When I first decided to write with an aim toward publication, I followed dozens of writing blogs. Common advice, at that time, was “Don’t expect to make any money until you have at least ten books published.” As of today, I’m halfway to that goal. Love & Liability is my fifth published novel.
Some authors hit the motherlode with their first book, of course, just as some authors publish far more than ten books and never make much money. At my age and lack of speed writing, I may never get ten books written and published. So the odds of me making a living at writing are slim to none. But then, that’s partly my fault.
I’m not a business woman. I don’t “write to the market,” which means writing whatever type of book that’s bestselling at the moment. Unless luck strikes you, that’s the only way to make money writing fiction. You must be able and willing to change genres—or sub-genres, at least—as often as it takes to satisfy the whim of the gods. And, in this case, readers are the gods.
Also, you need to write lightning fast, publishing several books a year. My first novel, The Brevity of Roses, released in March 2011. It’s now May 2017, and I’ve just seen the release of my fifth. See a problem?
So, why do I persist in writing? Though I’m serious and conscientious with my work, and though this retiree absolutely appreciates every dollar earned, writing is not primarily a business venture for me. Writing is partly therapy—it keeps my brain nimble and engaged. It’s partly vanity—it boosts my self-esteem when people read and enjoy my words. But mostly, I write because I have a need to create.
I’ve expressed my creative nature in many ways during my life, usually in multiple ways during each period, but for the last few years, I’ve concentrated on creating with words. I can’t describe the thrill and satisfaction of making a whole new world come to life—literary-ly. 🙂
If you’ve written a novel, you know it’s not easy. You know you will alternately love and hate your work as it progresses. But eventually, when it’s done and polished and ready to share with others, you’ll be proud of it. And then comes release day. Your creation is in the hands of strangers. You can barely breathe, waiting to learn if those strangers appreciate your vision, your skill, your determination. Only a small percentage will ever let you know, personally or publicly, but that doesn’t stop you from looking forward to the next creation in words.
That’s the joy and terror of the next few weeks for me. I’ll be watching my sales stats obsessively. I’ll be thrilling at good reviews and deflating at bad ones. But I’ll continue working because I love it. I have a few more worlds to put into words.