I admit...in the last few weeks I have given very real thought to giving up writing. It had very little to do with my new career which more than pays my bills. Nor to do with stress or lack of motivation and inspiration. I always find motivation and inspiration.
My books do well. My fans are the best. I've been lucky to never have less than a 4-star review and the rest are 5. And all love my books.
The literary world has been kind to me in the form of wonderful peers and bloggers as well as others in the industry. So...now that I've made that clear (and you know this isn't a woe is me, pity me post...read on. I know you were worried there. :) )
No...the crux of my mental meanderings was this: In a sea of freebies, 99 cent books and never ending TBR's I was asking myself what's the point?
I have been called many things, and I don't know, maybe they are all true: book snob, egotistical author, asshole, judgmental, holier than us, no talent, puppeteer of people...insert more words here. Yeah. Some of that hurt. Others...well...you don't know me at ALL so it didn't even tickle.
No. It was because I just can't do the whole freebie, cheap book thing unless its a special deal, or limited time as a reward. Add to my book being stolen and given out to dozens and dozens of people either by blogs or people (I'm told this is a positive thing--helping to get my name/books out there..uh...no) its just frustrating.
Sure...who doesn't want to be known for their talent? Known as an author of worth who writes well, constantly strives to become better and makes sure to put out books (full-length, fully edited, original covers...books) and price them the average price worthy of all the hard work I've put into them.
Sure...I won't lie. I'd love to make lots of money for my writing, pack signings. And any author who says they don't care or want those things are lying--we love to write, sure. But we like to eat and see all that hard work pay off too. None of my books, are priced ridiculously...$2.99- $4.99.
But it goes so far and beyond getting known...
It goes deep to the core of valuing my work. My characters. Are they worth free? Less than a dollar? Hell no. To me they are priceless in the value they give me in creating them. They make me feel like a million when someone loved them too. When a reader says they cried, ranted, screamed as they read the pages.
I just can't toss all that effort out to be consumed cheap just to "get my name out there". Because chances are my pricing my books as free or $.99 is not going to get my name " known". Its like saying somehow my name will float to the top of the ocean of names that penny-ed their books or wash up on the shore of a TBR beach. Its literary bingo with a million of numbered balls and even more of those stupid cards that never match.
I don't want to be known as that type of author. I'm sorry...call me a snob. Call me delusional or naive. But one thing you can't say is my books aren't good. You can't say I don't believe in them by investing not only money but time on them because I don't cheapen them...in any aspect.
What's the point, you ask?
Its this: if all the readers care about is cheap and free, what is the point in trying to produce a quality novel? Why stay up nights...days on end in creating characters, worlds and stories if I am just going to invest and get zero return? Whether it be a royalty or a review? Why would I price that creation cheaper than the worse burger at the cheapest junk food place? Or free... No. There was no point so why keep trying? I couldn't find one. And it broke my heart.
I don't solely blame readers. I don't place all the guilt upon digital formats or Amazon. I don't even toss that big of a hunk of accusation at my fellow authors. I think its a combo of all...and we all shall stumble with the burden and cost eventually.
So, I consoled myself in the fact that all that time and energy I was now using for writing, I could now use to HOPEFULLY be a positive energy in a venom filled indie publishing world. I'm mentoring two promising authors and DBP has so much potential to be that creative home that authors need--there would be plenty to take up the slack I would have in giving up writing my own works. I could work closely with struggling writers and maybe help them in that struggle with what I've learned. It makes me so sad to see our writing community turning on its residents so brutally. Something has to change. Its a dark, vicious world for authors if they aren't "big"... But well knowns aren't immune either. The literary world is in a fiery tailspin. It will hit and crash...soon.
But could I do that to my wonderful fans? Some of which have become my friends and best supporters? Well, I was writing and putting it out there long before I published my first book with my name on it via social media and other avenues--I could still give them things to read " The Ward Way". They, most of all, would understand.
It's a huge decision. Big for me considering writing is my therapy. It kept me up and it made me ill in even thinking of making that choice.
So here's what I did...
I sat down. I picked up some books. I shut away the world over the weekend and I read. I let myself get lost in the worlds and listened to the characters voices as they told me their stories. I laughed and cried. I ranted and yelled. It was a real touch base as to why I do this.
Or would I be saying "did that".
So...guess you're wondering what the verdict is huh?
Now I could do the trend of a badly flowed cliff-hanger to get you to buy in to what happened next, but I'm not that kind of writer either. ;)
I can't give it up. Spending that reading sabbatical made me realize my writing books is as much a part of my soul as all other aspects of my life--my family, children, pets. And just like them...my life is so much richer with the existence and would mourn most of my days without.
But...I still won't toss my books into the cheap freebie bin just to " get attention ". No...they shall be valued what they are worth and will get highlight by being the best book I could place in front of a reader. And know that reader believed in it and me by purchasing it. I will get known one reader...one quality book at a time. My books...its characters don't mind. As long as I make sure to care and give them " life ".
In fact...I might go completely old school and e-books will not be my standard platform, but secondary. But that's a subject that will be babbled about when the time comes.
Oh...and before I forget. Would you like to know which books saved the part of my soul where author me clings?
Take care and happy writing.