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Journal Thrive

Why Infinite is the Enemy of Great

Several of my books are stand-alone volumes, but design. I said what I wanted to say. It’s out of my system, there’s nothing else that I need to explore, I’m done. I recognize that when one of those books becomes popular, there is a culture urge to exploit it and expand upon it. Fans want sequels. Business sense says create them and grab that cash. There’s more to it than that. Infinite is the enemy of great, a lot of the time.

Not everything needs to be a trilogy, or a franchise, or six seasons and a movie. Sometimes creative works are best when they stand alone. The expectation of endless more is the result of this consumer society. If people want it, they should get it, and that’s a good enough reason. If money can be made off of it, then the company has a duty to do it. Madness.

Ugh.

You can see it in the entitlement of fandom. Star Wars fans who demand that the last three films be remade to suit their tastes, because they are financially and emotionally invested in the IP. Harry Potter fans who feel that they, not J.K. Rowling, no own that universe because they love it so, in order to separate the books, films, and merch from their transphobic creator. Dungeons & Dragons fans who hate the racist, misogynistic, and colonialist legacy of the game and its creators, so they feel it should be changed and the problems erased because damn it, they still want to play but not feel guilty about it.

We often ruin things by piling onto them. Opportunities for new things are lost when we continue to invest in more of the old, familiar things. We need to stop. Let things find their level. Allow things to be what they are, as long as they are. Let creators make the things they want to make, the way they want to make them. Put the emphasis back on quality, rather than quantity.

Why Infinite is the Enemy of Great

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Journal Thrive

What Happens When You Refuse to Be Typecast

One of the few things that Katie brought with her from the United States is a small Georgia O’Keeffe print. She bought it on a trip to the Georgia O’Keeffe museum in Santa Fe, and it now hangs in our living room. It is not a painting of a giant flower. For me, it’s come to symbolize the creative needs of the creator, and the need to refuse to be typecast by your audience. Allow me to explain.

On that trip (as Katie tells it, I was not there), another woman was loudly complaining. There were, in her assessment, not enough Georgia O’Keeffe paintings in the Georgia O’Keeffe museum. The fact is that all of the work displayed there is hers. It covers her entire career. What the woman meant was that it wasn’t all flower paintings, because that’s what she’d come there to see.

This is the equivalent of going to see a band in concert, and complaining that they’re playing deep cuts and stuff off of their new album. They want a set list that’s just a rundown of the greatest hits collection. To which I say, ugh.

Recently I had an encounter with someone who was exasperated that I write and publish a variety of things. They expressed a wish that I’d focus on one thing, the thing that they personally like best, and stick with that. I get it. There have been times when I’ve been the woman in the O’Keeffe museum, or the casual-fan concertgoer.

Take a Deep Breath, Berin

I explained there are creative and economic realities to be considered. Let’s start with the financial side of things. I do not have a wildly popular hit. There is no one thing that brings in the bulk of my income. If there were, I might concentrate on that cash cow. The reality of this business, though, is that you need to diversify to earn a living. So I write many things for many tastes, which gives me a broad enough back catalog that I can survive on long-tail sales.

Even if I did have a runaway hit, though, I’d need to do other things. There would be a point where it would become forced, creatively bankrupt, and not fulfilling. Think of that TV series that went on too long. You know what I’m talking about. To keep things fresh, I need to be able to play with different ideas and express myself in different ways.

I have more ideas down this path. Stay tuned.

What Happens When You Refuse to Be Typecast

If you enjoy my posts (maybe not this one, because, you know), you can buy me a coffee. Consider subscribing below, so you can read my daily ramblings about the writer’s life, minimalist, being a spoonie, and the intersection of all of those things.

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Create Journal Thrive

Should You Promote Your Writing on Instagram?

Yes, I boycott despise Facebook but I have an Instagram account. Add that to the ethical struggles I deal with on the daily. I reopened my business Twitter recently, too. There is a point where economic reality forces you to make compromises. Should you promote your writing on Instagram? Too many people have touted the benefits of doing it, so I’m looking into it. You can find me there as DancingLightsPress.

At first it made no sense to me. What I’m going to post, cover shots? Isn’t Instagram at its very core a platform for people who look at pictures but don’t read? Yes and know. My wife Katie has had a lot of success using Instagram, and she writes novels in her posts. Granted, she is a visual artist and posts photos of her work. It’s slightly different.

But she gets a lot of engagement. People read her blurbs and comment on them. She has discussions with her followers and fans. It draws a lot of traffic to her blog and online shop. I can’t argue with results. Now I simply need to figure out what sort of content to put there. What do you think?

Should You Promote Your Writing on Instagram?

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.

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Create Journal Thrive

Why I’m Focusing on Copywriting Skills

Knowing the problem you’re solving for is becoming a running theme in my life. It comes up often as I’m helping my wife Katie get her business set up. When consulting with creators and small business owners, it’s one of the first questions I ask. At the moment I’m applying it to various aspects of my own writing and publishing career. That’s why I’m currently working on my copywriting skills.

For me, writing is a business. The problem I’m solving for is paying the rent, covering the bills, and hopefully building up some savings for a rainy day. You might want to win an award, or get plaudits from notable critics, or just be seen as a “legitimate” creator. I am not, as I must repeat daily, unconcerned with quality. To make a living, though, I need to be able to work quickly and economically.

My goal with copywriting is to sell more copies of my books. New releases, my backlist, all of it. Better copy, whether it’s on a product page, a newsletter, or a blog post, can help move more units. Better sales means I might be able to slow down a little bit. Which would address perceptions; releasing fewer books, further apart in time, will lead some people to believe that they are better because they took longer. Seriously.

Why I’m Focusing on Copywriting Skills

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Create Journal Thrive

Is There a Correlation Between Speed and Quality?

For the hundredth time, my name is Berin and I am a hack writer. I write for money, and to make a living I must generate a lot of content quickly. This does not mean that I am unconcerned with quality. Nor does it mean that my work is not good. There is no correlation between speed and quality.

Some people have a misconception that it takes years to write a good book. Not months. Not weeks. Certainly not days. These are largely the same sorts of people who still believe that creators must suffer for their art. That choosing to be a creator is an inevitable descent into poverty and despair.

Yeah, tell that to bestselling and beloved author Nora Roberts. In 2019 she released 5 new novels. Ray Bradbury is said to have written Fahrenheit 451 in 18 days — 9 for the original novella, ‘The Fireman’, and another 9 to expand it to novel length. Belgian author Georges Simenon, who wrote the Jules Maigret novels, reportedly took less than two weeks to complete each book. Most of Philip K. Dick’s novels each took about a week to write.

Meanwhile, fans continue to wait for the next installment of A Song of Ice and Fire from George R. R. Martin. Whether that extra time makes them better novels is entirely up for debate. I’ve venture to guess that expectations increase the longer the delay, so many people will ultimately be disappointed.

Correlation Between Speed and Quality

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About Berin Kinsman

Berin Kinsman is a writer, game designer, and owner/publisher at Dancing Lights Press. An American by accident of birth, he currently lives in Finland with his wife, artist Katie Kinsman.