My novel is going to be a best seller!

If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.

                                                         – John F. Kennedy

If your goal is to be the next JK Rowling… writing may not (there is a slight possibility) be right for you.

The Talent: It’s going to be a best seller

Voice of Reason: Now that I think about it, I’ve never even seen you read a book.

I’m not going to emphasize the importance or writing, I’ve done that in enough posts. Nor will I emphasize the importance of writing, because I’ve done that a few times as well, I think. You can check out my old posts in this series here if you want to.

There is something that I want to stress, and that’s the importance of money. As humans we need it, can’t live without it because it ensures life’s necessities: food, water, shelter, clothes and other great stuff. Money is important because it allows us to obtain these things, to continue doing the fun, stupid, pointless, amazing things we as writers do. All money does is mediate, acting as a means to something else. Money’s importance comes from a capitalistic interest in placing an arbitrary value on everything. There’s no reason, really, why a tomato should cost a dollar and a loaf of bread several. There’s no reason why essentials should be marketed to begin with, but that’s another post.

So what does being a millionaire, or a billionaire in Rowling’s case ensure? Even if you are a mildly successful author you’d be able to cover your necessities and guarantee that you continue doing what you love: writing.It’s easy to preach when the audience is a screen, but seriously , two for the money, ten for the art. Your skill as a writer has already been commodified, there’s no need to place added stress on yourself to be an international best seller. No disrespect to those who are of course, or those who desire success, but it shouldn’t be your sole goal.

Don’t compromise your novels, poems, paintings, films or essays solely for the fame or the money. You’ll regret it. At the end of that long, never ending day that is life, you owe authenticity not to your friends, family, job or self; you owe it to your work.

10 thoughts on “My novel is going to be a best seller!

  1. You should write because there is a story inside that needs to get out and there is nothing that you want more than to put into words the ideas that live in your mind.

    • Amen to that, reminds me of something I once read by Fitzgerald: don’t write because you want to say something, write because you have something to say. There’s is such a slight difference in the phrasing of the clauses, but the latter clause is what I try to achieve, blunders, mishaps and all.

  2. All you need is enough to cover basic bills, and I do mean basic. It’s much less than most people assume. But back on the main topic of the article, nobody knows what will sell. E.L. James makes J.K. Rowling look like Flannery O’Connor.

    • Basic, the bare minimum, seems a little muddled and muggled today.

      And there’s marketing, its not enough that a writer must slave away over his/her work, they must worry about disguising, masking and propagating it — I mean marketing it — so that it is easily consumed by the masses. I don’t know about others but I like my novels without an extra side of dressing.

  3. I support my art by teaching. I still haven’t figured out if that was a mistake or not. It seems, though, that has just ensured an income doing something rewarding. A lot of writers (and I’m going to sound like every other sour-grapes failed writer, but that isn’t it; I’m not a failed writer) fame can serve to lock an artist into the expectations of a fan base. J. K. Rowling is an example of this as was Goethe. How do you break free? But how do you break free of poverty, either?

    • I wish I had the answers to that, they would save me the time wasted on anxiety and schooling. I stress an ungodly amount ensuring that I do well in every class, but honestly: is it even worth it?

      And yes, I took the easy way out and answered with a question. 😉

  4. In the long run it doesn’t matter how well you do in every class. What matters what you learn. School is a short cut to thousands of years of human thought, discovery and experience. All of this is food for fiction. The people in your stories need to know things so their conversations are meaningful (just one reason). Look at school that way. School doesn’t keep anyone from writing. Just write. 🙂

    And then, old-school romantic that I am, “All experience is an arch wherethrough gleams the untraveled world.”

    Some great fiction writers started out writing strong novels about graduate school. Larry McMurtry comes to mind — definitely a best-selling author and many of his books are very well written!

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