Monday, April 21, 2014

Business and Writing

Many modern businesses run a particular model of short-term thinking. They deal with investors and stock, and play a game where they predict a dollar amount of how much business they'll do in a 90-day timeframe. The stock price will go up or down depending on how close the actual numbers match the prediction. If things look dicey, a common occurence is to game the system by juggling the numbers to make sure they line up more or less according to prediction.

This is all a silly game. The economy goes up and down, and huge deals involving millions of dollars can take months to sign, and hundreds, if not thousands of people are involved. So many factors, and everyone tries to maintain an illusion of control over events.

Many bad decisions have happened to force things into a particular timeframe. Products get released before they're fully tested, corners get cut, mistakes are made in haste.

Something similar can happen in the modern world of publishing, too. Writers push a work out the door before it's ready, or expect certain earnings and sales within a short timeframe. They obsessively check their "stock price" (sales) every day, sometimes hourly. If books are not flying off the virtual shelves, some writers despair.

Again, a silly game. Many good books take time to garner word-of-mouth and to rise to the top of to-be-read piles. Writing and publishing now should take the long view- and some people think a 5-year window is too long. They want instant success, instant riches. That's not what this game is about. Sure, some have done it, and some of those with inferior products.

Just keep writing and publishing quality works, do what promotion you can, and don't worry about the sales in the short term. You want your business around for a long time, so don't cut corners. Take the time to make the work good. More than good. Make it memorable. Make it to last, not to make a quick buck off the fad of the moment.

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