A writer friend alerted me to an article recently, 10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing. Go ahead and read it – we’ll wait.
Okay, if you know anything about my books, you know I won’t leave you in a sad place, so read on.
A bit discouraging? I’d say yes, and no.
Would we all love to be NYT bestsellers with every book? Laugh on the way to the bank (does anyone go to an actual bank anymore?) Be able to quit the day job and sit home writing all day, churning out those bestsellers?
Every single one of us.
But that’s a lightning strike: rare, spectacular and impossible to predict (even for the publishers).
So we’re all trying to survive in a market where:
- over a million new books are put up on Amazon every year
- Books never ‘age out’, so you’re competing with every author, living & dead
- Less people are reading every year, and the upcoming generation is reading even less than the current one
- Success isn’t always due to quality writing. I know we could all name at least dismally written best seller. Lightning seems (and sometimes is) arbitrary
So basically, there’s more competition for an audience that’s shrinking. And yes, it gets to me sometimes, too.
How do I keep writing, faced with smack-in-the-face facts like these?
I remember why I started writing to begin with. Think about it – when you first found the guts to sit down and try to craft a story, was it about becoming a best-seller, or quitting the day job?
My guess is, no.
Don’t get me wrong, those things do not suck, and I want them too. But I started writing to touch people. To remind someone in a bad place that things CAN work out…to give someone hope. To touch people I’ll never meet, and those who read after I’m gone.
I also want to know there are people out there who ‘get’ what I write. That I’m not the only person who struggles through life without a manual. Who feels the same feelings, experiences the same humanity I do.
I guess the bottom line is connection. It’s my way of reaching out and connecting with other souls.
Now, you may have begun for another reason entirely, but if your first answer was money, or fame, you’d most likely be out of the business by now.
Except for ones the lightning hit. I’m so happy for them. And, I’ll admit, a bit jealous too. But, ‘why not me’ isn’t a way I want to live my life, so I forge on.
After all, there are a lot of discouraged people out there to raise up, right?
So that’s my answer – why do you write?