I can spend as much time as I want creating whatever. I can draw, paint, write, sing, or dance. It doesn’t matter what I’m creating because it falls in the same category: worthless.
That’s how society has explained it. And no one wants to spend hard earned money on something they can do. Everyone can write a story, draw a picture, paint a painting, sing a song, or dance a dance. Seriously, society has told everyone it’s possible. And I won’t lie: it is. But there is a difference between saying you can do it and doing it all the time. Still, this mentality makes what I do as a writer cheap and easy. I make others upset because I can pull off a first draft better than many published books, but whatever, everyone can write a book.
I even support “everyone can write a novel” Nanowrimo.
Most Octobers you will see a post by me talking about my plans. In the same post, I explain I have never failed. Why? Because at my level, failing to reach 50k in one month on one story is complete insanity. The only reason I wouldn’t succeed is if the one story doesn’t reach 50k. I would complete it, though. I have done the 50k in a week; I have written a full novel in 10 days. Nanowrimo would have been hard as a middler schooler or maybe high schooler, but not now. I’m over a million words written; writing 50k in a month is a piece of cake.
None of those words are useful to me. I love them. Or I love most of them. I have gotten rid of many worthless words replacing them with a higher grade. Writing though has always been just a waste of time. It still is. I may have published multiple stories, but that means nothing. Those who read them tell me they’re good/great stories. But unless the stories get out of my immediate circle, I’m screwed. I will never make a profit. Do writers ever make a profit?
A recent article says all authors included gets the average income at 6k a year. I’m probably excluded from those numbers since I don’t even reach the minimum to tell the government. 6k is the average for those who made money. Even for full time professional writers it was measly: 20k a year. For a full time job without any benefits, 20k isn’t gonna cut it. (De León)
Writers and other creatives do not make any profit or income or money from creating. Actually taking time to create is the opposite of making money. The only way to make a profit in this world is to market.
Now for a creative like musician, singer, or dancer, they need their work in front of people. They have to have a “stage presence”. And that stage presence is more important than their ability to play. Unless, they get a group going. Hiding within a mass makes you able to offer your creativity without needing a strong stage presence. Real profit though comes from that stage presence. Name a singer, dancer, or musician who doesn’t have a good stage presence. Guess what else they don’t have? Fame. Fame makes money. The creative process offers NOTHING.
For those of us who do our creative process in the dark (hidden away from the public), all that time working on the process offers us nothing. Many of us hidden creatives struggle with interaction. That’s why we took to our art since it takes us away from the public. We could finally explain our feelings or explain how we’d handle the circumstances. That’s why we spent countless hours being creative.
Since we cannot create our own fame, we need someone who can. Or to learn the ability. Those who come with the ability can sell themselves easily. I find those are literally the worst written books on the shelf, but they’re best sellers. Because the name sold them. That’s part of the reason why many creatives need “middle men”. The editors, publishers, and agents are the middle men in writing. They are there to become the marketers. They only make money if the book sells, that means it’s worth something to them to make your name famous.
Authors now create social existences and keep it up either on their own or through another middle man. They get a collection of fans to be their street team telling everyone they know about a new book or their favorite. Free promotions seem to be the only other way to really get an unknown author any level of trust. In the free books category, though, you are among a long list of books to be read.
I have given plenty of free books out to my friends and family (as well as strangers on the internet). Those who get back to me have loved my work (or at least thought it was good for the genre they didn’t like). But they didn’t go write a review. For Amazon, if you do not have a ton (close in on triple digits) of reviews, even lame ones, you gain nothing from their platform. I can easily find my books, but that’s because I seek them specifically. They won’t show up in any other results. Many other companies will make it harder on you by putting a premium on consideration beyond normal. Paying for ads on a website make you the most important.
On top of that, I do not write for writers. I hate the fact writing groups are where you can really make sales. Because not only are you in a TBR pile, you are expected to have everything up to perfection more than an average reader. I write for the casual reader, or the new reader. I try for simple sentences and easy vocabulary. Look back at my blog posts. Are they full of fancy writing? No. I do throw in a few bigger words, but still someone with an average third grade reading level could handle my stories as long as they can handle the topic and length.
I’m venting. Being a writer means the world to me. My creativity offers me an outlet I cannot find elsewhere. My health denies me a proper job. Being an author is a job I have put a lot of time into and really have gotten nothing out of. So many good writers give up publishing because it offers them nothing. I cannot help.
I am worthless as a creative and a member of society. Ask anyone. In this world, your worth is the amount of money in your bank account not the benefits you could offer society. There is no way I can fight that either. I’ll keep writing. I’ll keep publishing. Maybe one day, my value will be known. Probably not.
De León, Concepción. “How Much Do Writer’s Make?” The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/05/books/authors-pay-writer.html (A version of this article appears in print on Jan. 7, 2019, on Page B5 of the New York edition with the headline: How Much Do Writers Make?)
At least my cat loves me. (Nugget is taking a bath right next to me as I cry while writing this post.)
Love what you see and hate hearing of my failings? Buy my books and write reviews. I have a paypal, but… That seems wrong. To ask people to just hand me money. I would be open to make you something in exchange. Send me an email about a request. firstname.lastname@example.org