Sunday, November 11, 2007

strike -- by Larry D. Sweazy

If you’re a fervent watcher of late night television or pay close attention to Hollywood and Broadway, you know there’s a strike going on.

If you’re a fiction writer, hoping to break into print with a New York publishing house, you know there is a lot of hand-ringing going on about the future of distribution, POD (print-on-demand), and book sellers becoming publishers.

In other words, it’s storming pretty much everywhere.

Don’t think that the Hollywood strike doesn’t have an affect on fiction writers. If you’ve published a novel, then any movie option discussion is probably in jeopardy for the moment. Distribution in the New York Big Houses? Oh, yeah, that affects you directly, too.

But…this post is not about navigating the alleyways and highways of the current turmoil. There are blog posts about that all over the Web. Check out Barry Eisler’s 3-part post last week on Buzz, Balls, & Hype, or Jonathon Lyons posts on the Hollywood strike, or a myriad of others that you can Google. What this post is about is hope.

The strike will end. They always have, they always will. Writers need to eat, even though our survival strengths and ability to eat macaroni & cheese for long periods of time is legendary, terms of a contract will be met and Letterman’s writers will return to work. And, the media companies need content—they will compromise.

In other words…what you’re seeing at the moment is a clearly defined statement of hope:

The world needs writers. Always has. Always will. It’s that simple.

That doesn’t mean that I think the Hollywood strike is for folly. Just the opposite. I believe writers should get paid for their work, that they should get their share of DVD sales, and whatever format comes along in the future. Ditto with traditional fiction publishing. The world is flat. Distribution is changing. But what hasn’t changed is the need for quality content. The population will always have a percentage of people who are readers. It’s in the DNA. It’s only the delivery method that’s changing. How they read and what they read…so:

The world needs writers. Always has. Always will.

Writers deserve to be paid a quality wage for their work.

As a writer you can get all caught up in the struggles of the day, get a lump in your throat about the sky falling and the foundation of your dream (getting paid for your work, seeing your novel distributed nationwide with a professionally designed cover and edited by an editor that LOVES your writing) crumbling to floor, and throwing up your hands and shouting, “What’s the point?”

The point is (you guessed it):

The world needs writers. Always has. Always will.

If you let the current storm stop you from writing your novel, you’ll never see the morning after when the sun beams down on your face and the birds sing joyfully as they shake the rain out their feathers.

The writers who will survive are the writers who are keeping their heads down, writing every day, learning the craft, and yes, learning the business, too, but not being controlled by it.

You control how long you’re butt’s in the chair, whether your finger’s are on the keyboard or not—and you simply can’t give that control over to the predictors of doomsday.

Trust me. The world needs writers. Always has. Always will.

Now get back to work—somebody out there in the future is waiting for it.


Dirtyword said...

Get your 'writer.' shirts, hats,
buttons, mugs, and more at:

Show your support for the writers!

Bag Man said...

You got it right, there, Larry, give the writers what they want. I just saw what they make now, and I couldn't believe it: