…is incredibly difficult, frustrating, upsetting and time-consuming. It is also very much down to the luck of the proverbial draw.
How often have you said, ‘Oh, how I wish my books would sell in their millions – actually, hundreds would do…’?
How often have you looked on KDP or Createspace, or whatever you use, and seen huge gaps with no sales at all, followed by a single lone one like a baby’s first tooth?
How often have you organised an Amazon-linked Free Download – and had only four takers over a five-day period?
How often have you wanted to bang your head against a brick wall, rail at the universe and then give up writing altogether?
For all of those questions, my answer would be, ‘Frequently!’ – or, if in querulous mode, ‘Far too bloody often…’
You see, the truth they (whoever they might be) DON’T tell you is this one: Being a good writer, even being a published writer, guarantees nothing. Not a sausage. Bugger-all.
I know. I have now published five books – and, at times, I feel as if they have made no impact at all.
Sales? Don’t make me laugh! I am lucky if I make one pound every month, which is a bugger because I could do with the money. Couldn’t we all? Unless, of course, you are one of those lucky sods who is coining it in by the squillions.
I very much want to be successful and well-known and independently wealthy. Why shouldn’t I? Those feelings have nothing to do with being a writer per se, however. I write because I must. I write for love. I write because it is my main way of talking.
But, in my dreams, my books suddenly take off big-time and I am overwhelmed by vast sales and truckloads (metaphorically) of dosh!
I am neither materialistic nor especially greedy – just at a point in my life when a large influx of the old ready cash would be damned useful.
I will tell you what really pisses me off, however – and some other writers might share this silent chagrin – and that is the attitude some people have towards authors who (Shock! Horror! Bell, Book and Candle! Exorcise the grasping fuckers forthwith!) actually want to make money from their writing!
And I have to ask, as someone who puts a great deal of time and thought and creativity into my books, would such individuals prefer it if I – and my kind – were to go on benefits, cheat, defraud the system in ways all too easy to organise?
Why is it that trying to sell one’s own novels is seen as slightly tacky, fraudulent, big-headed and egocentric? Not quite kosher in some undefined way…
What the resentful ones need to realise is that writers actually get a fraction of what their precious books are worth – and would need to sell hundreds, if not thousands, to make any kind of profit at all.
To put it in perspective, when I was a teacher, I was making four times as much per month as I have made from my all five of my books in a YEAR.
Shocked? Perhaps you should be.
I am not a successful writer – not yet, anyway. But that does not mean I lack talent, commitment or perseverance – or, indeed, bloody-mindedness!
But Lady Luck has been conspicuous in her absence from my life as a writer thus far!
Let’s just hope the dear girl canters into view in 2016, shall we?
Before I am forced to sell an internal organ to the highest bidder!
Anyone for a spleen? One careful owner…