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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » The Most Important Thing

   
Author Topic: The Most Important Thing
Christine
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I've often heard it said, and I completely agree, that a good story can survive mediocre writing but good writing won't sustain a mediocre story. Which isn't a license not to learn to write, because great writing and a great story is absolutely favulous. It's just an observation.

Then today, I discovered that there might be something more important than a good story -- publicity.

I'm reading a very popular, very publicized, very hyped novel. While it's not utter rubbish, it's hardly brilliant. I have to think that somehow getting a terrific publicity campaign is more important than quality.

As I pour through my current novel for the 4th time, trying my best to get it right, it makes me wonder why I bother. If I could throw thousands of dollars at a top notch publicist, then the story just has to be ok.

Did that just turn into a bit of a vent? Sorry!


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NoTimeToThink
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No need to apologize - we all have a license to gripe about the unfairness of reality as much as we want...but it's still reality. Yes, if someone throws enough cash into the machine, ANYTHING can get published.

Just remember what's important to you. Do you want to write a great story or just get published? Don't let the fact that sub-standard, not-all-that-great books are published every day - see it as a sign that you can compete out there in the really important part. Keep writing!


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innesjen
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While maybe it feels like it's not worth the work to make your novel shine without a publicist, do you really want someone reading your book and thinking the same thing that you thought about the book that made you think publicity is all you need? (If that makes sense.)
Ultimately do you want to be known for your wonderful prose or do you want to be known for your baseless hype?

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debhoag
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I thought most publicists worked for the publisher, which means somebody liked the book enough (besides the writer's mom) to want to pay to have it publicized. Sometimes writing that seems pretty poor still touches a chord with the public.
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Christine
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Not exactly, no. The business end of publishing is very complicated and in truth, getting published is only the first step. Few publishers will invest much money in a first novel. It's usually up to the author to find the right publicist and get a buzz going.
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Robert Nowall
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Keep in mind that it's all a matter of individual taste, even with mass-marketed stuff. You, a reader who studies to be a better writer, may not find a story as thrilling as someone who's simply a reader. Your tastes may be more evolved.
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