WHY PEOPLE WRITE
The ‘publishing business’ has been made-over by the world wide web; the radicality of these changes compares well with the ‘sea changes’ which occurred with INVESTING[not quite the same thing as ‘saving’]; the ‘individual investor’ no longer NEEDS the advice of a financial advisor to manage a portfolio of diverse holdings in ‘negotiable paper;’ this FACT has brought the FEES paid when purchasing/selling one of these ‘positions’ down out of the stratosphere.
Just as the major Wall Street players in the investment business have been forced to adjust their business plans to accomodate these changing realities, the big publishing houses[some still have the word HOUSE in their name] have been forever changed by the electronic medium, and their NEED to compete, in order to gain control of the PRODUCT they sell.
WRITERS however, compare more favorably with MUSICIANS[their ‘business’ has also been affected by technology, but in very different ways]; just as TALENT & SKILL in musicians, comes in different combinations, and levels of achievement, writers come in all varieties, and would represent every sector in a VENN DIAGRAM which could express these two aspects of writing graphically; and, much like in the music business, there seems to be no ‘rhyme or reason’ for why some writers have a big publisher that works with them, or why some of these do so well financially.
DUANE ALLMAN[another GEORGIA boy] was an ‘accomplished musician,’ before his tragic death occurred while riding a motorcycle; two other accomplished musicians[“DICKEY” BETTS & CHUCK LEAVELL] memorialized Duane’s death on EAT A PEACH.
I used to watch the three of them, playing together in Piedmont Park[Atlanta, GA; they lived about 90 miles away, in Macon, GA] on the weekend. There was a popular saying, back in the day:MUSIC SHOULD BE FREE, LIKE BREAD. There was lots of ‘free music’ in 1969.
But Duane, and his Allman Bros. Band made plenty of money, by making their music. In the early 60’s, Duane was already technically proficient on his guitar. Once he determined that making his music was going to be his way of making a living, he executed a ‘plan’ which eventually led to the successful introduction of his Rock’n’Roll Band to the record-buying public. NASHVILLE, at the time, ‘produced’ most of the recordings which ‘featured’ guitar music; every guitar-player, whose name appeared on the album covers coming out of that music industry capitol, were ALL dues-paying union members. Given those to incontrovertible facts, Duane’s ‘plan’ was a rather simple one; he obtained the necessary union card, and then located himself just outside those recording studios where these albums were being ‘cranked out.’
Whenever a recording session was ‘planned[a sometimes difficult process, because it involves getting a number of ‘artists’ in one particular place & getting them to cooperate(with one another, and with the PRODUCER and his TECHNICIANS)],’ and the PRODUCER determined that a guitar was what he wanted to hear in his orchestra, Duane was always ‘handy.’ If you are not a record collector, and/or pay little attention to the names of all the musicians that contributed to the ‘tracks’ contained in the package[PRODUCT], then you would definitely be surprised/amazed at all the CREDITS Duane garnered for himself, during this ‘critical’ period of his development[into a ‘seasoned veteran’]. The ‘list,’ if reduced to the names of the FEATURED singers, whose names are ‘plastered’ on the front of all these albums, would compel you to ‘see’ DUANE ALLMAN in a new light.
Duane’s ATTITUDE towards ‘getting paid’ for all these recording sessions, had much more to do with the wide use of his guitar-playing during these ‘early years,’ than his TALENT, or his proficiency with his INSTRUMENT! Duane, during those years when he was playing in NASHVILLE, made a lot more money for those RECORD PRODUCERS, than he did for himself. ALL successful RECORD PRODUCERS pay attention to such financial details. Duane’s ‘long range plans’ for his music, involved PRODUCING his own recordings, and the successful execution depended heavily on his understanding of all aspects of that business, and on his use[when the time finally arrived] of the valuable CONTACTS he had cultivated with other SUCCESSFUL recording artists, with TECHNICIANS qualified to produce the actual PRODUCT & with those RECORD PRODUCERS that he would have to compete with, when he had his own label.
There are plenty of GOOD WRITERS, capable of producing the necessary PRODUCT; the PUBLISHERS tend to work[exclusively] with those writers that make them the most money. If your ‘plan’ is to be a financially successful writer, with a prestigious PUBLISHING HOUSE selling your books for you, then you need to be ‘all about’ making money for them! THINK DON KING; not all of the boxers, that DON KING made famous enough for you to have heard the name, were ‘duped’ by him, or too ‘stupid’ to realize what was going on; the biggest names were probably actively cooperating in Mr. King’s personal enrichment throughout their ‘prolonged’ professional careers.
WHY DO WRITERS WRITE? Each one of you GWE writers must provide your own answer to that one. Consider JAMES HOGG. Or THOMAS JEFFERSON; TJ is, without doubt[at least in my estimation], the most important American writer; many of his most important ideas were very simply DISCARDED by the individuals who used TJ’s PRODUCT to make him GREAT. If you were locked in a motel room for 24 hours, and there was a copy of the Declaration of Indepenence, lying on a table, next to Tony Hillerman’s Coyote Waits, which one would you pick up and read? If your ‘aim’ is to make, for yourself, some serious money, FORGET ABOUT GREAT IDEAS! Identify your book-buying target audience, and figure out what is entertaining to them. Then use your TALENT & SKILL to write that!
If you are writing for another reason, you might still be able to use the information that I have pased along in this ARTICLE, to improve your current income picture. For my FRIENDS here at GWE, I want to CHALLENGE you to limit your COMMENTS attached to my ARTICLE to answering this one buning question:WHY DO YOU THINK I SPEND THE TIME THAT I DO WRITING? Answering this one simple question will help focus your mind on something much more important than how to get paid for your own efforts as a writer. If you take the time to do some research, before writing a COMMENT that almost nobody else on the planet will read[I’ll certainly be reading them], my many ARTICLES certainly provide some helpful CLUES to guide your tiny composition. DON’T WORRY ABOUT HOW I MIGHT ‘TAKE’ WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT MY WRITING. The point to the exercise, is to mis-direct your conscious mind, just long enough for your sublimated personality to decide, for you, why it is that you write. JUST TRY THIS[it really works]!