The Manuscript Factory

     You are a factory. And if you object to the word, then allow me to assure you that it is not a brand, but merely a handy designation which implies nothing of the hack, but which could be given to any classic writer.

     Yes, you and I are both factories with the steam hissing and the chimneys belching and the machinery clanging. We manufacture manuscripts, we sell a stable product, we are quite respectable in our business. The big names of the field are nothing more than the name of Standard Oil on gasoline, Ford on a car, or Browning on a machine gun.

     And as factories, we can be shut down, opened, have our production decreased, change our product, have production increased. We can work full blast and go broke. We can loaf and make money. Our machinery is the brain and the fingers.

     And it is fully as vital that we know ourselves and our products as it is for a manufacturer to know his workmen and his plant.

     Few of us do. Most of us sail blithely along and blame everything on chance.

     Economics, taken in a small dose, are simple. They have to do with price, cost, supply, demand, and labor.

     If you were to open up a soap plant, you would be extremely careful about it. That soap plant means your income. And you would hire economists to go over everything with you. If you start writing, ten to one, you merely write and let everything else slide by the boards. But your writing factory, if anything, is more vital than your soap factory. Because if you lose your own machinery, you can never replace it – and you can always buy new rolls, vats, and boilers.

      The first thing you would do would be to learn the art of making soap. And so, in writing, you must first learn to write. But we will assume that you already know how to write. You are more interested in making money from writing.

      It does no good to protest that you write for the art of it. Even the laborer who finds his chief pleasure in his work tries to sell services or products for the best price he can get. Any economist will tell you that.

     You are interested in income. In net income. And “net income” is the inflow of satisfaction from economic goods, estimated in money, according to Seligman.

     I do not care if you write articles on knitting, children’s stories, snappy stories, or gag paragraphs, you can still apply this condensed system and make money.

     When you first started to write, if you were wise, you wrote anything and everything for everybody and sent it all out. If your quantity was large and your variety wide, then you probably made three or four sales.

The Manuscript Factory continued...



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