What kind of writing pays off the most

Myths about writing

"Writers get rich."
The truth is, most writers can't even make a bargain living from writing. Various studies repeatedly show that half of all published authors earn less than € 3,000 per year (!), And it is estimated that fewer than 100 authors in Germany can make a living from writing alone. Germany, together with Austria and German-speaking Switzerland, is the third largest book market in the world; in smaller linguistic areas it looks even more bleak.
If you want to get rich, you'd better start a company than write. You can only become really rich (richer than the much-envied top managers) only as a - successful - entrepreneur.

"Writers get famous."
The truth is that even bestselling authors are only so-called "C-celebrities" in the jargon of the media: only worth reporting if you have to fill free space - at best, the death of the author is news. There are exceptions (Nobel Prize winners and a few particularly scandalous authors or particularly good-looking authorsInside), but the normal author hardly appears in the media. And he is not recognized on the street either.
If you want to become famous, you'd better watch TV than write.

"Writers lead exciting lives."
The truth is: writers introduce first and foremost lonelyLife. You spend most of your time alone in a quiet room, writing. And when you are with others, what you have written can continue to work in you in such a way that you are not really there and get strange looks.
If you want to lead an exciting life, you'd better do something else than write. Almost no matter what.

"Who writes stays."
The truth is that most of the new releases are close to flashing in the pan. A paperback that doesn't sell well right from the start often disappears from the shelves after two or three months, a hardcover gets half a year. There are still a lot of former bestselling authors, of whom not a single book is available anymore. The number of works that are still read after a hundred years is small. (Though they exist. Even some Roman authors - Seneca, Flavius, and so on - are still selling well today, after two thousand years.)

"Having written poetry is a testament to your talent as a writer."
The truth is that almost everyone at some point in their life has a phase in which they try their hand at poetry - mostly at a young age, when either violent infatuation or dark world pain dominates the feeling of existence. The vast majority of these works are hidden and eventually thrown away, and usually not to the detriment of literature.
So far that would be fine if publishers and fairly well-known authors were not constantly bombarded with poems by people who consider themselves to be misunderstood geniuses. Sandra Uschtrin once rightly pointed out that poetry would be the most important market for fiction, if any of the poems write, also poems read. But since a volume of poetry has never been seen in German bestseller lists, one can assume that there is a lot of self-deception involved when writing poems: In other words, most of the people who write poetry do it because they are done so quickly and they do it looks simple - put a few dark words together, done. But without really dealing with the works of others - a bookcase full of volumes of poetry, from Goethe and Heine to Kirsch and Rühmkorf, and hundreds of poems that can be recited by heart - this is at best a kind of diary with other means.

"You have to write something highly literary, everything else is worthless."
The truth is that you can only do that writecan do what you can read. And it would be wise not to lie in your pocket here: When the shelves under crime novels in the bedroom, basement and hallway bend, then the three little books that you have bought and bought over the last five years on the basis of anthemic reviews in the features section count has still not fully read draped on the coffee table, simply not: Then you should, if you have, devote yourself to writing crime novels. Or whatever it is that one reallylikes to read. Because only for this one was able to develop the necessary feeling in the course of his reading years.
There are some really great books and lots of crap in every genre - and that goes for so-called "high literature" too.

"There are secret tricks in writing."
The truth is: nowhere is everything so evident as in a written text. It is simply made up of words strung together, and all that it makes for effect is due to the choice and order of those words. There is nothing behind it, nothing hidden. The only art of the author is to choose the words and to arrange them in such a way that they have exactly the effect they are intended to have on the reader.

"You can only write if you are inspired."
The truth is rather the other way round: you are only inspired if you also write. Whereby it is quite the case that an inspiration (one can also simply say: an idea) is at the beginning. An idea for a story and the desire to write it down. But the fact is that the distance between this moment and the finished manuscript is not always just a walk, but quite often also quite a lot job. And that you need a lot, a lot of additional ideas in addition to the original idea - and they don't come from waiting, but from writing.

"When you've finished writing the novel, it's best to send it to a publisher as soon as possible."
Better not. Because that's just the first draft, and "the first draft is always crap," says even Hemingway, whose first drafts were undoubtedly better than much of what makes it into print these days. No, better, you put the manuscript aside for a while, think of something else, "forget" it. Then - at least six weeks later, or even better after three months - you pull it out again and first read through what you have written. Most of the time you are really happy that you haven't shown this to anyone yet. You paint everything that can't stay that way, the revised text. Then you look for people from your environment whose literary judgment you give something to (if you don't find what you are looking for in your environment, you should expand this to include a corresponding group, as there are almost everywhere at adult education centers and the like) to read this and listen carefully and without attempting to justify it (because later as an author you will not be there when a reader reads your own book, and you will not be able to intervene to explain it - i.e. everything has to be exactly as it is you meant it!) at what they say, it lets it affect you for a long time and revises the text in the light of this. And maybe a few more times - until you can honestly say: I can't do better at the moment.
Only then should one consider offering the manuscript to publishers (or agents).

"When a publisher is looking for authors, it places appropriate advertisements."
It is true that publishers are looking for new, promising authors - but they can (rightly) rely on promising authors (who are also readers) known enough to offer them their manuscripts. Behind all the advertisements that say, "Publisher is looking for authors", there are so-called printing subsidy publishers who offer you to print the book - if you pay for it.
That is not fundamentally dubious. Anyone who is obliged to print their diploma or doctoral thesis, for example, will have to use the services of such companies. Some also just want to hold their book in print in their hands and give it away to friends and have the necessary money for it - autobiographies are common here, volumes of poetry or the like. (It should be noted that for those who are good at using the Internet and computers, there are now inexpensive alternatives at www.bod.de, www.lulu.com and others.)
It becomes dubious when such companies try to convince hopeful authors that they can take the first steps in a successful writing career in this way. The opposite is the case: a book that has once been self-published (because it is self-published here) can practically no longer be accommodated by real publishers.

"If you want to publish a book, you have to pay for it first."
This is a legend that the dubious printing subsidy "publishers" just mentioned never tire of spreading. The truth is the exact opposite of that: In fact, the word "publisher" comes from the word "submit", meaning "advance, pre-finance". The publisher has always been the one who advances the costs of printing and distributing a book, i.e. who bears the financial risk. For this purpose, he and the author share the profit in a certain, contractually agreed ratio.
It is strongly recommended that an author who wants to publish a book first familiarizes himself with the rules of the game in the industry.

Note: The articles on this website are the intellectual property of Andreas Eschbach and may not be reproduced, copied, edited, published or reproduced on other websites without prior express permission. This does not apply to quotations to the extent permitted by copyright law and copies for personal use, e.g. on your own hard drive.