I read a thoroughly depressing article this week. It was all about how authors are whiney and don’t do enough to promote their books, blame it on the market, throw up their hands, and walk away. The real point of the article seemed to be if you feel the need to shower or work a job that buys you food, you will never be a successful author. Alternately, you could pay the writer of said article to do all your marketing for you, then it would be acceptable to shower and eat, not that you could afford to eat after you paid her.
The sad part is a lot of that’s true. Self promotion is key. I know that, and Preorder for The Tethering doesn’t even start until next week. Maintaining crazy amounts of social media while planning a blog tour, working, and trying to watch videos of my baby nephew have all really cut into my writing time, which is historically what writers are supposed to be doing.
I accept the need for social media. I think it can be fun, and I love getting to connect with other authors. I love the Kickstarter concept that my publisher is using for Preorder. And I loved making the video for it, too. But I need to spend time just writing, because the most utterly depressing statement in that article that I’ve tried to ignore but have heard time and time again is that it takes at least five published books to make a living as an author. Unless you’re J.K. Rowling. But she doesn’t count as a mere mortal writer.
And they aren’t just saying write a bunch of poop and self publish. These have to be five well-written, well-publicized books, which really boils down to sacrificing years of your life in the hopes that you don’t have a nervous breakdown before you hit book five and that once you get there, you actually end up on the good side of the statistics.
So, to all my friends who have been asking if I’ll be rich and living in a mansion with private security come this time next year, the answer is “no.” I have to build an author platform to create an audience base. After I get people who love my books and leave good reviews, I must become a social media whore, pushing my book through every possible thunder clapping outlet I can. I will spend every hour of my day secretly contemplating how to get on a radio talk show and fantasizing about happening to run into the CEO of Barnes and Noble after one of my shows. In between that, I will write. And if the stress doesn’t kill me and luck is on my side, in five years, I might be able to pay a very modest mortgage from my royalties.
So here’s to the love of storytelling. May it keep us all going through the dark times and help us in the struggle towards the light.
The light is the livable income royalty check, just so you know.