My opinion of this went downwards as I’m currently listening to Stephen King’s On Writing, a vastly superior work. You might think there are huge differences between these works in terms of content, but to be honest, there aren’t. Books on writing are books on writing, and no matter how many platforms there are to get your writing out there, and ultimately it’s your work that’s the focus of the marketing, so producing your work should be your main focus.
My downgrade is probably partly to do with the general ego of the work. Even having a British narrator didn’t quell the overblown self-importance I got from it–actually, it made it more annoying, because British people who come across like that are almost automatically frowned upon–and this irritation hasn’t left me. I am also very sure it’s because the UK and US have very different ideas of what’s palatable in self-aggrandisement. I wasn’t sure that I’d heard of these authors before, but recalled I did try and listen to Yesterday’s Gone Ep 1 a long time before I listened to this (as they mentioned it and all their other work), but found it wasn’t really for me. But then, I’ve tried King’s books too, and not all of them are for me, so it shouldn’t have made much difference in how I received this work, because successful people, and there is no doubt they are, have at least some advice that can be helpful to any aspiring or upcoming author. Most of the useful insights were to do with mindset for me, but the ways they stay on task, or spend time writing are massively different for me (before and after they managed to go fully self-employed), because their lives are different, as are the lives of every other writer. How and when to produce work, and a lot of it, has no ideal, it is all dictated by your lifestyle.
The issue, however, is the emphasis put on platforms. They say themselves that some of the information will be out of date in the coming years after it’s published. They’re right. And the reason for this is because they’re not talking about writing advice, they’re talking about marketing. A massive amount of time is spent on focusing on marketing/distribution platforms rather than production, and this is where the book fails. In 5 years I estimate it will bear almost no interest for new writers because of this, because, unless I’m mistaken, nobody wants to read a 100,000 word book on self-publishing that has little writing advice, mass self-promotion and outdated marketing advice. That is the very opposite of longevity and therefore cannot create success–the title is defunct.
The reason King’s book is superior–and I’ve almost finished it so have a very good basis for comparison–is that everything he says in terms of advice is related to the craft, the very essence of your work, without which marketing and distribution is moot. The biographical part isn’t an “Oh look how much I’ve had to live through to get where I am!!” whine (which was how I took the bios in this book), it’s the story of a normal family, a great marriage, and a well deserved ending to following a dream.
It also shows that, an 18-year old book can still lend inspiration, advice and the occasional cane-on-the-back-of-the-hand to your work and editing. King may have been published in a very different era to today, but if you look at today’s book world, it’s mainly fluff. It’s so easy now to format with programs like Vellum, load a book onto multiple platforms like Kindle and Kobo, and connect with other writers and readers on Goodreads, that the time spent searching about for a publisher is eradicated (unless you want one). The time left you should be WRITING. And you should be writing with the very simplistic ideals that King explains, not worrying when you put your first word to a page exactly how you’re going to market the bastard.
To be honest, I don’t think Write. Publish. Repeat annoyed me as much when I listened to it, until I listened to On Writing. And I’m sure some of you may think, “well King is the most famous non-dead writer in fiction, right? His is going to be superior.” Why? Like I said, I’m not a massive King reader (I have read three of his books, and one I really didn’t like), though I am very familiar with his stories because of the films that’ve been made (is there an 80s child who doesn’t like Stand by Me?). Surely a good book on writing by successful authors is going to offer you something in the way of entertainment, timeless advice and a worthwhile use of your time, regardless of how huge those names are? Yes. Do I think this did? Not really. There were good points, and it may be useful for a stark beginner sitting down for the first time and looking to understand the market (of 2013). There are better places to go, like Joanna Penn’s podcasts, which are massively helpful for very specific things like the audiobook market, and current. And free. Indies are on tight budgets, right?