Of course there are the people who write because they believe they have a calling, or they are convinced that they have a great story to tell. What about the writers who have the dream of being published or even being the next big author of this century?
In my research I found that in 2008, for the first time in history, more books were self-published than published with a publishing house. By 2009 over 75 percent of all books were self-published. However, at the same time, publishing houses reduced their book production. In 2011 an estimated 292,000 new titles were put on the market. This, of course, doesn’t include professional corporate writers, screen writers, and online publications.
Self-publishing differs from traditional publishing in that the author has decided to publish his/her work without a traditional publisher. As you can imagine, this trend wasn’t driven by choice only, but by the slim likelihood of getting a publisher to publish your work.
In the past, self-published authors had to spend considerable amounts of money preparing a book for publication. It was rather expensive to purchase bulk copies of their title and find a place to store them. But recent new technology, like print-on-demand and e-books, has altered the landscape dramatically. This technology makes it possible to print books, or digitally deliver them worldwide, even when an order as small as (1) copy has been placed.
But the question I am asking today is “What makes writing exciting?” and “Can you make a living as a writer?” I was prompted to answer these questions recently, when a friend of mine told me, after being asked “why” he wanted to write, that he wanted to make money. You can imagine I chuckled.
I think we have to differentiate between writing and writing. Yes, you can make money as a writer if you are qualified and willing to write for companies which need transcripts, translations of foreign language, legal papers, and anything that is not considered creative writing.
Bowker, the world's leading provider of bibliographic information, says that the self-publishing movement continues to grow strong. Self-published titles jumped to more than 390,000, which is up 59 percent in 2012. E-books also continue to gain on print, which makes me (the author that loves holding paperbacks in her hands) cringe. According to Forbes, the 2013 data from a new survey from Digital Book World and Writer’s Digest, the median income for self-published authors is under $5,000 and nearly 20 percent of self-published authors report deriving no income from their writing. According to this research only 1.8 percent of self-published authors made over $ 100,000 from their work.
So let’s face it, writing might not make either one of us rich. In my case, I recently took on a small, paid translation job. I also write for several e-magazines (1 penny per click), but most articles or blogs are for magazines without pay, and are for exposure and credibility only. Internet blogs and e-magazines like EZINE are great places to get experience and exposure. Job experience comes from writing, so the best advice I ever got was “write, write, and write, no matter what”. Every time a piece is finished it’s like giving birth to a new baby, needing to be nurtured and held closely with love, and, of course, you want to show your baby to the public.
And then there is the favorite child, the book held in your mind for so long. If you believe you have a great story in your head, make sure it also lives in your heart. When at last you finally put your soul on paper and you are ready to share it with the world, you still have to answer these questions: What else do you need to do? How do you keep up your enthusiasm?
Now your book is finished, edited and printed, and it is time to learn all the ins and outs of publishing, marketing, publicity campaigns, and all of the necessary business aspects to give your book exposure. Take it from someone who has diligently, day after day, sat at her computer and posted, studied, researched, and built a network of like-minded people. Writing unfortunately includes these chores and I hope that all of you realize this important part of the trade.
You want your work to be read, and no one wants your work out in the open and in front of the public more than you do. But most people are not really interested in what you have to say, unless you are one in a million and found the right support system of literary professionals. So you have to make a choice and ask yourself “Why?” “Why do I write?” The answer cannot be “Because I want to make money”.
We are back to the question: “What makes writing exciting?” The answer has to be “Love is exciting and I write for the love of it. Verbalizing my thoughts is exciting, so I write because I have something to say. Expressing myself is exciting, so I write because I have the urge to put my thoughts on paper. Living my dream is exciting, so I write because I couldn’t live without it.”
Pure joy must be the motive, otherwise put your pen down!