From Louise Wise

Saturday 22 June 2013

I've come to the conclusion that there are TWO groups of authors:

Before Internet and With Internet
Are you a BI or a WI Author?

After reading writer forums and listening to various authors over the years, I’ve realised that authors come in two groups:

Group 1 are those before POD and the eBook revolution (BI has nothing to do with sexuality but all to do with ‘before Internet’). 

The BI authors have done their time in sending out submissions (after finding suitable publishers/agents in the Authors and Agents Handbook bought from a brick and mortar shop, or hired from a library [(noun) (plural libraries) a building or room containing reference or borrowing books]. They have hoards of rejection slips. There were no email submissions and it was trips to post offices, standing in queues, postage paying, and waiting for a reply (if lucky) before starting the submission all over again.

They know the newly discovered best-seller is an author who has been struggling for decades before his or her 'over night' success.

Group 2 are the authors who grew up with POD and eBooks and where publishers are easily accessible by email (or social media ie Twitter, Facebook) and their guidelines are clearly visible on the Internet at the click of a button (WI authors—with Internet). 

They grumble about no sales, they feel like giving up, moan about Amazon ‘not helping’ and are upset when they get ‘rubbish’ or no reviews.

They dump their book's title with its companying link all over social media sites without as much as a reading the host's guidelines, and their cheery salutation 'enjoy' sounds like a threat.

BI authors have grasped this publishing opportunity and are/have studied the ‘author platform’ and/or are making strides in developing one. They know ‘success’ isn’t over-night, they know if the book isn’t selling AT ALL then something is wrong: wrong cover, blurb, the hook in ‘look inside’ isn’t strong enough, stale tags, wrong marketing strategy, or worse, not using social media at all (palpitations!). 

The BI authors know that once their book is published their work ISN’T over, but only just beginning and it DOESN’T stop. 


So, are you a BI or a WI author?


  1. Louise,
    Actually I'm both BI an WI. I put way too much time invested with agents, libraries and assorted other areas and now do the internet thing. But then I'm an old fart in this business too.

  2. lol
    The BI authors (imo, of course, but then I'm biased) work much harder at it than the WI's. WI authors whine, BI's get on with it.

  3. When I worked at a literary agent you wouldn't believe the letters and phone calls we received over rejecting someone. So I think the BI authors *were* as whingy back then, only you hadn't the Internet to know!

  4. Definitely a wi-bi.
    I'm a supporter of what Amazon has done in the broad sense, and intermittently mad at them in the narrow sense :-)

  5. I started submitting things in 2008 to traditional houses via the Internet. I put in a lot more time that way than I would recommend to others, but I also read A LOT about publishing, both traditional and independent. The lessons: 1) both are evolving and 2) fortune favors the bold- and the tenacious. It's folly to presume that your first book will do really well right out of the gate, and every time I see writers moan about how they're not getting gangbuster sales or some program isn't working for them, I wonder what exactly they were expecting.

    I think many are still caught up in the DotCom mentality and expect instant gratification. There is nothing instant about publishing.

  6. Like Mark, I'm a wi-bi (love that!). I struggled through the "old-fashioned" way of trying to become published, and now I'm realizing my dream as an Indie. I work my ass off at this and know that my success and failure hinge solely on what I'm doing or not doing. I love Amazon for the opportunity it's given me, but I'm also frustrated at the metrics and behind-the-scenes workings that I don't understand and will never understand and, therefore, don't know how to effectively use to my advantage. I "whinge" about bad reviews, because, frankly, those people are idiots (haha). And I'm sure I annoy the crap out of people with my town crier approach to displaying every good review I receive. Deal with it! ;)

  7. @Jane, I suppose you're right in what you say that when the Internet wasn't around nobody knew if anyone was moaning or not, and I can image the letters you received (did you get mine? Kidding!), but I do believe that because publishing is SO easy writers have come to think EVERYTHING regarding writing should be easy i.e. no hard work.

  8. @mark, I strangely understand what you mean. :/

  9. @Deb, well said! I agree with you and some people do expect instant gratification, and it's crazy.

    Love your term 'dotcom mentality'!

  10. @Brea, my guess it's human nature to moan to a degree, but some take it to a whole new level. S'pose it could be safe to say there's a little bit of WI in all of us.

  11. I do think authors who started in the 20th century tend to keep things more in perspective. Maybe partly just because we're older and we've been around a whole lot more blocks. Ruth Harris, NYT bestseller in the 80s and 90s and now self-pubbing says "In the old days we were at the mercy of the marketing departments; now we're at the mercy of the algorithms. Things don't change that much. You still have to keep producing good books and hope for good luck."

  12. Every author is unique. There are many roads to Oz and Oz means different things for each person.

    I've been around for a while and here is the one trait I see in successful authors: they work hard.

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  14. I was mainstream published - quickly and easily. Then the publisher folded and I have the lumps on my head, from hitting it against all those brick walls, to prove that my early experience was a bit of fluke and that I have served my time. I am now WI. Can't say the experience is any better. At least in the old days, once you'd sent off a manuscript you were off the self-promotion hook for a while. Now it's continuous. Look at me look at me! Which is SO not who I am.

  15. @ Anne, smart words from Ruth Harris,which I totally agree with. But about being older, I'll have to disagree, I've seen some 'older' authors who are new on the scene behave terribly.

  16. @ Bob, love 'There are many roads to Oz and Oz'. Shame some like to take the short-cut, making the witch angry, and making it harder for us who are working hard, as you say, and going about it the correct way.

  17. @ Gilli, It's tough I agree. I hope your 'lumps' have healed. :)


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