I thought writing was easy, until I tried to do it. From that first kernel of an idea to the last page of proofreading, it’s a struggle.
If you want anyone to read what you’ve written, there are yet more hurdles to jump. Whether you go the self-publishing route or the traditional one, people have to find your book before they can read it.
Let’s say you’ve written an amazing book, you’ve got it on Amazon. Home free, right? You can sit back, watch the money roll into your bank account, ink a movie deal?
Okay, maybe Netflix won’t be calling you, but you can quit your day job, right?
Not so fast.
50% of all authors are poor, earning less than the poverty level.
80% of all authors earn less than what most people would consider a living wage.
Self-published authors earn 80% less than traditional published authors.
2018 saw the release of 1.68 million self-published titles.
In the entire history of the written word, it has never been easier to write and publish a book, or harder to make a living at it.
If I was twenty-one, just out of university, these statistics might make me rethink a writing career, but I’m not. Rather than depress the hell out of me, these numbers make me feel better about my not-so-stellar career as a self-publishing author.
1.68 million titles in 2018? The fact that I sold any books at all is a freaking miracle!
Is it just me, or does there seem to be more to be wary of these days?
Scams and schemes abound, from the automated phone calls that threaten you with Revenue Canada if you don’t contact them to the truly horrific bogus kidnapping messages that claim they have your children.
And then there’s the people promising to change your life if you only hand over your wallet.
Case in point, recently I’ve been approached by companies offering to promote one of my books. Sounds good, right?
“You’re book has been recommended to us by …”
“We will flog your book on social media daily …”
I don’t know how much money these companies want because I hang up on them before they get to that point. Am I skeptical?
Hmmm… Am I breathing?
The first solicitor didn’t even know the title of my book. The second one sent me an email that could have used a grammar check.
One caller said his company was based out of Las Vegas. Really?
So many books out there, so many that never get seen let alone read. Every indie author knows this — so do the companies offering to help you.
While on vacation, I bought a little leather-bound notebook. The leather was soft, the colour was rich, but it was the inscription on the cover that made the sale. It made me smile.
Seriously? Incredible thoughts, brilliant mind? What can you possibly write in a journal with a title like that? Do people really go around thinking themselves brilliant? Not in my house, not if you want anyone to talk to you.
At first, I thought I’d leave the pages blank. You know, you open the book expecting brilliant and — nothing. Get it? No? Ah, well, seemed funny to me.
Then I thought I’d pop in a bunch of snarky quotes by Oscar Wilde, but these rough cut pages deserve calligraphy. My handwriting is not an art form.
Eventually as days, then weeks, went by and the journal sat there empty, it occurred to me that I was letting myself be intimidated by a bit of leather and a few embossed words. Ridiculous.
And yet … is that the reason why so few of us write. Do we intimidate ourselves out of even trying? Do we think that if we can’t write something brilliant that we shouldn’t write at all?
What’s wrong with just spilling out the thought in our head, getting it down on paper, seeing where it goes? Does it have to be brilliant?
Whatever we write, however well we write it, it’s ours. Shouldn’t that be good enough?
You’re the author, you’re in charge, right? Uh … Not so much.
Yesterday, I sat down at my laptop. I knew exactly what I was going to write. Hotel room, two guys and a bed — yeah, you got it.
I get everyone naked, write in a toy or two and — Without even the courtesy of discussing it with me first, my characters totally change the scene. I’m typing, but they’re in charge. They’re taking the narrative to a place I’d never thought to go and it works. It more than works, it’s better than what I had planned for them.
My characters developed a mind of their own.
It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, what a rush!
I’m an amateur, but it seems to me that for a writer this is the zenith, the gold at the end of the rainbow — your creations writing their own story.
Of course, now I’ve got rewrites ahead of me because they’ve mucked things up a bit, but so totally worth it 🙂
I am in awe of writers who can churn out a thousand words a day. Writers who set a goal and consistently reach it, day after day after …
I’m not one of those writers.
I’m the kind of writer who says, “Starting tomorrow, every day, 9 AM at my laptop.”Invariably, however, what I say I’m going to do and what I actually do are vastly different animals.
9 AM finds me drinking coffee and playing games on my phone, 10 AM and I’m going through emails and reading blog posts, 11 AM and I’m finishing the book I started reading the day before and or catching just one more episode of some Netflix series.
Even on the days I actually get to my laptop, I can’t seem to stay there. I’m popping up to load or unload the dishwasher, washing machine, drier. Any or all of which, of course, I could do after I write.
I’m thinking there is a form of ADD that only affects writers — and I’m freaking affected. Because somehow when my laptop screen should look like this:
It looks like this:
Writer’s ADD, a perfectly sound medical explanation of why my current book is still a WIP … and not progressing all that quickly 🙂