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Why Are You An Author?

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on May 25, 2011 11:09:41 AM

You have a right to want to make money from your writing. Even better, you have a right to want to make a fortune from your writing. You deserve nothing less. J.K. Rowling has, why shouldn't you?

But (I bet you saw that "but" coming from a mile away), I implore you to not make it your primary focus.  It's no secret that writing for a living is a long, hard road to riches full of gigantic potholes. If you speed down that road, you're likely to crash and burn. Navigate the terrain carefully and keep your focus on what matters: the writing.


I know too many first-time authors who give up on writing and publishing because fame and fortune wasn't the inevitable result of having a book on the market. Years ago, I consulted with an author on his marketing strategy, and he told me he planned to sell a million copies in the first year. I hid my skepticism and asked him what his budget was. He answered that he was willing to spend a couple of thousand on advertising. I bit my lip and asked him why he thought he'd sell a million copies in the first year. He said that there wasn't a book on the market like his. It was an idea so original that it would blow people away. I tried to rein him in and reset his expectations, but he got angry with me. He refused to be discouraged, and I have to say I admired his tenacity. I wished him well and checked on his sales ranking from time to time over the year and it never got lower than the high six figures. He probably managed to sell a handful of books, but fell far short of his goal of one million. As of this writing, he's abandoned all marketing efforts and hasn't published a second book. 


What this example shows us is that the author focused on the wrong thing. He wasn't in it for the writing. He was in it for the riches. To make it as an author, you have to put your head down and barrel forward. The craft has to come first. As long as you're managing your online presence and doing everything you can to become a better writer, success will come in one of its various forms. Watch the potholes, and you'll enjoy the ride.



Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.


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