The writer’s life

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Today I’m thankful, as I am every single day, for the many fans out there who actually buy my books. I love you all!

It seems a lot of people have an idea that authors lead a glamorous life. I’m here to dispel that image for you. There are very few authors who reach the top of the “glamorous life” heap. Those would be people like Stephen King, Nora Roberts, J.K. Rowling and others. Don’t get me wrong! They earned that status. They worked hard to get where they are today and they work hard to stay there. So do the rest of us.

For years my writing life has consisted of getting up early and being at my computer to start my day’s work at 9:00 a.m., taking breaks throughout the day. I’m usually back in bed around 10:30 or 11:00 pm., only to get up again around 2 a.m. for another writing session that lasts until around 5:30 or 6:30 a.m. Then another short sleep session until time to get up at 9:00 a.m. Makes for a long day of work.

I try to schedule all my “errands” (read doctors’/dentist appointments and the like) on the same day so I only lose a little time on those days instead of several days. I do take my iPad with me so I can work while I wait. Once those appointments are done, it’s back to my home office and the writing continues. You may be lucky enough to have an 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. job.

The hard part of being a writer is I only get paid when the book is done and you, my faithful fans, buy it. Once the publisher gets paid, along with the cover artists and all the other people who have a hand in the book’s finished creation, it leaves very little for the author. Thus, we have to continue putting more and more books out there in order to make a minimum wage existence.

So you see, a writer’s life is not in the least glamorous.

After I work hard to create the book, then comes the really hard stuff. I have to get out there and sell the book myself. Publishers are in the business to make money for themselves. Who can blame them? Everyone is in business to make money for themselves. But, when it comes down to promoting the small authors, well, that’s left up to the small authors.

I mean, you’ve heard of Stephen King, Nora Roberts, J.K. Rowling and those at the top, right? When they were small time authors though, you never heard of them. They had to do their own promotional work just like the rest of us. When their hard work began to pay off and their books began to fly off the shelves, then the publishers jumped on the bandwagon and started advertising them and sending out promotional materials to bookstores and other places. The publishers fed the frenzy the authors had themselves created.

None of that is done for me or any other unknown author. We have to spend our own money in order to hand you a bookmark, or a business card, or any other promotional item we may choose. We have to buy the gasoline to get us to the book signings we set up ourselves. It all comes out of our own pockets.

Now, with the birth of e-books, authors are expected to give away copies of their books for free. Giving away an author’s work for free is the equivalent of any artist giving their work away for free. Can you imagine a painter handing out free copies of their paintings, or someone who does metal sculptures handing their sculptures away – free!

When an author gives away their work for free, there are potentially millions of copies flying out the e-window. I can just see some poor unknown painter painting millions of paintings, setting them on their front lawn and saying to the world, okay, come get one – it’s free. How about doing the same thing with the metal sculptures or other artistic works?

There is no such thing as “free.” Someone always pays. In the case of an artist, it’s the artist who always pays.

So, I am very grateful for each and every fan I have who plunks down their hard earned cash to purchase a copy of my book. Today, at least, this author has food on the table and a roof over her head. It’s not fancy food and it’s not a fancy roof but I’m not hungry, cold or wet. Today, I am thankful for you, my wonderful fans.

And unlike the well known author who, while casually walking through a book festival, told one of her fans she could not be bothered to autograph her book, I can be bothered, anywhere, anytime. Even if I’m in an outdoor Kybo with my pants around my ankles – stick a copy of one of my books and a pen through the door and I’ll autograph it for you! Because I’m just thrilled to have you as a fan of mine! And this is me, giving you a huge “thank you” hug!