Why Mom Was Right About Writing
I think writers of all ages have had to deal with the inevitable question:
"But how will you make any money?"
Trying to make a living as an author is easier today than ever before, I think. Yet it's still something of a pie in the sky kind of dream (what exactly is a pie in the sky, anyway?).
While my mother never negged me, she definitely had some thoughts when I announced my intention to become a freelance author. Her concerns were nothing out-of-the-ordinary. "Almost all authors struggle to make ends meet." "For every successful author there are hundreds more who never make it at all." "It'll be hard to support yourself on a writer's income." "You need a backup plan."
These days, Mom is always first in line to buy my new releases. She even buys a copy of every paperback just to display it on her bookshelf for all her houseguests to see. She's one of my biggest supporters. But she was definitely right about a few things.
For a lot of us, it is difficult to make it on a writer's salary. For some, it's not possible at all. What I make in royalties every month is just about enough to pay the phone bill. It's better in months surrounding a new release, but for all intents and purposes, my book royalties are not much of an income. It's a good thing I love writing!
Mom was right that I'd need a backup plan. I work a full-time day job four days a week, ten hours a day. This unfortunately cuts into writing time, but as much as I'd like to spend all my day at a desk at home reveling in my good luck charms and furybaby muses while I spin chapter after chapter of fantasy romance, Day Job keeps the lights on and food on the table. The dream is still to one day walk away from the old nine-to-five (or seven-to-five-thirty, as it were), but for now, the office is my reality.
And Mom was right that many writers go unsung all their lives. It's a hard truth, but luck definitely plays a part in being discovered amid the writing and reading communities. It's not the only factor, but it could be the difference between being a little-known indie or Stephenie Meyers. How fair is that?
But for all those painful truths Mom was totally right about, she's been right about another thing, too. She said, "Don't give up."
It's advice that every professionally published, well-known author I've ever met has also given. Richard Kadrey, Jim Butcher, Kim Harrison, Naomi Novik, all said the same: Don't quit. Don't be discouraged. Keep writing.
Mom's pretty smart: for someone who isn't an author herself, she definitely knows their number one hit. She reminds me every time I release a new book. She's the first to grab a copy. She's the first to show me off.
Writing is a tough gig. If you're not in it for the love, you might just find yourself throwing in the towel before too long. It's hard work... but it's good work. If all writers have heard the question, "How will you make any money?", we've also heard the phrase, "Nothing worth doing is ever easy."
So listen to my mother. Don't give up. It's the best thing she's ever been right about.
Well.... except for Dad.
Don't forget the best way to support indie authors is to spread the word! Share your favorite indie titles with your friends. Gift them books from your favorite self-pubbed series. Tell them how cool and friendly and sexy that awesome indie author is! Every little bit helps #IndieBooksBeSeen.