Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Quality?

Since I've been taking my own blog a bit more seriously, I've tried to keep pace with a few other blogs too, primary those of my friends on Myspace (sorry I don't always comment guys, but I do read) and on SOL. Obviously, the myspace blogs are the more entertaining. Mat's pictorials are a joy to behold and Sommer comes across as being just scatty enough to be funny but not so much that you pity her (a tough balance, for sure. But she pulls it off. Sommer, you rock).

The blogs on SOL tend to be a bit more 'serious' (I can't think of a better way to put it). They can be dry statements of which story has been submitted or response to feedback received. There are some which are more entertaining. I look forwards to reading RealLifeDragon's thoughts each week. But here's something I've noticed—there are a lot of SOL blogs in which the author apologizes for slow output or for not posting this chapter or that story. I have to say, this baffles me. And it begs the question, are the readers at SOL really more interested in quantity over quality?

Let's deal with the first issue—should writers apologize for slow output? To be honest, I think this is just a stupid question. Unless the writer in question is unemployed/retired and writing for SOL is all they do then why should they apologize for neglecting their hobby when something else in their life takes precedence. And I'm talking about actual apologies here, which include words like "I'm sorry". I'm sorry for not posting a new story/chapter every day this week or I have to apologize but my wife/kid/dog was taken ill and I haven't written as much... or (and these are my favourite) I'm very sorry but my new story needs some editing and I haven't posted it yet. In that last one the writer is actually saying sorry for wanting to make his story better before posting it. Crazy—but I've seen blog entires like this.

It's one thing to explain why a story has been delayed (I didn't finished this story because my wife ran off with my neighbour and left me to look after the kids by myself. What can i say—Shit happens), but it's another altogether to start saying sorry for it. Remember, none of the authors on SOL have been paid for the stories they've posted there. I'd say sorry to my boss for not having done a report because he pays me, but that's something totally different, isn't it? Author's daily activities that bring in a wage to pay the bills must take precedence over the hobby that is SOL. And that's all it is. A hobby. Looking after your family, must take precedence over your hobby too.

Now let's look at the second issue. Are SOL readers really more concerned about quality than quantity? I guess you could say the same thing for the consumers of many things, from Hollywood movies to fruit and veg. I tend to think of SOL as the 'Tesco' of the online erotica marketplace. Vast amount of choice, including the "value" range, which wouldn't feed to your dog let alone your kids, to the "Finest" range which is the best they have to offer. Of course, "Tesco Finest" doesn't come close to the quality you'd get from a small independent producer (for which you pay through the nose) but it's still pretty good.

I'd like to think that the cream will always rise to the crop at SOL, but this isn't unfortunately the case. As I've said before, I've read cracking good stories on SOL that have had low scores and downloads, and then been to the top download/score tables and read some stories that more selective publishers would turn their noses up at. It's true that, in some cases, authors build up a fan base and get consistently high downloads/scores by posting a vast amount of work over a short period of time. They can then slow down and people will look out for their new stories because they are a 'name' - even though their work lacks the finesse, variety or style of some other work. It's also true that some authors have tried the same thing and don't get the high scores or the high downloads because their work reflects that they themselves value quantity over quality.

So what about me? Do I prefer quantity or quality. I'm guessing that you already know the answer. I mean, it's a no-brainer, isn't it?. I'm a quality guy. I haven't always been, but I am now. I take time and care over what I write, which is why it might take me several weeks, or even several months to knock out a long story. It's also why I would not start posting a story until it's finished. I couldn't handle the pressure to post the next chapter when it hasn't been written yet. I tried that with 'College by the Sea' and failed because I wanted to keep the quality high. In the end the readership got tired of waiting and dropped off. I'm not saying I'm the greatest writer out there, far from it, but I do have pride in what I do and couldn't bring myself to let something loose on the world if it isn't as good as I think it could possibly be. (Blog entires excepted, I don't take half the time over them that I should)

I enjoy writing. It's a useful distraction from the real world. So why would I add to my already pressured life by placing unrealistic targets on my postings? It would be madness, wouldn't it?

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