1. Johnattan Goodboy
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    Johnattan Goodboy Member

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    What matters most to you as a writer...good reviews or commercial success?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Johnattan Goodboy, Sep 23, 2016.

    Please dont say both...I know in an ideal world both options would be perfect...
    The whole point in this is to pick one option over the other and explain why...
    These type of threads may be random but i get a kick out of them :DDD
     
  2. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    'Writing contests' isn't the right sub-forum for this so I've moved it.

    For me, it depends on the extent of commercial success and the extent of bad reviews.

    I'd rather sell 10,000 and have a few bad reviews than sell 100 and have all great reviews.
    But I'd rather have 100 sales and all great reviews than 10,000 and all bad reviews.
    If I sold 1,000,000 and got trashed by reviewers I'm sure I could wipe my tears with a few bank notes and cheer up fairly swiftly.

    In the most likely scenario--average sales and average reviews--sales would be more important to me, because that will be a greater influence on whether I get further book deals or not.
     
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  3. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wasn't going to. My answer is neither.
     
  4. AASmith
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    AASmith Contributing Member

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    Sounds sellout-ish, but first my first book commercial success. My dream is to be a full time writer and commercial success would allow me to do that and improve with book two.
     
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  5. Kara Gatsby
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    Kara Gatsby Member

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    I really want to say good reviews are more important . . .

    . . . but it would be nice to recoup my costs. I've been working on my historical fiction novel for several years, and a lot of times that meant not taking on paying gigs, plus everything spent on research (subscriptions, buying other books, etc). Otherwise, I'd say reviews.
     
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  6. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    It always means a lot to me when people genuinely like my writing.
     
  7. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Commercial success. Reviews are just a tool - lots of people will like a book and never review it, lots of people will hate a book and never review it. They help lead to commercial success, but other than that I don't really care about them.
     
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  8. NoGoodNobu
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    NoGoodNobu Senior Member

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    I don't have any plans to be published, so at the moment I just want my readers to enjoy my work. That's when I'm most satisfied.

    I've always been the type where I work hard at exhaustive work to pay the bills, and do creative & artsy things in my off time for sheerly my enjoyment and others' entertainment.

    So I'm sure that would mean, should I ever feel inclined to be published, good reviews I suppose? I would be satisfied if my audience enjoyed it, regardless of monetary gain or literary acclaim (although I will never snub my nose at either, if they were offered me).
     
  9. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    Commercial success. Reviews are great; money pays bills and allows me to provide for my family.
     
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  10. cydney
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    cydney Banned

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    I'd rather have the money. :)
     
  11. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Well it is simple really if you have been paying attention to what is trending.

    1. Write a pile of dog shit (sorry to Fantasy writers but it seems to be your genres that seems to get the most attention in this case lately)
    2. Be just not dog shit enough to gain a "cult following", with bland characters+bland romance.
    3. (I really don't know?)
    4. Bath in all the cash for being a tacky tasteless author.

    Damn it, I would fit this if I had only written an Urban Fantasy novel.
    On the other hand I am part way there, as most find my writing dog shit when it comes to grammar.
    Perhaps I can be the worst Sci-Fi dog shit author, and be just as good as Twilight.
    Wait no, no, no. My characters are too well written to be that bad.

    Spare a five for a poor lad? :supercute:
     
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  12. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Commercial success all the way. I don't have to think about it even for a second.
     
  13. Wolf Daemon
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    Wolf Daemon Active Member

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    I just want people to enjoy my stories. Nothing else really matters to me.
     
  14. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Well passion seems to be in the minority. How interesting...:superthink:
     
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  15. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    But the question wasn't asking if we would rather be passionate about writing or have commercial success.

    OP asked if we'd prefer good reviews or commercial success. Compliments don't pay bills.
     
  16. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    True but I think you're missing the point.
    One would rather be rich, than produce something that they can be proud of that is worth praise.
    Been a long time since I have read anything in the contemporary that is even remotely noteworthy.
     
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  17. Spencer1990
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    Spencer1990 Contributing Member

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    You're damn right I'd rather be well off than have acclaim and fall into obscurity. And I'd rather be proud that I was able to send my kids to good schools and provide for them than being proud of the nice things people said on the internet.

    "But look at this book I wrote, kids! Look at all the nice things these people said!"
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2016
  18. Shnette
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    Shnette Member

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    Unfortunately, reviews are forgettable. Success isn't, so I'll take the latter. Then go on DWTS.
     
  19. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Commercial Success

    (*laughs hysterically*)
     
  20. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I'm in the fortunate position of being retired and not needing income from books. If I was not in this position, and trying to earn a living by writing instead, this question would be more difficult to answer honestly. (Especially as good reviews often lead to commercial success. The two are often linked.)

    The OP's question doesn't quite cover the topic for me. It's making the assumption that at least one of these two choices 'matters' to me as a writer. My version of the question would be "Are you writing specifically to achieve commercial success and/or good reviews? If so, which of these two is more important to you?"

    Would you willingly make any changes an agent or publisher tells you to make, in order to make your book more 'saleable?' Would you happily churn out more work 'to order,' and aim it at a specific buying public? Would you write within a specific genre and be willing to accept all the requirements for that genre?

    Me? I would love commercial success and good reviews, and to hear from people who really like my stories—but I don't want to feel pressured to write somebody else's idea of what a book should be. Creating what I would want to read is what matters most to me, as a writer.

    I'm with @OurJud on this issue. Neither matters to me, if it means I have to change what I write about and/or the way I choose to write it. I'll happily make changes that I feel improve the writing and the story, but not in order to pander to the public's current version of 'taste.'
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2016
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  21. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're assuming there's a connection between "produce something that they can be proud of" and good reviews.

    Remember all those books "in the contemporary" that you've read and not cared for? Unless you've been deliberately seeking out unpopular works, I bet some of the stuff you read got good reviews. And we've all heard the stories of books that are currently considered great that weren't well-received by the critics of their day.

    Both money and good reviews are arbitrary, inaccurate measures of an author's ability to reach his or her goals. Only one of the arbitrary, inaccurate measures can be exchanged for goods and services. So it's the one I prefer.
     
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  22. OurJud
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    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

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    Surely all that matters is that: A, you've proved to yourself you can write and polish a novel (even if it's the proverbial turd you're polishing). And B, that you've done so to the best of your ability? Nothing else matters, does it?

    Someone once said, 'If what drives your writing is fame and fortune, you're doing it for the wrong reasons.'

    I can get on board with that logic.
     
  23. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    That assumes I need other people's approval to be proud of what I've done; I don't. I'm writing books that I'm proud of, and the fact that some people don't like them doesn't make me any less proud.
     
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  24. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    Writing has always been more of an intellectual pursuit for me. Becoming a commercial success on the back of something utterly trivial and mindless is likely to turn me into a crazed recluse living in her castle full of cats. (at this stage I'm not far off; all I need is the castle and the plural of cat)

    My dream has been to contribute something to society of lasting literary significance. If financial stability results from that I'd be thrilled, sure, but I prefer someone discover my book and have it make a lasting impression on them than have someone pay for my book only to have it sit on their shelf taking up space. But my priorities are my own.
     
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  25. Safety Turtle
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    Safety Turtle Senior Member

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    I would go with success...mainly because I've never cared about reviews.

    Generally I just like telling stories and want a bunch of people to read them...and making money off of it ain't bad either ^^
     

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