Many writer dreams of making it big. We fantasize about winning awards, signing million dollar contracts and landing that sweet agent who'll turn out movie deals like a Sin City hooker turning tricks on Saturday night.
But wait. Why is the term, "starving artist" still in our vocabulary? If the publishing world is changing so rapidly in favor of the indie author, why aren't we all talking about how rich we're getting?
Okay, I take that back, some authors are talking about their money, but they have all been guests on J.A. Konrath's blog, A Newbies Guide to Publishing. The rest of us just read about them and inhale another hit of hope with each new post, promising ourselves that we'll get another book on Amazon's shelf as soon as we find the cash; you know, to pay the editor, cover designer and professional formating.
Listen, I don't mean to be a party pooper here, but the truth is, and I have to thank my buddy Scott Nicholson for pointing this out in a previous post; this business will not always work as planned. Sometimes, the success of an indie author is pure luck. Sometimes an author can snag a gazillion 5-star reviews and still hang out in the 100,000 zone, which sells what, maybe a few books a month? And some books in the top 100 are holding down 5 well deserved 3.1-star reviews.
Not fair is it?
I don't think any author, indie or otherwise dreams of selling a few books a month when they hit the publish button. No. We dream of bestseller status. We dream of selling books by the thousands.
The truth is, indie fame and fortune, as in any source of fame and fortune is fleeting and rare.
In case you're wondering, this blog post was not written for the seasoned author with 20 bestselling titles. This post was written for the rookie author and the midstream author with one or three titles struggling to stay under six digits.
If I've learned anything in the last few years, I've learned that nothing is guaranteed in publishing. I've learned that I need to get a serious grip on my expectations and as William Esmont, one of my good writer friends has said more than once, "Just enjoy the ride,"when things go well.
And when they don't, keep typing.
As the maker of The Kindle Book Review, I see many wonderful books out there with dazzling reviews that can't seem to make it out of the six digit range. It's quite a conundrum indeed, leaving many first time and midlist authors scratching their heads.
If I'm hitting a nerve, I have a message for you. ~~>Don't give up. Keep writing. Keep marketing.
This industry is based on luck, timing and a wink from the gods, so don't let your current level of success make or break you. This is not a get-rich-quick business. This is a keep writing because you love it business and maybe, just maybe, the stars will align one of these nights and your novel and marketing efforts will start a chain reaction that propels you into stardom.
Ask Stephen King how many words he typed before he sold Carrie. Ask Dean Koontz how many times he was rejected. What makes us any different? This is tough stuff. Expect hardships.
Writing is not for the faint of heart. It's a choice - a choice to persevere through storms, droughts, wind and rain. Writing comes from the heart, not from a bank account, and it will never satisfy or bring an ounce of fulfillment if you do it for money or fame, although we all would like a little change at the end of the day - I get that.
Authors certainly have more choices today than we did two years ago, and it's obvious that indies are gaining credibility and selling more books. But if you're in a rut, if you're having lack luster sales, and if your reviews are crappy, take heart. You're next book will be better. You'll learn from your mistakes. You'll find a better way to market your work. You'll meet a more talented cover artist. You'll read a few more books on writing, and you'll make a few more connections.
Keep your eyes on the keyboard, my friend, but always look forward. Turning tricks isn't about one hot night on the town. It's about standing on the street corner night after night, taking your blows (I didn't mean it like that) and putting in your time.
Nothing good rarely happens overnight. The road to publishing success, no matter which road you choose, no matter how much hype that's out there, will take years of hard work, studying, reading, thick skin, and connections, all while sliding down a never ending learning curve.
But you can do it. Be patient. Keep writing. And keep sticking your leg out. You're bound to turn a trick one of these days.
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Author of Reunion and other thrillers.