The myths of the writer

Jan 18 2018

Premise: publishers complain a lot, sometimes rightly, sometimes wrongly. Most of these complaints are addressed to writers and aspiring writers, it is natural. What I have read and heard most often is probably “the writers think that everything is due to them, they believe that once the manuscript has been presented and the contract signed the only thing left to do is wait for the millionaire royalties, they are willing to lift their ass only for an invitation from Fazio, and even in that case if they pull it ”.


This is obviously an exaggeration, and often it is just a falsehood: in my brief experience as a publisher, our writers have almost always been enthusiastic, full of ideas and willing to lend a hand; maybe a little petulant and insistent, but for a good cause. Maybe she’s out of my ass, because I can hear something else around.

Here, perhaps many aspiring authors have somewhat confused ideas, or rather, a “mythologized” vision of the writer who no longer corresponds to his “2.0” counterpart, or has always been misleading and far from reality.

In my small way, I could dare to say that the myths to dispel are these:

1) The writer makes a lot of money

Here, let’s start immediately on the most beautiful. If you see a guy ride in a Ferrari with a snatch on board, think “Uff, what envy, these writers …”? Yet the myth of “writing to get rich” persists. In a society where, unfortunately, the difference between the “normal” people and the overflowing people increases, many dream of changing sides, and in fact writing a book can be a better lifestyle choice than focusing on scratch cards.

However, how many professional writers are there in Italy? Few, very few. And, often, they earn much more from appearances on TV, from consultations, from “marchette” in the newspapers, from conventions and more than from writers’ royalties.

2) The writer must write and that’s it

Probably, some look at “Discovering Forrester” and already they can’t wait to spend their lives drinking and watching the boys playing basketball locked up in their apartment. Seriously, with very rare exceptions, the successful writer is also a “character”. You are an introvert, you miss the easy joke, don’t you love being around people? Not bad, there is internet. But hardly your book will magically start selling thousands of copies if nobody knows who you are. And so, yes, you have to put your face on it. Or at least the keyboard.

3) Publishing a book makes you famous and esteemed

Ok, you love your book as if it were a child. Your partner and your cousin also think the same way (or, they pretend well). So, as soon as the book is published, everyone will queue for an autograph or a handshake, won’t they?

Here … it’s not really like that. It is easier for the publication of a book to bring you envy and dislikes than adoration and praise. But above all, most people will not care much. Think about it: if you never watch TV, the fact that your neighbor or your trusted baker has ended up in the Sunday In audience upsets your life? Here, indeed. People have mortgages to pay, angry leaders, unbearable mother-in-law, rowdy children, etc. etc … Your book will be the last of their thoughts, guaranteed.

4) The writer is the ultimate and supreme judge of his work

“The book is mine and I manage it!” Many jealous authors could say about every single comma of their masterpiece. But the job of the editor (of a publisher or freelancer, changes little) is not to break your boxes, but to improve your text and make you sell more: they are professionals and know what they do … well, usually . But if the author can reluctantly accept the editor’s advice, never listen to the complaints of a reader! Do you say he didn’t like the ending? It will be an idiot. Did you find it boring? Let him return to reading Totti’s jokes! Did you dare to report the presence of typos? He must be the guy I stole the snack from in second grade, who holds a grudge and wants revenge! Do you listen to those who have spent time and money on my intellectual creation and perhaps want to give me a hand? NEVER!

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