Friday, February 18, 2011

Never Listen To Me

I'm pretty clear in my occasional writing advice that "nobody knows nothing and the people you should avoid the most are those who claim they know something. Or everything." And you should change your mind frequently. I often hear people make absolutist statements, given as fixed, eternal truths, that are the exact opposite of what they said last week. Sure, politics is the most obvious example, but it's true in art as well.

Someone asked me about some advice I'd given on my Website in an article still up from four years ago (I REALLY need to clean that thing out). Basically, this person asked if I thought it was still a bad idea to participate in a print-on-demand anthology. Back then, the answer was "Yes, it's bad," because the books would cost $30 and not even the writers' mothers would buy a copy, and you'd make three cents while losing your first rights (assuming the publisher ever bothered paying you, that is).

Today, of course, the answer is "Maybe." If it's a reprint, and the publisher is doing an e-book version, it's silly to neglect yet another revenue stream, and the challenges of getting into bookstores are fast becoming moot, just as bookstores are becoming moot. My point here is not to warn you from POD or get you to try it. The point is I have no idea what I'm talking about.

I'm sure somewhere on my Website I say "Never self-publish." Yet today I'd ask why you'd even WANT to contribute to a POD project when you can do it yourself with a lot less hassle and more profit. Some people like community and partnerships. I mostly prefer to work alone, because it's peaceful and I can usually determine the outcome.

So don't take any of my advice. It's take me 15 years to realize I'm stupider than I was the day the started.


Jacqueline Howett said...

But not so stupid for being in total control of your rights and doing it all yourself.
Nice post. I enjoyed!

Cherri Galbiati said...

Scott, you're no more stupid that I am. The publishing world has CHANGED. And with those changes means being more flexible. :>) I'm still in awe at the fact that we're living through a brilliant advantage in publishing...with the scales tipped in the author's favor.


Brenda said...

In that case, I won't listen to your advice not to listen. You have brilliantly evolved with all the environmental upheavals, and not only survived, but thrived. I better listen.

Neal Hock said...

I'm a lot like that...I'm not afraid to change my mind. I know a lot of folks refuse to acknowledge they may have been wrong or circumstances have changed, but I don't have a problem with it. Why in the world should I miss out on something just because of pride? One thing that age has taught me: the older I get, the less I realize I really *know*.


Charlie Pulsipher said...

What? There is advice on this blog? I thought it was all comic relief.

I think you often do say some things that are helpful, but people need to look at the date and context.
Funny Stuff I Write And Draw

JaxPop said...

Hmmm... Maybe I've listened to you too much, but so far everything's worked out great. Ted over at Dellaster just formatted my 2nd book, which went live on Kindle yesterday, & he did a fantastic job. Guess I'll listen 'til ya screw up. Thanks, Scott.


author Scott Nicholson said...

Hi Jacqueline and Cherri, welcome to the Monkey House! Yes, Brenda, I have been riding the changes and I am already thinking four years down the road--because I ain't seen nothing yet. Probably better to watch what I do than listen to what I say!

Neal, ego is the big killer--industries, empires, and romances die on it.

Charlie, yes, some writinga dvice from 100 years ago is still good. But not publishing advice!

Dave, great to hear, be sure to get featured at Indie Books Blog!


Anonymous said...


Don't feel bad about being mistaken. I make mistakes all the time. The important thing is to learn from them and to know when to change your thinking based on new information.

Thomas Edison famously said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

Look how well things turned out for him. :)

author Scott Nicholson said...

Umm. He's dead. Not exactly a fruitful learning experience, Debbi...

JaxPop said...

"Dave, great to hear, be sure to get featured at Indie Books Blog!"

Me? Really?

Nicholas La Salla said...

LOL, this is a great post, Scott. On any given day, I feel stupid 32 times but there are also 3 times I feel like a genius. It doesn't exactly make up for the overall stupidity, but . . . well, it makes me feel better. ;-)

You're doing quite well for yourself, man! Congratulations on going full time -- that's a dream that we all share. I hope you never have to work a day job again and your biggest concern is whether you're going to get the solid gold jacuzzi or the silver jacuzzi.

On a somewhat but not really related note, "Forever Never Ends" has an amazing cover, I much prefer this one to the paperback when it first came out under the old title.