Lessons from Charlie B…

“I don’t make movies for critics, since they don’t pay to see them anyway.”
– Charles Bronson.

It’s funny how sometimes the simplest quotes make so much sense, and that they’re often the ones you remember. A family friend, while really ill, said the simplest thing to me a few years back, “the one thing you need in life is good friends”. He’s sadly no longer with us, but that quote – as simple as it was – is one that’ll stick with me through the ages.

Once in a while you do just need someone to point out the obvious to you, or the things you think you already know – because sometimes you take that knowledge for granted, to the point where you don’t even apply it.

However, that’s not what this post is about – although maybe I should do a blog on that subject too! I don’t know if you’ll recognise the chap in the featured picture (mainly because, dear reader, I don’t know who you are!) – but, just in case you don’t his name’s Charles Bronson.

He was in loads of westerns and crime movies from the 50s through to the 90s and was perhaps the most hard-bitten, anti-hero to ever walk amongst the reels and projectors of Filmland.

This simple quote about critics has stuck with me since I’ve read it. Sure we may all want critical acclaim, but the critics don’t control things as much as they used to – the power of e-publishing and open media has changed that.

Plus just getting a book published means it’ll make its way onto the New York Times Bestseller List anyway so…

So yeah, write for your fan-base, write for the people who want to read your books. There are thousands of great writers who churn out classic after classic just for their fan base, and they likely make a decent buck or two from it.

Think of all those terrible Mills & Boon pulp romances – they sold 3.3 million paperbacks in 2010, and god knows how many online editions. If you love money, there’s a love story in buying some shares in those guys!

Success comes in many formats – receiving a gold mark from someone who is paid to be critical (and not to enjoy) is just one of them.

Of course, if you’re a blog critic please feel free to give this blog a great review and heads-up so I can become the greatest writer who ever did live.

That was your lesson, class dismissed.

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