Thursday, November 10, 2016

Late Night Writing and Other Matters

It's late at night. I was about to head for bed, but I felt the need to update this blog. 

Late nights are nothing new to me. It seems to be the way I'm wired. I write well late at night maybe because by then there aren't competing thoughts of I should do this or that. Working from home, I can't help but feel compelled to balance writing time with housework that I see all around me. If I was out at an office instead, I wouldn't face the constant reminder of things to be done. 

Not only do I tend the home, but my dog can be pretty bossy demanding walks as often as possible. She doesn't understand, "Momma's got to sit and write today." 

My dog is a good fitness coach, but everything I do for her is time-consuming too. My writing is often traded off for dog walks, shampoos, and feedings. 

By day's end, it seems natural to push aside all the other responsibilities and finally focus on writing. The husband is in bed, and the dog sleeps at my feet. 


But the above isn't what I was going to share just now. Here's what I wanted to write about dreary-eyed as I am:

Recently, I was in a meeting where a woman said she felt suspicious of people who have some sad story to tell, solve it, write a book about it, become a speaker, and make millions of dollars. 

I wanted to slap her. Why? Because most writers don't make millions of dollars. What a myth so many believe.

The person this woman was referring to who had solved her problem and written a book wasn't a high-profile individual with a broad platform. Today, publishers will rarely take on an average person. They want writers with credentials. They want to know the writer will bring in book buyers and do successful marketing themselves. 


The idea that an average woman who's written a book will make millions is delusional. Most writers put in more unpaid time than they will ever make back. Publishing on Kindlle is free, but Kindle takes a cut of the sales. Personally, I make only about $3 to $4 per book. It makes it hard to justify all the time I put into writing.

Self-publishing hard copies is very problematic because it's difficult to sell hard copies especially when shipping costs need to be factored in. Shipping across borders is even more problematic as there may be exchange rates and duty payments. I know a few women with garages full of unsold self-published print books. And these are books they paid out-of-pocket to have produced. Some will see a financial loss. 

I pondered this friend's statement and reflected on it as the web content and eBook writer I am. I decided the purpose of writing for most writers is to share our story with a hope to encourage or inspire someone. We may hope to hit it big financially, and that's not unheard of, but we write because we have something to say. And more of us write because we love writing. 

The woman seemed to mock the idea of the woman writer's sad story. But most good stories have a crisis and turning point in them. Even self-help books point to problems and provide solutions. Hallmark movies always have a crisis and turning point. (I know there are more official terms, but I can't think of them just now.)  

Sad stories are part of telling a story. I'm not sure what the woman was so skeptical of unless she sensed impure motives by the woman speaker she'd listened to who had a book for sale. Maybe she wasn't impressed with her story. That's okay. She doesn't have to buy the book. 

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