A few days ago I received my quarterly royalty check and was reminded once again that I don’t write for the money. I try very hard to avoid viewing the amount of my compensation as a measure of my talent as a writer. I receive validation from the positive comments I have received from readers of my novel and short stories.
It’s hard to find an audience when you are competing with literally millions of titles on Amazon. I’ve embraced social media and will continue to use it even though I’ve found it to be of little value in promoting my brand.
Authors fit into one of five large groups:
1. The elite group. These are the best selling, enormously successful authors who have sold tens or even hundreds of millions books. This is a tiny group. You know the names – King, Koontz, Patterson….
2. Successful, mid-list authors, probably with one of the Big Six publishers who make a good living. They don’t have the celebrity status or make the numbers of the elite group but you’ve probably read some of their work and know their names if you’re an avid reader.
3. Professional writers who have a small but loyal fan base. They may do freelance projects, blogs, ghost writing, editing, etc, to supplement what they earn from their novels, etc. They are probably with a small to medium sized publisher.
4. My group. So-called indie authors who self-publish or, in my case, are published by a small press. We are struggling for visibility and working to broaden our fan base. We are not making a living from this but we remain hopeful.
5. Authors whose work doesn’t sell at all; that’s right, not at all. I can’t tell you how badly I feel for someone who puts his work out there and nobody at all wants it. It may not be terrible work; it may just be invisible or deal with some narrow or esoteric topic that lacks broad appeal.
Summer is a great time for reading. I’m as guilty as the next person about only reading authors from groups 1 and 2. I think it’s time I started reading some from groups 4 and 5. Maybe you’ll join me.