Monday, December 19, 2011

Todays Guest Post by Author Richard Buzzell

Why Sports Are Better Than Literature 

Sports are better than literature as a career choice because sports will give you a fighting chance. Both of these fields of endeavor require some level of talent, so they’re the same in that respect. Both of them require an extensive investment in the process of developing the necessary skill to succeed at a high level. No difference there. Both of them provide an attractive level of reward for those who rise to the top. Both of them allow you to become a drunken sot after you’re washed up and nobody cares about you anymore. So what’s the big difference?

Competition. In sports you have to compete against those who are your approximate age-mates. In literature you have to compete against every writer who’s ever lived. In sports you don’t have to compete against old people. In literature you have to compete against dead people, and some of them make for formidable opponents.

This critical difference goes a long way toward explaining why sports are so devoted to developing new talent while literature seems to be the opposite. All sports have an elaborate system for identifying and cultivating new talent from a very young age. There are endless opportunities to showcase one’s abilities and move up to higher levels. Aspiring writers have to get by with much less support.

If a new writer does manage to persevere in spite of societal indifference they will inevitably encounter the obstacle of the publishing industry. Here the reality of the marketing profile will become evident and it goes something like this: famous people only need apply. Faced with the prohibitive costs of marketing new writers, the publishing industry has turned to celebrities to shoulder the marketing burden.

The most egregious example of the celebrity author has to be “Snooki” the semi-literate star of MTV’s reality show Jersey Shore. She was welcomed with open arms by a major publisher and did a tour of television talk shows in support of her literary offering. Unfortunately she’s not alone. The fact is that media exposure has become the primary qualification for getting into the wordsmithing business.

Aspiring writers need to recognize this new reality and devote themselves to enhancing their public profiles. My suggestion is to get arrested for stalking a celebrity bimbo. Try camping outside of Lilo’s house and when the paparazzi start snapping photos of her, run in front of the cameras, douse yourself with gasoline, and set yourself on fire. This will certainly get you in the news and then you’ll be on your way to publishing success. Of course this isn’t the only option. You could find a cure for cancer, resolve the climate-change problem, or bail out the euro, but the celebrity bimbo route is probably the most realistic one.

Jack Kerouac’s first amateurish attempt at a novel has recently been released, demonstrating once again that famous writers don’t even need a pulse to be more attractive to publishers than new writers are.

So for any aspiring authors out there wondering how to best improve your writing skills I say, don’t worry about it. Your words won’t have any effect on your success. Start thinking about outlandish but not offensive stunts that you can pull to get yourself some media attention. That’s how to endear yourself to your future readers.

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