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Posts by Peter Grant

Writing: a business, a serious hobby, or a pastime?

I’m doing one of my regular assessments of where I’m at, in terms of books in progress or published, earnings from my writing, and future prospects.  I find it helps to take a cold, calculating look at my position from time to time, and figure out whether I’m achieving my goals, or whether the latter need to be revised, or whether I need to change how I’m going about achieving them.

In the process, I’ve been reading other creators’ assessment of their successes and/or failures.  Some of them seem to regard themselves as failures because they can’t earn a living from their writing.  They fail to understand that very few writers can do so – probably no more than 1-2% of us, if truth be told.  Yet, many of us (including yours truly) aspire to earn at that level.  The question thus arises:  are we fooling ourselves?  Are we living in cloud cuckoo land?  Or is that objective worth pursuing?

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A small press success story – and a very happy reader

I’m sure we all had favorite books while growing up.  I have very fond memories of Arthur Ransome‘s “Swallows and Amazons” series, Rosemary Sutcliff‘s voluminous output (particularly her Roman Britain books), Elizabeth Enright‘s delightful novels, and so on.

A particular favorite, to whom I returned time and time again, was Ronald Welch.  His series of children’s historical novels about successive generations of the Carey family, running the gamut from the Crusades to World War I, captivated me, and never grew stale.  Even as an adult, when I occasionally came across a copy, I’d re-read it with great pleasure.  His books had been out of print for decades, and were hard to find (particularly at affordable prices – some of them are in nosebleed territory), but now and again I’d find one I could afford, and add it to my bookshelves.

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Pulp fiction: a blast from the past

As another building block for wannabe authors (including yours truly, because we never stop learning until we die!), I’ve been looking at older advice on how to write – plot, setting, characters, etc.

We tend to think of “how-to” advice for authors as being something relatively recent, and in one sense it is – because many of those giving the advice are not authors, or are not particularly popular authors, judging by their sales numbers.  I don’t know what qualifies them to offer such advice . . . all I know is that I won’t take it.  I’ll look to successful authors, past and present, and try to learn from them.

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Is talent useless in isolation?

I had a back-and-forth discussion this past week with an aspiring writer, who felt crushed because she “wasn’t talented enough” to make it as an indie author.  I asked her how she’d come to that conclusion.  She said that all her previous efforts (which she was reluctant to share) were “useless” or “no good” or “dull”.  She couldn’t seem to ignite a spark in or with her words that would make potential readers catch fire.

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A blast from the science fiction past

Here’s something interesting:  a sit-down chat between Harlan Ellison, Isaac Asimov and Gene Wolfe, dating from 1982.

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Amazon reviews: the good, the bad and the ugly

Many of those who write here have commented in the past about the problem of “fake” reviews, or “buying” reviews, of books on  It’s grown to be an enormous problem across that site, not just with books, but with anything where there’s an opportunity to con the consumer by making them think that a product is better than it really is.

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Food for thought

Two articles caught my eye during the past week.  I’d like to share them with you.

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