Define successful author.
Y: My Amazon royalties pay the rent and buy the groceries.
What do you think the key ingredient is towards making huge sales?
Y: My fans love my books, they know how I write.
Why do they love them?
Y: *shrugs* Everybody has fantasies lol. I guess they like the ideas.
The sex you mean?
All of your books sell well yet they have many low scoring reviews, most of which complain about flat or dumb characters as well as puerile writing. Don’t you ever want to put that right?
Y: I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the writing.
Perhaps you can’t see that but some of your readers obviously can. Are you a member of any writing groups where your peers might help you improve with the flat characterisation and the immature writing?
Y: I used to be a member of xxxxxxxxxx but don’t bother now.
Why not? The site you mentioned has a good review system in place. You could make your writing better.
Y: The writing is okay as it is.
Aren’t you interested in preventing those low scoring reviews?
Y: I really don’t have time. I’ve websites to look after and books to write. Fans are always demanding the next one.
I view the art of writing for the craft that it is. I can see its beguiling depths and love nothing more than to swim in its trenches of discovery, striving always to learn and improve, understanding that there is no perfection. Does the adventure of such discovery not twist your melons?
Y: You just said there is no perfection.
That was my point. The art of writing offers infinite possibilities and with a little effort on your behalf you could take your writing from puerile to great or even magnificent. Doesn’t that appeal?
Y: I don’t have time, like I just told you. My fans love my writing. They beg for more. I don’t need to improve anything.
What about pride?
Y: Of course I’m proud. I’m selling lots of books, something I’ve always wanted to do.
I’m talking about having pride in your writing.
Y: There’s nothing wrong with the writing. Those reviews are only opinions.
You don’t respect the opinions? If someone suggests the writing to be childish or the characters dumb and flat doesn’t it make you want to do something about that?
Y: Those reviews are only opinions.
So you have no pride in your writing?
Y: I’m very proud.
Of the many sales, yes, I get that, but you have no pride in your skills of the craft, would you agree?
Y: Maybe there are things that could be made better but I don’t have time.
That being the case we can break this down to a simple conclusion. You are like a vampire, leeching off the sexual needs of your clamouring readers, disinterested in improving their reading experience.
That wasn’t meant to be funny.
Y: I’m a successful author.
You are a successful salesman, but a mediocre writer.
Y: There’s nothing wrong with the writing.
Y: People shouldn’t be allowed to leave reviews like that.
Okay, let’s talk about the mistakes.
The typos, grammatical errors, continuity errors, punctuation errors.
Y: There may be the odd one just like any in any novel.
True, however, if we take your novel xxxxxxx as an example, there are glaring errors on every page.
Y: I think you’re exaggerating.
I can email you a doc with the errors highlighted.
Y: No thanks.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers who read this interview?
Y: You can’t use my name.
Why not? You have a great many sales with clamouring fans and many five star reviews, of which you say you are proud, surely our chat would garner more sales?
Y: I don’t need the publicity.
But your success is a perfect example of why writers should not hire an editor or a proof reader. Who needs such unnecessary expense when sales can be made without editorial aid. Isn’t that what you’re saying?
Y: I guess I am, but you can’t put my name to this.
I accept that your pride lies in making great sales, and I accept your conviction lies in churning out the next book, but shouldn’t you have the courage of your convictions?
Y: I don’t churn them out. I write for hours into the night, every day.
How long did xxxxxxxx take you to write?
Y: About eight weeks then another two editing.
Y: of course.
Eight weeks for a full draft is mighty quick… I do think that could be classed as churning.
Y: Your opinion.
You didn’t answer my earlier question… What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Y: Just write and get your books out there.
What about employing an editor or a proof reader?
Y: That’s personal preference.
I’d suggest it’s down to whether or not you have pride in your skills as a writer. If you want your writing to stand out, want to keep those review scores high, want to hold your head high, then you should attempt to bring some quality to your work.
Y: I am proud.
But you won’t hold your head high?
Y: I do. My family are proud of my success.
If you are proud enough to hold your head high then I can assume it’s okay to use your real name?
Y: No, you may not use my name.
Then I guess I can’t link to your books?
Pick a letter.
Thank you for your time.
There it is, folks. You don’t necessarily need an editor.
Simply determine where your pride lies and go from there.