"My son is now an 'entrepreneur.' That's what you're called when you don't have a job." - Ted Turner
"You've got to say, 'I think that if I keep working at this and want it badly enough I can have it.' It's called perseverance." - Lee Iacocca
Over at Rachelle Gardner's blog this morning there's a thought-provoking discussion, as usual. Today, though, it's all about how everybody these days seems convinced that the publishers are going out of business, as are the bookstores, and they'll take agents and authors down with them as the great fiscal sky falls down on our heads. "How do you persist in the face of depressing odds and harsh realities?" she asks.
I chortled a bit and wrote a response, then stopped. Why entertain her readers when my own need some food for thought?
The post and its responses are, though, enjoyable and entertaining to read. Of course, there's the predictable "there's never been a better time to be a writer" response. While I agree with the sentiment, I also point out that you can't feed "a better time to be a writer" to your family, nor will the apartment complex take it in exchange for the monthly rent.
Here's what I was writing as a response:
Reality has always been harsh. Odds have always been depressing. "Making it" in any field is challenging, but especially so in a field where the only requirements for entry are a computer of any age or a pen and paper, and the potential reward is millions of dollars per year. Technology changes, and the marketplace changes. Even Terry Goodkind, the wunderkind who landed an agent on his first query and a huge contract on his first book (I used to hate kids like him in high school) is going Indie. Sales are up but only in ebooks and blah blah blah blah....
Readers (like me) still need stories and are willing to pay for good ones. We always will. Those of us who provide the stories need to be aware of what's going on, but not afraid of it.
It is what it is, and it's not any harder to tell a good story than it's ever been, so get over it and write.
In the world of business, it's usually the ones who defy conventional wisdom who go on to be the FedExes, the WalMarts, the KFCs, the Blue Niles. Be different. But be good at it.
True? I hope so. Some of that came from a couple of nights ago when I watched the story of KFC and Blue Nile as I was torturing myself on the elliptical trainer. Harland Sanders didn't just pop some chicken into his fryer after mixing up the 11 herbs and spices and have everybody loving it and begging for a restaurant in their neighborhood. He actually was told by many people just how stupid an idea a fast food fried chicken place was. And Mark Vadon, builder of Blue Nile (an online diamond retailer), bought and built his business in the incredible lows of the dot-com bust years. That, and he defied people who said nobody would buy diamonds online, that the purchase is a tactile affair.
Oh, and the brick-and-mortar jewelry stores hated Vadon. Still do. Sound familiar?
If you're going to make it in business doing just about anything, you can't be like everybody else. That, I suppose, is the bottom line.