#Pubwrite GeniusPosted: May 26, 2011
This afternoon, I inadvertently started a mini-discussion on twitter with some #pubwrite writing friends about remuneration for writers. I noticed Michael Palante tweet that he received an email offering him a freelance writing gig for .02 cents per 100 words. He then pointed out how amusing this is, considering a whole novel would cost $16 to write.
Everett Powers suggested that Michael would be better of “flipping burgers, as at least he would get to eat”. As much as Everett and Michael were having a laugh, this is the sad reality for most writers. We are the underpaid and undervalued segment of the entertainment industry. More on our place in the entertainment industry in an upcoming post. Let’s get back to this twitter discussion.
After reading Michael’s tweet and Everett’s response, I suggested that a good way to get paid more for our work (or to get paid anything at all in my case), would be to get readers addicted to our work, then get it outlawed, and then start an over-priced black market for it. This was, obviously, a tongue in cheek remark but it sure started some amazing brain storming from the #pubwrite team. When these guys aren’t drinking, they sure are thinking!
The basic theme of the discussion became the premise that we could create success by breeding controversy, and reaping the benefits of the resulting publicity. I argued that any publicity is good publicity. Michael disagreed, and suggested that some controversy is just offensive, and adds no value to your promotion. To quote him, he tweeted “controversy is just controversy. Controversy which challenges people intellectually is gold”. In case his already rock solid argument hadn’t already convinced us, he used a perfect example – “A mosque kinda close to ground zero? Dialog. Burning the Koran? Offensive.” As a literary example, he pointed out that “Dan Brown (for what it’s worth) got big because reporters asked questions.”
I’ll just let you digest Michael’s wisdom for a few seconds…
As I farewelled the twitter discussion, Michael’s advice lingered with me. Dan Brown became a worldwide hit after Da Vinci Code stirred discussion and publicity around the theme of Jesus’s bloodline. It’s worth remembering that Brown wrote Digital Fortress, Angels and Demons and Deception Point before he wrote Da Vinci Code, but it wasn’t until Da Vinci Code hooked that magic formula of controversy, intrigue and a crap load of free publicity, that the three other books took off as well. This is interesting. Was Dan Brown better off flipping burgers before he made his fortune from one delicious plot line?
My mind also immediately went to my thriller Conspire, which is in its final stages of editing. I’m a little concerned now. Not because the book is devoid of controversy. It’s definitely got plenty of that. Has it got that magic controversy that Michael speaks of? Is my world government conspiracy theory going to start conversations? I guess there’s no going back now! I’ll find out soon enough.