It seems everyone has been using the quote “Content is King” the last several years. I believe the phrase is a truism, though I also believe in the power of advertising, marketing, promotion and good old-fashioned manipulation.
But a few days ago I downloaded the Kindle free sample of Skeleton Crew by Stephen King. I read it in college, but John reminded me of a short story that I’d like to read again, “Word Processor of the Gods,” and I wanted to see if it was part of the sample. It wasn’t (so I’ll have to go check the book out of the library), but…
Oh. My. Gosh.
Talk about the “King” of content! While reading the first several pages of his short story “The Mist,” I stopped time and again and thought, “Wow! That’s how he does that!” Stephen King’s writing evokes emotion like few other writers I’ve read.
Life has been a little crazy around here, and it’s not calming down. I often feel like there is no time for reading for pleasure. But I read for at least a few minutes every night. The last several nights, it’s been “The Mist.” It’s made me realize again the huge difference between reading whatever book is at hand, and reading seriously well-written books whose quality I want to emulate.
As much work as I have as a self-publishing author, my biggest job will always be writing high quality books that people will want to read. Kristen Lamb has some great blog posts on craft and improving your content, as do Bob Mayer and Jen Talty. Check out their blogs if you haven’t already.
But I postulate that if you want to be a brilliant writer, you need to have a strong reading routine in addition to your writing routine. Not just any books, either. Read the best of the kind of work you’d like to create. In my case, the best commercial fiction.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go read a story that is much better than anything I’ve ever written. Yet.