I am a writer – some of you who read this blog may realise this. Notice that I didn’t start the first sentence with ‘so’. Recently, this beginning to spoken and written information is giving me the shits. There is, however, one thing that annoys me more – it annoys me a lot. And this thing is writers who moan and whine about not getting published. Suck it up and get with writing.
It’s not that I don’t sympathise with their plight, I do, but there’s a small thing called reality to consider. If you enjoy writing, perhaps it’s enough to simply write. This doesn’t work for me. My ego insists that people should read what I write – hence this blog. I have written books, some published, some not, all selling moderately at best, almost not selling at worst. My novels have not yet been taken on by a publisher, but I live in hope. Although I have to admit that I am seriously considering self-publishing.
At least this blog keeps me focused and under the misguided impression that what I say might be read by someone, somewhere.
But back to whining writers. Imagine you have finished your book and nobody takes it on. Why is nobody picking up your book, at least among those pesky traditional publishing houses that actually put hard books onto bookshop shelves? Well, it could be for a number of reasons. Your book may be well-written – good piece of fiction, non-fiction etc, but have you considered that the genre you are writing in might not be selling at the moment, so irrespective of quality, the publishers may not believe they sell a lot of copies. Why would they take you one when they can get a celebrity biography out (in all probability ghost written) which will sell thousands, if not tens of thousands, or even more, copies. For them, it’s a no-brainer. Agents know this and that’s why agents are also so hard to crack.
Perhaps it’s time to self-publish, so you do. But it still doesn’t sell. Why? It could be for a number of reasons including:
• It’s lost in the hundreds of thousands of books published and self-published each year and you have no budget or expertise to promote it;
• It sits in an awkward genre, or between genres; and
• It’s shit (always a possibility I consider, and so should you)
These are just a few of the reasons that occur to me when I think about my poor-selling (read not selling) self-published books. The biggest waste of time, at least in my opinion, is to try and get your book published through Publisher sites where you get a community of writers voting for books. What tends to happen is that people spend much more time trying to read other people’s books than writing and improving their own. And while a few (a very few) writers do get published through this medium, you’re probably better off hassling publishers with a submission. Of course, this IS just my opinion. Feel free to do what you like.
So why do I continue to write? Simple really, I love it. And having done some research, I can say that the vast majority of published writers don’t earn a full-time living from it, so why would I? I shall; continue to write, continue to enjoy it, continue to earn bugger-all from it, but have an awful lot of fun in the process.
Now, don’t get me wrong, somewhere inside me is the hope that one day I’ll write a best-seller that gets made into a big Hollywood movie, but until then, I am unlikely to ever earn even 10% of what my day job pays me.
And to all writers out there – don’t moan; just write because you enjoy it. You’ll enjoy life far more.
Wow – I am happy to get that off my chest – now, back to writing and trying to be less grumpy!