Tuesday, June 6, 2017

My Latest Quora Answers: Writer's Block, Self-Publishing, and the Horror That Is Donald Trump


Note: I'm still on the fence about Quora, which I joined a month or so ago. Like all social media, it's pretty nasty. I answer questions there in order to be as helpful as I can, or, in the case of political answers, to empower other sane folks, to let them know they aren't alone in an insane world.

Below are the last five questions I responded to. Most of them were about Trump and his continued evisceration of American democracy, the commonweal, common decency, and the peril he puts the entire planet in just by breathing.

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Question: How do you personally deal with writer's block?

My answerAll writers worthy of the title recognize that writer’s block is a myth. It only occurs with people who should be thinking of doing something else with their lives.
Writer’s block is a relatively new thing. It did not exist, as far as I know, before the last century. It’s a tell-tale sign of amateurism and laziness, not some malady that professionals suffer. I strongly recommend Frank Herbert’s remarks on the topic, as well as JK Rowling’s, Terry Pratchett’s, Stephen King’s, and Mercedes Lackey, who has posted about it right here on Quora.
So how do I “cope” with writer’s block? I’ve never had it, so I’ve never had to cope with it. That’s how!

Question: Is an impolitic politician like Donald Trump a refreshing novelty or a hazard?
My answer: It's amazing the level of ignorance displayed by some.
Trump does not say what he thinks. He is a sociopath and a liar who says only what he believes will get him adulation, money, women, another chance to harm others, property, another chance to molest minors, more face time on Fox News, more slobbering supporters, more opportunities to destroy civil liberties, and more opportunities to harm those he has a grudge against.
Trump is, factually, an existential threat not just to America but the entire world. All sane people capable of critical reasoning skills see this. I look forward to his impeachment and trial, not just because both will, quite literally, save the world, but because his brainless followers, who believe he’s a straight-talker, will be humiliated and, God willing, shoved back into the shadows where they belong.

Question:  I'm resource poor. Is it still advisable to self-publish since I may not be able to put much marketing behind it?
My answer: The commonly believed myth is that book promotion and marketing works. It doesn’t. I’d call it a total crap shoot, except that in craps you have better—much better—odds of winning.
One of the (gratefully) collapsed answers below states that a “bad quality” book won’t sell. That too is bunk. Fifty Shades of Grey is a multi-million seller, and it’s crap raised to the fiftieth power!
Legacy houses promote these bits of propaganda for many reasons, not the least of which is to try to convince you, the potential indie author, that self-publishing is a waste of time. It isn’t.
You as an author—self-published or published through a legacy house—need to come to grips with the simple fact that making a living as a writer is a very difficult and chancy proposition, one that will take, in all likelihood, decades to achieve, if it happens at all. Did you read that? I said decades. That’s the stone-cold reality. Anyone who says differently is selling something. Being a great writer doesn’t up your chances. Having hundreds of thousands of dollars of disposable cash lying about the place, as EL James did, does up your chances, but even then it’s still not worth a crap shoot, and I’m talkin’ hundreds of thousands of dollars. Per book.
And the right connections, as she also had.
Good luck with both.
Best self-publish, write a daily blog, be very generous with your work, talk to friends and family without selling them, and make fans organically—which is to say very, very slowly.
The best of luck to you.

Question:  How unfortunate is Trump's decision for the USA by quitting Paris Climate Agreement?
My answer: It is, to put it charitably, calamitous. It is a full-on catastrophe. And it serves, once again, as a solid pointer at Trump’s character, which is to say he has none.
We are at the precipice, folks. With Trump in office, this nation and world stand at the brink of total destruction. If you, the person reading this, find even an atom of yourself celebrating that, then do us all a favor, won’t you, and seek help immediately. You are clearly mentally and, more importantly, spiritually damaged.
Donald Trump has proven himself today to be not just an existential threat to America and the values we as Americans hold near and dear, but as a dire threat to the planet itself. We the People must impeach and imprison him as soon as possible, or take to the streets. If revolution is what is needed, then I, for one, am prepared to fight and die for my country and, more broadly, for this world.



Question: Why are so many pro-Trump questions posted anonymously?

My answer: Because cowardice and evil must hide in order to strike out. Both cannot stand the light. Both cannot stand reality, preferring lies (“alternative facts”) to truth.
Like Trump, anonymous posters blathering on in his favor are fearful, unwilling to face reality, unwilling to see the truth about their bloated Fuhrer, and unwilling to have the backbone to admit they are wrong and change their opinions and worldview. That’s what strong and brave people do.
There is absolutely nothing patriotic by being an anonymous weasel posting drivel and propaganda for an orange man-baby authoritarian who, sooner or later, is going to be impeached and very likely sent to prison for his many misdeeds.

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