(Hokay. Post going up early because sucker no.1 has offered to go and load a few tons of hay for a friend who has hurt his leg. Normally, it’s two of us, and I’m half dead after, but this will be just be me, so I’ll be LATE home and very tired. And to show what a clever little monkey I am I agreed to go and load cows and catch squid (duh, of course they go together – cows on ferry) at 4.30 AM tomorrow – so if I take some time to reply, just say rhubarb a lot, and make bad puns and multiple entendres for me)
“Everything louder than everything else…”
Meatloaf, Bat out of hell II
Which ends up with now deaf people not buying much music…
Of course, volume might just possibly mean ‘amount’
Or “Pass me the second volume that vaunted tome: ‘Zen and the art of going to the lavatory’.”
Vaunted is like haunted but with more V, or possibly like the new cry being heard a lot in Germany, “You are not vaunted here. Go away.”
Yes, I am being ridiculous, it is what I do best, and I like to keep in practice. Of course I am also of the school of writer that believes that if the shotgun on the mantelpiece is mentioned in the first scene of my story… it will actually be used to blow someone’s head off, by the last scene.
What do I mean? Ah, dearie me. Always the hard questions for the monkey. I should be hard at work typing with the 9999 to produce a hitherto unseen volume of Shakespeare, but for you I will elucidate (which I believe means climb out of a window to elude your date with Lucy. Wonderful things portmanteaux words, with such logical meanings.).
What I mean is that, for me anyway, story universes (and possibly this real one) are too complicated to add too much in the way of meaningless verbiage or description. This is particularly true for me because my plots are quite Byzantine anyway, and I have a very small brain, which makes keeping it all arranged, all logical and interconnecting without too many loose ends free floating quite hard for me. It’s why I find writing voluminous books like the Heirs series very exhausting. I have a theory that for fast readers (who are your high volume readers) these big books — IF a lot happens in them (in other words, if every shotgun you see is used) are exhausting for that type of reader (not relaxing and pleasant). It is perhaps why there are so few Frank Herbert’s out there. That take more skill than most of us have.
There are certainly a lot which are big and fat books, but really the story in them is pretty slim. That’s driven by two things: 1) Sheer verbosity. 2) A demand for bigger books from publishers, who used paying the author the same money for fat book, but charging the reader more as a way of justifying putting book prices up, without putting the costs up by the same percentage. Some people wanted bigger, fatter books. They feel it is more value for their money. It’s a fair point and KOLL works rather like that. At least the author gets paid for the pages.
There is – just like the futility of everything louder than everything else – a need for balance in all of this – both for readers and writers. Padding (adding volume with verbosity) is a losing equation beyond a certain point for most readers, and writers. It’s hard to keep it interesting, when you have 50 pages of story and 500 pages of waffle, angst and dress descriptions. Yes, there are talented writers who can write anything entertainingly, even a shopping list. I do advise against assuming you’re one of them, unless you have the evidence to back it up.
Where volume really comes into its own is when it comes to providing readers with the second and third and fourth and fifth volume and so on in short order… so long as it is what they wanted (possibly not Zen and…) does seem to be the real route to success.
Volume… after volume. And yes, I am afraid that requires some vaunting – in the Merriam-Webster sense: ‘to call attention to pridefully and often’ – otherwise your volumes will lost in the surrounding volume.
The one downside of this is that you are likely to be haunted by any failure to keep up the quality – at which point, seriously, anonymity (a la V) and a new pseudonym are called for. It’s something at least one can do in the brave new world of Kindle. At least there we authors have a choice in the chaos to have careers of own, or return to the chains of traditional publishing (where pseudonyms had to be transparent to your publisher).
The biggest danger for our new revolution in Indy publishing is the sheer volume of new – and often really not very well-written or entertaining books (yes, Tradpub MADE the opening for Indy with really not very well-written or entertaining and expensive books, but there wasn’t much volume, and therefore not much choice.) But we Indy authors face a real challenge – fit in to what the public want, and make it well-written and entertaining… and not drowned in such a volume of drekk that no one finds it, or face ‘You are not vaunted, go away.’
Fortunately, there is a selection mechanism: there are no free benefits. You’re welcome to the successful and profitable country of independent publishing… no one is trying to keep you out – but leave TradPub culture behind you. Indy culture is different. It’s about work, not about connections, and political correctness in this environment. You are unlikely to get a ‘job’ –as so many of my TradPub colleagues have done (because they can’t sell enough to keep going) teaching creative writing at College as a failed Indy author. Nor will readers care about your skin color or sexual orientation or anything else, when choosing your book above another. It’s a harsh new country, as well as a rich one. I don’t believe the freeloaders will survive, and that’s one reason they hate it.
And now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s back to typing my current WIP, a Love’s Labour’s Won…
Oh oh… I think I hear afar the sound of footsteps. It could be Lucy, looking for me, want for an explanation of where I vanished to on our date at the Olduvai club. She probably wants to give me a high volume jawing.
(Yes, I had fun. I hope you did.)