I’ve been seeing a lot of posts and comments from fellow writers lately that lament the path we are walking in our professional lives. It’s hard to find fault with them because this is not an easy path we have chosen.
Which is why a writer will suddenly develop a nervous tick under one eye whenever anyone approaches and says: “I wish I was a writer. It must be so nice to have such an easy job and just to sit and write all day.” On the oustide, we just smile politely and say very little.
Inside, we’re all like:
A few writers I know are questioning whether it is worth continuing on. It takes 3-5 years for a writer to start making a steady income. Not every writer will ever get there. Only a blessed few will hit James Patterson numbers. I’m still convinced J.K. Rowling sold her soul to get where she did. I’m coming up on my third year of doing this and I still don’t know if I will get to a point where I’m making a stable income.
So I understand how some writers are wondering if they should keep at it. Shoot, there are days when I’m ready to chuck the whole thing out the window and see if the local WalMart is hiring for door greeters.
It doesn’t help when Amazon pulls a stunt like it has recently either. I understand, and agree, with Amazon’s move to police the scammers taking advantage of the KU program illegally. The scammer posts a large “book” usually filled with cut and paste fluff. Then employs a large army of fake online accounts to click on the book, quickly click through to the end and pile up the pages read count for that book.
The more pages read, the bigger slice of the multi-million dollar KU pie that the scammer gets each and every month.
Amazon has been hammering away at the scammers. Unfortunately, the methods employed are also hammering innocent independent authors whose livelihood is centered on what they make selling their books on Amazon.
A handful of innocent authors have had their accounts deleted and their books removed without being able to prove their innocence.
This is making some authors question the worth of staying in the KU program. Including this author, I might add.
I would prefer Amazon jettison paying per pages read and go back to if a KU subscriber downloads the book, the author gets a set amount. No more bonuses for the top pages- read books, or most downloaded books for that matter. That would kill the financial incentive for cheating right there. Maybe even instituting an appeals process for the wrongfully-convicted-without-a-trial too?
Having yourself deplatformed by what is really the only game in town is a hard pill to swallow. Add on top of that the trolls you have to deal with on social media and at in- person events and you begin to understand why some writers are thinking of hanging it up.
Devoting the time and energy it takes to write is hard enough. Adding in the extras – marketing, dealing with Amazon issues like this one and all of the other stuff that comes with the territory – makes it a borderline soul-draining effort on more days than not.
Now, in case you think this is a woe-is-me post or that I am announcing I’m done with writing, let me state this. It isn’t a woe-is-me post and I’ll probably be writing my last paragraph even as they are slipping me inside my coffin.
But there are a lot of independent writers, like myself, out there and they are creating some fantastic reads. You probably haven’t heard of them, and that’s a shame. Because the stories they are telling are very much worth your time, effort and money to read.
Most of them, if not all, are available for less than what you spend on a cup of coffee at Starbucks. How many times a week do you hit Starbucks? Go one less time a week. Spend that money on a book written by an indie writer. We’re out there in every genre you can think of.
The money you spend on that book will last you a lot longer than that cup of joe will.
And you just may help convince a writer to soldier on with their craft and continue creating wonderful worlds we can all enjoy.
Looking for something better to spend $3.99 on? My latest novel, When The Gods Fell, is available for pre-order now. It will be released as a paperback, ebook and audiobook on September 4th. Its Game of Thrones set on Ancient Mars. Surely that beats a venti cinnamon dolce latte any day, right?