In recent weeks and months, The Writers Block has started carving a niche for blockchain publishing in the world of commercial fiction. We believe it’s the opportunity of a lifetime, a chance to stake new ground in an industry that for years has crowded out fresh voices. We have big plans to lift our authors high above the noise, and it’s time to get started!
Several people have asked about our plan for selling books. There’s a simple formula that includes preparation and luck. Any time you offer a product, you are at the mercy of the market. You can’t make people buy something they don’t want. But you can certainly make sure that if they do want it, they buy it from you.
In publishing, that comes down to two elements that are very much under our control. First is quality and next is promotion. We have very definite plans for promotion and a fundraiser underway through Fundition to help with those expenses. Our target budget for advertising and promotion during the first six months after launch is $5,000. This is peanuts compared to what Top 5 publishers can offer, but a fortune compared to what most indie authors can spend. Without this kind of marketing, however, book sales are dead in the water. It doesn’t matter how wonderful a novel might be—if it gets no exposure to the target audience, it will not sell.
So what about quality? What does that even mean with something as subjective as fiction?
People like and don’t like different things. However, it’s unlikely that anyone would argue that a book riddled with typos and convoluted prose is better than a readable, entertaining novel free of glaring mistakes. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you pay for a book, only to open it and find misspelled words and bad grammar, you might demand your money back. Many people do. Just ask Amazon.
Still—particularly with fiction—editing is about far more than just grammar, spelling, and typos. Over and over again, we see a basic misunderstanding of the concept. Many writers don’t understand how much work actually goes into professional editing and don’t realize its value. From serialized stories on the blockchain to scads upon scads of self-published novels, badly executed fiction abounds. Eager for feedback, authors can be blissfully unaware of how easily their own success is sabotaged by publishing work that just isn’t ready for the light of day.
A good professional editor won’t waste time red-inking an entire manuscript full of repetitive flaws. Sure, some may charge by the hour and nitpick a 100,000-word piece of fiction to death at the author’s expense, but at the end of the day, it’s the author’s job to get it right. A conscientious editor will see repetitive mistakes, flag the first few examples of them, and send the manuscript back to the author for correction.
What are some of the repetitive mistakes we see? They are numerous, but the most common are comma splices, tense shifts, headhopping, and exposition. If you write fiction and don’t understand these terms or why these issues create problems for the reader, it’s a safe bet that you’re not publishing your best possible work.
The Steemhouse Way
With our new front-end Wordrow and with Steemhouse Publishing, editing will be paramount. Both will involve a submissions process and several rounds of intensive feedback before any piece of writing is available for public consumption. If our long-term plan works, this will result in higher post payout and SMT rewards. Unlike posting on Steemit, being featured on the front page of Wordrow will qualify as an asset for author portfolios because of our strict quality control. The biggest difference between our site and traditional literary magazines will be that, instead of doling out flat rejections for work that isn’t quite ready, our editing team will be available for consult right there in the submission queue. We’ll do everything we can to help writers get their work up to publication standards.
This kind of mentorship and teamwork is badly needed in the publishing world. Many critique groups exist but there is no widely accepted standard of quality. A community that focuses on editing as well as the craft of writing will fill a gap that has long existed. With mainstream publication as a potential outcome, writers from many different corners of the industry will be attracted to this project. Additionally, having a direct interface between authors and readers is something that is long overdue. When readers learn they can interact with and reward authors directly on Wordrow, it will keep them coming back to our site time and again.
We definitely want to thank the Fundition team for believing our project has merit, and for blazing new trails in the cryptocurrency jungle. We believe the work they do is some of the most important innovation on the blockchain. Thank you, Fundition!