Is a Creative Writing Degree Really Worth It?

Having been a writer for sixteen years, the art of Creative Writing is something that is second nature to me at this point. I work hard on a novel for six months or even a year or two, and sometimes it’s pretty exhausting. But it’s always worth it, because at the end of the day I get to hold that big, fat manuscript.

But one thing I’ve noticed is that–despite having taken several college classes in fiction writing–none of them have helped me become a better writer. That’s because fiction writing isn’t something you can actually teach. As Stephen King once said, to be a writer you need to read a lot and you need to write a lot. So the question is, is a Creative Writing degree really worth it?

The short answer is no, but only if you want to write books professionally like Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson, or J.K. Rowling. Again, being a good writer comes from both writing and reading a lot, and no amount of sitting in class, hearing your professor blab at you is going to help you land a deal with HarperCollins.

What a Creative Writing degree can do, however, is get your foot in the door in the publishing industry. What a lot of schools do (like the University of Central Arkansas, my college) is they host writing festivals and conferences where local and regional authors come and talk about their work. Kelly Link, who has worked with Cassandra Claire and Holly Black, came to my university last semester, with a lot of useful advice.

Unfortunately, none of that will help if you can’t write worth a darn. The most useful thing a Creative Writing degree can do for you is to get you a job with a publisher or another writing-related job. The best thing you can do (if you want to land a deal with a decent publisher) is to work hard to be the best writer you can be, and study the work of those who have done it all before. That’s the best advice I can really give.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

Quick Update On Tomorrow’s Post

Hello, everyone. For tomorrow, I had originally planned to make a YouTube video on my experience with a college program in Creative Writing. Unfortunately, my speech impediment is hindering me from making the intended videos, so I’m going to be doing a blog instead. This is pretty annoying, because I had originally wanted to do some writing vlogs in addition to my blog posts, but I guess I’m just not cut out for YouTube. But know that there’ll be plenty of blog posts in the coming weeks to make up for the vlogs that I am clearly not fit to make.

Anyway, that’s it for now.

–N.L., 2017

Why I Chose to Self-Publish

In the world of publishing, there are a lot of options available to those who want to see their work in print. Some go the traditional route, and attempt to land a deal with a big New York publisher like HarperCollins or Random House. I, on the other hand, have made the really hard decision not to traditionally publish, and attempt to self-publish my novel. For those of you wondering why, let me explain.

As a writer I have been traditionally published before, but my experience was less than desirable. They were a small press, and because of this they didn’t really know what they were doing. In addition, their contract lasted five years, which was terrible seeing how the book didn’t sell very many copies to begin with. So, in a nutshell, I was forced to deal with an amateur publisher that didn’t know what they were doing for five years, with zero creative control to show for it. This is why you absolutely must research your publisher before signing any kind of contract. Period. I learned that lesson the hard way.

Another contributing factor was that my stories tend to be shorter than typical novels. This means that the only publishers that would accept my work were small presses (like the one mentioned above). Needless to say, I’m not making that mistake again. Thus, we have the option of putting it up on the Kindle and eReaders like it, along with the P.O.D. options that Amazon’s company CreateSpace provides. With their services, an ebook can be priced at $2.99 and the author gets 70% of the profits. That doesn’t happen with traditional publishing at all, which means self-publishing is a better option now than ever before.

Something else to keep in mind is that with small presses, you simply don’t get the investment from the publisher that the book needs to succeed. This means it pretty much falls on the author to market the book. But if the author is expected to do all the marketing (from Facebook to Twitter), it seems logical that the author would just publish the book themselves and take the 70% that is mentioned above, as opposed to a mere 6-12% (which is typical) that they would get from traditional publishing. It seems to me that self-publishing pays better, plus you get more direct control over how well the book does in the book publishing marketplace.

So there you have it. The truth is I could go on with even more reasons why I’m self-publishing my novel (such as marketing and the print life of the books being published), but I’ll stop there.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblong and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017

All About My Blog

The idea of writing fiction is a very interesting concept to me. All across the world, there are people who write in one of many hundreds of categories, and all of them are able to write in a way that is unique to them. Every person is different, and because of this, every writer is also different. As I embark on the journey of writing this blog, I will discuss various topics of writing, but two goals will always be at the forefront of my mind. Firstly, I want to give fellow writers advice based on things I have learned during my 16 years as a writer. And secondly, I’d like to explore topics pertaining to the life of a writer.

My name (or rather, my pen name) is Napoleon Lovecraft, and I am a writer of fantasy. As I begin this blog, I am on the last weeks of revising my high fantasy novel, Kingslayer. My interests in writing fiction range from high fantasy to space fantasy, but one thing is clear in my mind. Standalone fantasies are my focus, whether they be short stories or novels. And as I write these various stories, I will chronicle some of the things I learn as I write this blog.

This will be an unusual blog entry, since my focus will be posting two blogs a week (a regular blog post on Tuesday, plus a YouTube video on Thursday). But until my first official post, I wanted to introduce both myself and my blog to those who are interested in what I have to say.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to reblog and follow. See you guys next time.

–N.L., 2017