My research on the subject is by no means scientific, but my observations indicate that most authors aren’t interested in learning how to write, just in getting whatever they’ve written published. I base that statement on the fact that I get far more traffic and comments from people looking for information about getting published than the people who are looking for ways to improve their own writing. I have naïvely hoped that by posting about writing I would be able to spur some discussion about writing. I thought maybe someone would disagree with me on a few things and it would get interesting, but that has not been the case. What I have found, however, is that people are very interested in posts I’ve written about the details of getting published.
Let’s face it folks, getting published is easy and cheap. With a little knowhow, you can get anything you want published in book form and available for sale around the world within a few days. But convincing other people that they want to stand behind your book is a different story. While there’s more to it than just having a good story, the main reason people will stand behind a book is because they like what it says. Many authors are focusing so much attention on doing everything right, from obeying the rules of writing to wording the query letter correctly. There are even agents out there who dedicate a lot of time critiquing query letters. I think those agents should get over themselves, but it just goes to show how much importance has been placed on the stuff that isn’t really that important.
I don’t know that I can say anything that will change people’s attitude, but it seems to me that the relatively small number of people who are actually students of writing is a good thing. While everyone is just sending out the same old trash, these people are gradually improving their work. They may not start out as great writers, but over time they will become great writers. We look at the many thousands of people who hope to be traditionally published and we wonder if we have any hope, but the vast majority of those authors are no good and they will always be no good. But the people who work to improve have a much better chance.