Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Paying My Dues

There are days I'm convinced the most difficult part of making the jump from aspiring author to published author is having the fantasy of publishing stripped away. This business isn't glamorous. It's not lucrative and from my point of view as a newly published author, it's not even enjoyable. It's an expensive, stressful, time-consuming pain in the ass. The writing part is fun but that's not what you spend a majority of your time on, at least not in the beginning.

I recently went to a local writers' group meeting and the guest speaker was an author who had made over six figures in a single day selling a single contemporary romance on Amazon. The group was mostly aspiring writers and from their point of view, I'm sure it was an inspirational two hours. For me it was the opposite. 

I know exactly how much I've made so far on my books and it's nowhere near six figures despite the non-stop effort I've put into it. To be honest, I didn't get into this expecting to be an overnight success and I don't anticipate being a fully self-employed author at any point in the future. Still, it can be disheartening to hear tales of wildly abnormal success and know how far I am from experiencing such a thing. I lean heavily on the notion that every successful endeavor requires sacrifice and determination. If publishing were easy, book signings would take up entire stadiums. In short, reality is nothing like the fantasy. Thankfully, I'm a realist so this isn't news. Nor am I alone in my disappointment. 

There are a lot of failed authors who gave up with barely a foot in the door when they discovered how very unrewarding publishing can be. Like them, I've spent a lot of time asking myself why I bother and not coming up with an answer. I think the reason I haven't walked away centers on my tendency to be a glutton for punishment. I'm not alone in that either. There are a lot of now successful authors who know exactly what I'm talking about. I've heard their stories of rejection and decades of failed attempts. Those are the tales of success I value most.

The recent article floating around about average author earnings supports the idea that it's a tough business. I'm sure several of you have seen this already.

Read full article at GalleyCat

I'm not sure how accurate the results are and expect to see a few rebuttal blogs about the numbers in the next few days but accurate or not, it made me feel better. According to Digital Book World, working my ass off and getting miniscule returns is typical. I'm not the only one earning an average of two cents per hour and living on a shoestring budget trying to get this mess of a career off the ground. It's an exceptionally competitive market and just like every other creative endeavor, there's a period where being broke and clinging to hope is a rite of passage. 

To my fellow struggling authors I say keep your chin up and your fingers moving. I'll do the same. Best of luck to us all!  

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