I’ve lived a long time and learned a lot, but there are still some things that remain a mystery to me – Why does anyone take a picture of their food? Where and why do people buy selfie sticks? When a person says they are spiritual but not religious, what the hell are they talking about?
I sold my first short story in 2008, and my first novel in 2011. For the most part, I know what to expect from the world of writing and publishing. There are, however, three things that continue to baffle me. Let me elaborate; this won’t take long.
1. Most writers sell their books on Amazon, their publisher’s website, and a few other sites. Some writers also sell their books at shows, campgrounds, flea markets, or out of the trunk of their cars. I can’t figure out how to make any money doing that. I get an author’s discount for ordering my books, but after tax and shipping the per unit price is not much less than the book’s original retail price. It may not be less at all if I bought the books before the price started dropping on Amazon because of poor sales. This doesn’t even include the cost of traveling to the venue, renting a table/booth/kiosk if it’s not free, and purchasing bookmarks, pens, and other swag for shoppers. I would be praying that nobody would come to my table because I would lose money on each sale.
2. Why don’t more small, traditional publishers hire publicists/marketing coordinators/street teams to constantly and aggressively promote their authors? I understand the limited resources argument, but the fact remains that my publisher pays for everything – editing, proofreading, cover art, and printing. I pay for nothing. The publisher is the one that’s out of pocket on the front end. They’re the ones with skin in the game, and they don’t get paid until the book starts selling. Why don’t they hire people that know how to attract readers? This business needs closers. As an author I’ll do everything I can think of to promote my work, but I have little talent for it.
3. I don’t understand genre prejudice. If a person writes anything, I don’t care if it’s erotica, haiku, limericks, or so-called literary fiction, they have my respect. You’re creating something and putting it out there and that’s not for sissies. Don’t misunderstand – I have my preferences like any reader. I love mysteries, suspense, thrillers, and some horror. Most erotica bores me and I loathe the hauteur, the self-congratulatory, endlessly descriptive writing, and the implied condescension that often leaks from the pages of literary novels. These authors still have my respect. Why wouldn’t they?
That’s it for now. I feel better. Thanks for listening.