On Little Gods

I’ve been thinking a lot about control. As a writer, you sculpt a world from scratch, populate it with people, with stories, and control them all. From the geography to the folklore, the smallest details to the largest plots. It’s in your hands.

In that sense, as a writer, you become a ‘little god’.

But in publishing–that business side of the art, your control dissolves.

You don’t control whether the book sells.

You don’t control the marketing budget if he does.

You don’t control the publisher’s investment.

You don’t control your place in-house.

You don’t control the sales plan.

You don’t control the cover art.

You don’t control the jacket copy.

You don’t control how the book is portrayed, publicized, given, sold to the world.

You don’t control anything.

Or at least, it can feel that way.

Because, of course, you still control one thing.

The words.

The content between the front cover and the back.

In the cyclone of publishing, it’s easy to forget how important that is. Easy to feel like the words don’t matter as much as a six-figure marketing campaign, a national tour, a lead title push.

They can feel like big gods.

It can be terrifying, if you let it.

(Sometimes I let it.)

But it can also be freeing, if you let it.

(I try.)

Because marketing is fickle. Publishers are fickle. The industry is fickle. And in that cyclone, the solid ground–the only patch of solid ground–is the story you want to tell. Your words on the page.

Yes, marketing matters.

Yes, a good cover helps.

Yes, you’re fighting an uphill battle to be seen, to be heard, to be read.

But.

The single greatest thing you can do–the only thing you can do–is write.

The big gods will throw around money and mountains, but the little gods with their delicate sculptures, those are the ones that matter. Those are the ones that last.

So go.

Pick up your pen.

Tune out the noise.

Focus on the thing in your control.

And write.

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13 thoughts on “On Little Gods

  1. Reblogged this on Further Annotations and commented:
    [It’s good to remember that those big gods would be nothing without little gods. They’d have no Olympus without them–just empty thrones. In some ways, I’d prefer Olympus to fall…]

  2. Thanks for this V, and just so you know, we love your delicate little sculptures. 🙂

  3. neverlannd93 says:

    Suffering some writer self-doubt today and I needed this. Thank you x

  4. akuivalainen says:

    Reblogged this on The Firebird Fairytales and commented:
    Great words of advice that it’s important to hear. I’m in the process of getting together the third Firebird Fairytales and even though I do have control over covers I don’t have control over much else when it comes to how well the marketing goes (no matter how much copy I write) it’s all thrown to the wind and the randomness of Fate and the Strange Elder Gods of Publishing.

  5. awesome read, focusing on whats within my control

  6. Kevin says:

    Even with self-publishing, much of this is true. Once you put something out into the world, you lose a lot of control over what happens next—whether or not anyone reads it, who reads it, how they respond, whether or not they like it enough to buy a copy, and so on. It all comes back to the words.

  7. naomineiel says:

    wow I loved this ❤️ I’m actually new to here, do you have any tips? or mind checking out my blog

  8. cynrtst says:

    I know you won’t get lost but while you’re writing screenplays don’t forget about the third book!! Kell and Lila are waiting!

    Thank you.

  9. Mr. X says:

    Wow, how true and deeply poetic this is. Very nice post! Riveting, to say the least. It definitely feels like an uphill battle but the words are the everlasting part. They’re our small imprint in this large world of literature.

  10. Writing comes easily to me but the grammar and spelling are my biggest challenges. Is it true that the more I write the more I will be able to correct or prevent these mistakes?

  11. Darkling says:

    This is why V is, in my opinion, a queen.

  12. book writers says:

    Yes! Finally something about vanity press kit.

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