How writing has been wonderful and hurtful for me
I have come to love writing and fiction is fun to write. I’ve enjoyed the process of developing the story, revising and editing it. I’ve had the joy of receiving a letter from a publisher saying they want to publish my book and the fun of publishing novels myself. It takes a lot of time. There is a steep learning curve that presents a fun challenge. I’m not bad at doing all this but not great either. I know that I’m not a Hemmingway or John Grisham. It doesn’t mean I should quit but writing takes its toll as well. The time spent doing all those things is time not spent with your loved ones. Publishing doesn’t have to cost much but doing it well probably will cost a great deal. I’m convinced that a good writer can make money if they are willing to write what the public wants, not what they want to write. I wanted to write from my heart and this means competing with thousands of other authors in a similar genre. I sold books but didn’t really make money. I haven’t been in it to make money but who doesn’t hope to hit the “big time”?
There is another cost to writing that may only affect me. I suspect it impacts all writers to a certain degree but I only know how it has impacted my life and my personality. Being a “writer” or “author” can become a point of pride. Yes, we should be proud of our accomplishments but writing demands pride and self-promotion. To get a publisher interested, an author must sell their wares. This means building up the product as much as possible. Today, it also means developing a wide social network using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linked In, and others to show a publisher that someone will actually buy your books and they won’t lose money.
If you self-publish, you must be even more intentional in self-promotions. Books rarely sell themselves, though there are examples where the author has had buyers long before they could find a publisher. To publish a book yourself requires marketing, knowledge that most authors don’t have. Thus, many people want to teach us how to market. This, of course, costs money providing an income for marketing educators. They write books about how to market books, thus making money from other authors. We are told that we must speak often about our novels. We should do book signings, speak before the Elks Club. We should read to children so that their parents may become interested in our books. I often asked people, “What are you reading?” as a way to introduce my novels. I’ve sold books on airplanes, at craft shows, and book signings this way but I never saw how that was changing me.
If people see you as constantly promoting yourself, what do they think of you? “Oh, he’s a noted author?” “I’m so impressed with him that I want to buy his books?” More likely they think, “There he goes again, talking about his dumb novels.”
I enjoyed talking about writing and the novels I had written. It is fun. It is fulfilling. People seem to like talking to authors but it built my ego faster than my bank account.
I started writing for the sake of writing. It was enjoyable. I didn’t think about publishing for a long time. It became more than a fun thing to do. It filled my time. I began to try harder and harder to write a great novel so I could become a best-seller. I may write well but selling is not my forte and I don’t need to build my ego. It gets in the way of relationships. So, I am taking a break from writing novels. Maybe I’ll write more here on this blog. People have told me, “Write what you know.” I know medicine and have a lot of experience there. Perhaps I should focus on that. Maybe I’ll write my private thoughts only for me, before God in a journal. I certainly have a lot to answer to Him. I know that my world should revolve around Him and not myself. A lesson I have not learned well, even now in my 64th year.
What do you think?
I welcome your thoughts and input here. They may give me inspiration about what writing I should do. Have a great weekend and stay safe, at home.by