I haven’t been around long, but over the last year and a half I’ve heard some of the worst things said to me, or around me, about Indie authors. Most of the time I laugh them off, but as I’ve experienced more of it in the last few weeks than usual, I thought I’d turned the best of the worst into a blog. Here are some of the things we are asked:
How much money do you make? Do you go around asking all your friends what they earn at their jobs? This is an extremely personal question and I don’t know many people who would discuss money with acquaintance. It’s great if you’re thinking about writing a book, and want to know what to expect, but it’s still a don’t ever. You can’t expect to make what your friend does. Every author is different.
Are you successful? They are different levels of success for everyone. People also measure differently. Some by orange ribbons from amazon, others by X number of copies sold. I once made an offhand comment saying, ‘I’d kill for so and so’s fan base’ to another author and they turned it around and told me they’d kill for mine. It put things in perspective. Writing an entire book and putting it out into the public is success. What you see from the outside is not a good measure of a person’s life or career.
How do you do it? Everyone’s process is different, and an author can tell you exactly how they sit down and put words together, but chances are their method won’t completely work for anyone else. It’s a great question to ask and most don’t mind answering, but don’t expect to turn yourself into an author by following their directions step by step.
Will you help me with XYZ? (Read this as do it for me) Writers, in my experience, are some of the hardest working, self motivated people, who spend most of their free time alone with their computer. We love to help our friends and other authors, and it’s not wrong to ask for a promo spot, or a shout out, but let them offer anything else. I love answering questions, but there is no secret we are hiding. Succeeding in publishing is a lot of hard work mixed with a little luck. And we can’t help you with that. You have to motivate yourself.
Oh, you’re only self published? Then they wrinkle their nose and almost sneer and the look alone tells you how they feel about self publishing. Self published authors are real authors. There are some pretty wealthy self published authors and it can be a smart business move since, as an author you make more money for every book sold when self published.
Oh, you’re only with a tiny publisher, not a real one? This puts a bit of rage inside me. All publishers are not created equal, fine, but there are a ton of great indie publishers, who make a ton of money, and pay their authors a higher percentage. If the publisher pays their authors they are the real deal and there are benefits to going with smaller publishers.
Can you give me a copy of your book? I always want to answer with, ‘Can you work four hundred hours for your employer for free and then give me the benefits?’ As authors we do lots of giveaways, and give away copies to reputable blogs for honest reviews, but this is our job. This is how a lot of us pay the bills, and even if we were rich, this is what we work our asses off for. We deserve to get paid.
I’ll read your book if you give me a copy. See above and this makes you a dick. You are not obligated to read our books. We would love you to read them and enjoy them, but we need you to buy them. Saying you’ll read our books if we give you a copy is like saying you’ll let us fix your car, but only if we don’t charge you. This is our job. If you can spend five dollars on fast food, or coffee, or any of the other things you spend five dollars on that only last minutes you can afford to support friends by buying and reading their books then leaving a review. Don’t forget to review.
Writing a book must be easy. This one makes me almost violent. When you say this to an author you are discounting all the work they’ve done. It’s not easy to be alone with your thoughts, to keep yourself working with hundreds of other distractions, and for most of us this is our second job. We work on writing early in the morning or late at night. I have given up sleep for many years to write books. We love doing it and we put little bits of our soul into everything we right. Writing isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
Be kind and think about the words you say.
Song of the week: LA Devotee by Panic! At The Disco
To Do List:
Finish two stories.
Finish Christmas shopping.
Get ready for my brother to come.
I feel like I need to tell myself to stop slacking off. I took a few days off after NaNo, now I have to put the finishing touches on two stories and send them off to Betas. N was home all week, so I didn’t get much done. I am really going to have to get used to ignoring him while I work since he’s not working seventy hours a week anymore. Have you picked up your copy of Spencer by Kerry Heavens in paperback yet?