I know I’ve written on this subject a lot, and I’m sure it sounds like whining, and it probably is, but I’m honestly trying to come to terms with what I have experienced and what those experiences imply for my future writing.
Basically, I see myself as wanting to make a living at a job that doesn’t exist. I want to write books for a living, but you can’t make a living by writing books, you can only make a living by selling books.
Promotion isn’t part of the job, promotion is the job. Having a fairly legible book to promote is a requirement, granted, and having a well-written book gives a promoter a slight edge over one who has a poorly-written book, but the essential job is sales, not writing.
I don’t want a sales job. I have tried that in the past and I am terrible at sales. I don’t like people, and it shows. I don’t engage with people, I don’t network, I don’t shmooze.
I’ve written and published a good book. I am writing another one, and I intend to publish that one as well. A few people who already know me will read it, and they will probably enjoy it, and that will make me happy.
However, I need to kill the dream of ever being able to quit my day job, and I need to kill it now, and I need to make sure it stays dead. Because it ain’t going to happen, any more than I’ll be able to go work for a Ford dealership and make Salesman of The Year.
Maybe if I had actually finished one of the novels I started twenty years ago and gotten an agent then and a publisher who would do all the promotion I would have an established following now, but that doesn’t happen any more.
Brick and mortar publishers are struggling to stay afloat these days. They don’t promote authors and books the way they used to–they expect authors to do it themselves. Would I have more sales if I had been accepted by one of them? Probably, a few more, but nothing close to what I could live on.
In closing, I want to share a song that Pandora, with its usual brilliant timing, just started playing: