great books, books that last beyond my little life: I would love that. And I would love it if those books made enough money to enable me to sort out my very complicated life, and help me to retire in peace with my husband who needs my care. And to write more books without worrying about money. Our situation is extremely precarious right now and a million dollar advance would NOT be turned down!!!!

Dave.C.Robinson
02-06-2007, 10:27 AM
I want a certain kind of fame, and I also want money. I write because I like writing, and want to read the kind of stories I write.

I want the kind of fame where people recognize my name (or the name I write under) and associate it with a good book. I want money, because that's how people vote for good books. They buy them.

JimmyB27
02-06-2007, 02:40 PM
I just want enough money so that I can swim in it, like Scrooge McDuck from Ducktales.

Vincent
02-06-2007, 03:38 PM
I just want enough money so that I can swim in it, like Scrooge McDuck from Ducktales.

My childhood dream.

scarletpeaches
02-06-2007, 04:05 PM
I third that. JimmyB27, you have class. :)

LeslieB
02-06-2007, 04:53 PM
I'm in it for the money. Well, no, not really, but that is what gave me the push to go from fanfic writer to pro wannabe.

About five or six years ago I discovered almost by accident that there was something in me that deeply loved taking the raw material of an idea and beating it into a story. I've always made up stories in my head to amuse myself, but I never really thought about writing them down. But I started writing fanfic just for fun and learned that I had a taste for it.

I don't really care about fame. If I did, I could have cheerfully remained a big fish in a very tiny pond, because I was one of the most popular writers in my fandom. I've already received fan emails from all over the world. I admit I wouldn't use a pen name, though, because there are too many people in my life who wouldn't believe a book was mine unless it had my name on it. I do have enough ego to want to take credit for my own work.

But after years of hobby writing, I decided to see if anyone would pay me for all this time I spend at the keyboard. I don't expect to get rich, or even get to quit my day job, but I would like to be able to look at my children's college savings without wincing.

scarletpeaches
02-06-2007, 04:56 PM
I don't really care about fame. If I did, I could have cheerfully remained a big fish in a very tiny pond...

That's not fame, though. That's acknowledgement from your peers in your own field. There are many more people who don't go near fanfic than those who do.

Fame in this thread, I think, is referring to a wider circle of admiration - true celebrity.

Kate Thornton
02-06-2007, 06:45 PM
I just want enough money so that I can swim in it, like Scrooge McDuck from Ducktales.
Yes. Yes. Yes!

Enzo
02-06-2007, 06:52 PM
I really have fun writing, but I only have enough time to write and complete things if I don't have to do other work for a living.
So yes, I want enough success to be able to live off my writing.
Does that mean I have to be famous? If that's necessary for the above, then yes, why not, but I'll never write just to have my face in the newspaper.

finch
02-06-2007, 07:50 PM
If I could live off my writing, and I could write the things I want to write, I wouldn't particularly care whether it had my name or 'Bumble Q. Fortesque' as the byline. Subsistence living from writing means I can devote my working life to writing, and tell the stories I want to tell. That's the goal.

Credit and fame are overrated. My opinion only, of course.

maestrowork
02-06-2007, 07:56 PM
A bit of "fame" (or whatever you call it -- credit, respect, recognition) is kind of fun, though. I've had some experience. It's great when you walk into some place and someone says, "Hey, I read your book." Or when I mentioned the movie or TV stuff I was in and they said, yeah, I saw that or I love that movie! It's nice to have people go to a show because they heard you're going to be in it.

It makes me feel good and that somehow I know my work is entertaining people and they appreciate that. It's not about "hey, look at me, I'm better than everyone else because I wrote a book or two." That's just silly. But my job is about communication -- and communication is a two-way street. It's great to get feedback and recognition -- a job well done. Being a writer/actor/artist/etc. is part of who I am, and I'm not going to hide or deny it.

As for money, like I said, I really couldn't care less. I made a lot of money outside of writing and I live very comfortably. I don't have to live on my writing and I don't need to depend on it. I write because I want to, not because I have to, and I am having a marvelous time doing it. And that's very important to me. It's not to say if people start to pay me millions for my books I wouldn't accept it. But money is so secondary for me now.

Cav Guy
02-06-2007, 08:05 PM
I'd love it if people enjoyed reading what I write, or learned something from it or had their interest excited in a historical period I wrote about. Getting paid for it is a nice bonus (thought that's not happened on the fiction side of me yet...and may never). Fame? To be honest I've always considered writing under a pseudonym just to avoid it. I'm a very private person in that sense, but one thing I would enjoy is walking into a room (cafe, what have you) and hear people talking about a book of mine without knowing I wrote it.

I write for rather odd reasons, I guess. I actually find myself having little in common with the average writing crowd (at least in the FTF setting).

davids
02-06-2007, 08:34 PM
Pseudonyms anonymous-fame is thought too highly of generally when and if one has it that is-if one writes well-writes professionally-the result of which is quite often fame/money-for me the key is professional-the goal is to be the best professional one can be-the result of which is making money and acquiring at least a minimal amount of the aforementioned overrated fame.

Sassenach
02-06-2007, 08:41 PM
Even the most super-famous novelists, with a few exceptions, are not famous in the sense that their mere presence in a place would cause a commotion. Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy, Danielle Steel, Dean Koontz, even JK Rowling, could probably go into any public place and not be recognized--especially since in person they look different from their dust jacket photos.

Shadow_Ferret
02-06-2007, 08:48 PM
Even the most super-famous novelists, with a few exceptions, are not famous in the sense that their mere presence in a place would cause a commotion. Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy, Danielle Steel, Dean Koontz, even JK Rowling, could probably go into any public place and not be recognized--especially since in person they look different from their dust jacket photos.
I agree that they aren't Hollywood movie star famous, and really, I can't think of any writers who have ever achieved that stature -- where they're mobbed in public.

But they have name recognition. Nearly everyone has heard of those names. If there was a signing at a bookstore by any one of those, there would be a line extending all around the bookstore and out the door.

TsukiRyoko
02-06-2007, 09:52 PM
Just writing is enough to satisfy me immensely. But then again, being famous would kick so much ass it's unbelievable. I would stop procrastinating as much if I were famous, that's for sure. :D

aadams73
02-06-2007, 10:39 PM
My main goal is to make enough money from writing to enable me to keep writing. Anything more than that is gravy, including recognition.

AndreaGS
02-06-2007, 10:59 PM
Even the most super-famous novelists, with a few exceptions, are not famous in the sense that their mere presence in a place would cause a commotion. Nora Roberts, Tom Clancy, Danielle Steel, Dean Koontz, even JK Rowling, could probably go into any public place and not be recognized--especially since in person they look different from their dust jacket photos.

I think that's one of the cool things about being a writer. Even if you DO become madly famous, it doesn't really interrupt the flow of your daily life. I used to get recognized at my university once in a while for my artwork and it made me unbearably uncomfortable.

JK Rowling, I hear, does get recognized when she's out and about. Her face is all over the news, so no surprise there. I guess you can't feel too sorry for her considering the money she makes.

As for me, I don't really know. I used to think I wanted to be a famous writer someday, but I think what I really want is to be a published writer. I don't want to write just to write. I want to write to have something published and read. I would be content knowing I wrote something I was proud of and it was on the shelves.

CaroGirl
02-06-2007, 11:14 PM
I don't want to be famous, I just want to be published. As a writer, I want to entertain with my words. I want to be read, and I can't be read, at least not widely, unless I'm published. I don't care much about fame or money. I enjoy writing and want people to enjoy reading what I write.

Sassenach
02-06-2007, 11:15 PM
I agree that they aren't Hollywood movie star famous, and really, I can't think of any writers who have ever achieved that stature -- where they're mobbed in public.

But they have name recognition. Nearly everyone has heard of those names. If there was a signing at a bookstore by any one of those, there would be a line extending all around the bookstore and out the door.

That's implicit in what I posted.

Sassenach
02-06-2007, 11:17 PM
I agree that they aren't Hollywood movie star famous, and really, I can't think of any writers who have ever achieved that stature -- where they're mobbed in public.

But they have name recognition. Nearly everyone has heard of those names. If there was a signing at a bookstore by any one of those, there would be a line extending all around the bookstore and out the door.

That's implicit in what I posted.

stormie
02-06-2007, 11:41 PM
My main goal is to make enough money from writing to enable me to keep writing. Anything more than that is gravy, including recognition.
Same here.

maestrowork
02-06-2007, 11:45 PM
Fame has such a bad name. I mean, I don't think Stephen King minds his fame -- it allows him to do some really cool things just because he's Stephen King -- apart from a stalker or two. But let's face it, writers are among the lowest on the totem pole. As famous and rich as JK Rowling is, there's no paparazzi following her everywhere. She may not be able to write at her favorite coffee shop anymore, but I am sure she can go grocery shopping (not that she needs to herself, with all the money she has) or go to a play without people bugging her. And aside from some very famous faces (Stephen King's strange mug, for example), most people don't pay attention to what writers look like.

Anonymous Traveler
02-06-2007, 11:48 PM
I'm almost retired. Writing started as a diversion and is becoming more serious. I'm getting better and receiving positives and widening my scope from romance to include spiritual and erotica. I will reach a point when submission becomes a reality. Then the market will decide my future for me. I've had my brief instant of fame, personally I prefer the money. Personally if only one certain person reads one certain book I will be happy. I enjoy the creativity even if sometimes it amounts to scenes that will never be used. They are writing exercises for me. Many years ago I did freelance photography. A mentor in a major paper looked at my work, the product of two cameras, a lot of film and blasting (shooting as fast as the camera will wind) I was told to make every shot good enough to go on his desk. I cut back my film and ended up with two front page photos in a very large metropolitan paper. Unfortunately both times the world upstaged me but I had the satisfaction of knowing those two days I had pictures tens of thousands would have seen. The moral if you treat your work like it was going to end up for sale it will be better than you expect. I've had the same advice from writers.

Shadow_Ferret
02-07-2007, 12:03 AM
That's implicit in what I posted.

Was it?


That's implicit in what I posted.

Was it?

lfraser
02-07-2007, 12:36 AM
I love writing. I also hate it. What drives me is learning how to be a better writer, and I work hard at that. Ultimately I'd like to be published -- who among us would not? But fame and fortune? Nah. If I'm really honest with myself, I think what I'm after is respect for my work. That seems like an impossible goal, but it's something to work towards.

BizWriter
02-07-2007, 02:13 AM
I'd like my work to be enjoyed, well-regarded, and to sell reasonably well, but I myself would not want to be recognizable in public--I value my privacy too much.

Recently I had a long-held dream come true when I read an excerpt from an essay I wrote that appeared in an anthology (Nobody's Mother. Life Without Kids). Then some of the audience purchased copies of the book, and I was asked to sign them.

What was that like? To be honest, it felt so darn GOOD. As good as the dream I'd held for so long? You betcha. My five minutes of fame were truly sweet.

If anyone would like their copy of Nobody's Mother, pls. email me at patwrites4u@yahoo.com.

Thank you kindly.

Maprilynne
02-07-2007, 02:30 AM
I used to think I wrote because I loved it and then, on top of that, had dreams of being broadly published. But (and this is the honesty part, no flogging!!) things have changed the last few months as I have been working really, really hard on revisions for my agent. It is so much work on top of six months of very, very heavy revisions getting it ready in the first place and I am so burnt out on my book and tired of doing revisions for free. I sure hope it all pays off in a commercial way.:)

So I guess I write the initial story because I love to write, but the really difficult, painstaking polishing and revising, I do in hopes that having done so will help it sell well.

I think depsite all my work and burnout, I would feel it was worth it if I could walk into a B&N and see my book on the shelves. (preferably a dozen of them on a nice little endcap display.;))

Maprilynne

Silverhand
02-07-2007, 03:11 AM
I don't need to be a millionaire from writing. That said, if my talent is not enough to make at least $5000 per novel, then it isn't good enough to continue.

bunnygirl
02-07-2007, 08:56 AM
While I would love to see my work in print and to know that people enjoy it, I wouldn't want to publish under my own name, and I would only care about making money at it if I had no other way to make a buck.

I guess I'm a bit Salingeresque in that regard-- although certainly not in my writing style!

I write because I enjoy it, and I hope others can enjoy it, too. When I was in school, people used to try to pay me for my drawings or paintings, but I would never accept payment unless my money-grubbing stepmom was standing nearby, forcing me make a transaction out of the deal. I've always felt uncomfortable getting paid for what I would've done anyway.

readlorey
02-07-2007, 07:21 PM
Yes, I do want to be famous and see my books on the bookshelves, but is that the main reason I write? No, I write because I don't have a choice. If I don't write I go crazy.

As a famous writer once said:

"I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn't, I would die." Isaac Asimov (http://www.quotationspage.com/quotes/Isaac_Asimov/)

That's me in a nutshell. I want to be a novelist. End of story!

Vincent
02-07-2007, 07:25 PM
While I would love to see my work in print and to know that people enjoy it, I wouldn't want to publish under my own name, and I would only care about making money at it if I had no other way to make a buck.



I like my name, it's all I really have. I wouldn't mind spreading it around.

ink wench
02-07-2007, 09:35 PM
Interesting thread. This gets close to my current angst. I would love to make money from writing stories, preferably enough money to quit my day job (that would be the dream). Yet I'm ambivalent about publishing. Forget fame. I don't even like other people reading my stuff. So yeah... how can I make money on my writing if I don't want anyone to read it... :Shrug: I probably need therapy.

Sean D. Schaffer
02-07-2007, 10:53 PM
Interesting thread. This gets close to my current angst. I would love to make money from writing stories, preferably enough money to quit my day job (that would be the dream). Yet I'm ambivalent about publishing. Forget fame. I don't even like other people reading my stuff. So yeah... how can I make money on my writing if I don't want anyone to read it... :Shrug: I probably need therapy.


Ink Wench,

There's nothing wrong with not wanting people to read your stuff. This is especially true if you are speaking of your draft stuff. I would imagine a lot of writers don't want people reading their works-in-progress because of any number of reasons.

The point I'm making is, if you're not pleased with your work, it's only natural you won't want someone reading it. There's nothing wrong with that, and, if you ever are pleased enough with your work to submit to a legitimate publishing house, you'll have lots of past writing experience to make you more confident in your abilities.

Don't be afraid to simply write for the sake of learning. Publishing can come later, if you need it to.

I hope this helps, and I hope you have a wonderful day.

:)

Sassenach
02-07-2007, 11:04 PM
I'm always gobsmacked by the level of romanticizing demonstrated by the [mostly younger] posters here.

I write because I must, or I shall die. Writing is like breathing to me.
I fear success. I fear failure. I fear exploring my dark side. My loved ones don't support my creativity. My muse is absent. I'm sad, so I can't write. I'm happy, so I can't write. Blah blah blah:::::::::::::::::::::::


Amateurs worry about inspiration. A professional gets up every day and works. ~Phillip Roth

ink wench
02-07-2007, 11:27 PM
Thanks for the encouragement, Ian. I certainly intend to keep writing, regardless of whether I take a shot at publishing. I'm just trying to figure out why I don't like other people reading my work since I never used to have a problem with it.


The point I'm making is, if you're not pleased with your work, it's only natural you won't want someone reading it. There's nothing wrong with that, and, if you ever are pleased enough with your work to submit to a legitimate publishing house, you'll have lots of past writing experience to make you more confident in your abilities.


That's a good thought. Now I feel the need to analyze myself approaching - the curse of being a psychologist, I suppose. :rolleyes:

To return to original point of the thread, bring on the money but leave the fame somewhere else, please!

KCathy
02-07-2007, 11:40 PM
I'm just trying to figure out why I don't like other people reading my work since I never used to have a problem with it.

Maybe it's because you've improved or learned more. When I was learning Spanish, I started out being afraid to say anything. Then I learned just enough to think I had it all figured out and talked all the time. Then I learned just enough to realize that I had a lot to learn. That's when I was shy about talking to anyone--maybe that's the point you've reached? Now I'm at the point with Spanish that I know I sound like an adult most of the time and can usually avoid, learn from, and laugh about the occasional howling error.


I'm always gobsmacked by the level of romanticizing demonstrated by the (mostly younger) posters here.

I tend to think of writing more pragmatically, too, but different strokes for different folks, you know? I love Ray Bradbury's work, but I found his writing book unhelpful because that's exactly how he approaches writing. He seems to have done pretty well for himself by a practical application of his romanticism, though. We don't all approach writing the same way; can't we respect other approaches?

Bubastes
02-07-2007, 11:41 PM
Money, oh yeah, I'd love to be paid well for my writing. The thought of people choosing to pay good money for my work is quite satisfying!

Fame? No way. I had some non-fiction pieces published under my own name and I hated being recognized. Now I write all my fiction under a pen name. It's the story that matters, anyway, not me. Still, if my pen name is famous enough, I'll use it if I need to get into crowded restaurants. :D

TigerFire
02-08-2007, 01:09 AM
A little of both. I want people to know who I am and wouldn't mind if I got some sort of monetary income from it, but all in all, I write because I have to. It's inside me and and I enjoy it.

AceTachyon
02-08-2007, 01:37 AM
My main goal is to make enough money from writing to enable me to keep writing. Anything more than that is gravy, including recognition.
Same goes for me.

Although recognition would be nice. Not necessarily on the order of a Stephen King or J.K Rowling, but be enough of a known quantity in my chosen genre. Like being on the same level as Robert B. Parker, Lawrence Block, Elizabeth Moon, Lois McMaster Bujold, Robert Asprin, and so on.

Pat~
02-08-2007, 02:31 AM
I do it, (when I do it), because I enjoy the creative challenge of capturing my thoughts and communicating them effectively to other people. I also do it because I sense it is a sort of calling at this time in my life. I enjoy hearing back from people when I've made a connection--that's very fulfilling. But I would not like to be famous; I value my privacy too much. 'The money' is not a draw; I have no illusions about ever making much from writing, and I have enough.