Recently, as I was reading an Indie Author group on Facebook, I came across this post:
"Do you guys ever feel like giving up? I'm just getting started in this business, but it seems like unless by some miracle, the "right person," like Mark Coker, happens to notice you and starts promoting you, you continue to swim as a little bitty fishy in a great, big ocean! It seems that EVERYONE is a writer, and EVERYONE is trying to get noticed. Unless you have money to spend on lots of ads, etc. (which I don't), you just keep swimming..." – Kitten Jackson ( https://www.facebook.com/kittenjackson )
This made me start thinking… and this was the reply I posted to her:
“All the time... I feel like giving up all the time. When no one takes my working as a writer seriously... when I go days or weeks without sales... when I promote my work all over the internet and feel completely ignored... yes. For me, though... I am a writer. I have always been a writer. I will be as long as I live. I can't help it. I tell stories... and now I'm putting them out for the world to share. I'm going to continue to do it... noticed or not. I've made sales, I've been interviewed, I've been reviewed... it has long slow periods... but that's just what I've come to understand as the "nature" of the beast. It's worth it to me for those who read and like my work... and even if I don't ever achieve "wide-spread success" as an author... then, so be it. I can't help that I write, that I tell stories, that I want to share it with others... it's who I am, and I'm not going to let any of the slow periods, the successes of others, or any perceptions others might have (or even my own from time to time) change that.
I'm a writer. I write. I'm a storyteller. I tell stories.
It's who I am, and that's just all there is to it. Noticed or not.”
I think sometimes people who aren’t in this business don’t comprehend what it’s like to do this kind of work.
The “Work” of it, as I often hear people call it, is perceived as writing things down that you make up. While this is a part of the job… it’s by far and away not the whole of it. You may ask “What then is this “work” you are talking about then mister writer man?”
Well… it’s constant marketing. It’s Blogging, updating, following up with people, finding places that will review your work, for good or ill, and asking for those reviews. Trying to get exposure for your work. Trying to stay in touch with your readers. Tweeting. Facebooking. Constant pushing, and obsessive checking and rechecking everything.
Why? Because if you don’t then there are literally thousands of other people in your field who will fill the void you leave, and your work thus far will all have been for naught.
Don’t believe me? Write a book. Get it edited. Format it. Get cover art for it. Get it to the services that print or offer eBooks for sale. Market yourself. Market the book. Track your sales.
It is a lot harder than it sounds… Trust me. It's even harder if you want to do odd things... like see loved ones, spend time with children, work a day job, have a social life... ya know, do anything besides what centers on the book.
Now I can hear someone out there saying, “Well, mister writer man, if it is so difficult, headache inducing, and time consuming, then why do you do it?”
My answer to that it this: For every single time that a reader tells me how much they enjoyed my work… how they were pulled in… how it spoke to them… how they couldn’t stop reading it… that makes all of it worth it to me. (Understand, now, that is a personal answer. I can’t speak for all writers)
Others still would say, “Mister writer man, if your work was any good it would be huge and everyone would know about it. Talent is all it takes to succeed in writing.”
To that I say: HAHAHAHAHA!!! No, really… If I had a nickel for every indie author I’ve read and loved… or better yet, a nickel for every writer I’ve read from a major publishing house with poor story, grammar, and (evidently) a complete lack of spellcheck… I’d be a far wealthier man, today.
Finally, my favorite… Still others say: “If your work is so good, mister writer man, you’d be published by a big publishing house. They’d drop a big check in your lap, and they’d pay people to do all that work that you claim is so hard for you, and you wouldn’t have any worries.”
This one is a blatant lie. It’s wrong on every level.
To begin with… I know authors who are signed with major publishing houses. Want to know how I met them? They were right there beside me (in an internet kinda way) doing the same things I was doing… to get their work out there… reviewed… read… enjoyed… and to get exposure for it.
Facts of life are the same as the facts of writing: You have to work hard to succeed. Talent is good… don’t get me wrong… but talent without the endless hours of hard work is ultimately worthless (unless you are the luckiest single person to ever walk the earth).
So, do I ever feel like giving up? Yes.
Do I ever give up? Yes. I give up, walk away. Make a pot of coffee. Then I sigh, shake my head, and get right back to work.