cash poor, but book rich ~ 8/5/2010

Stereotypes abound for every type of person, occupation, and general interest. Well, writers aren’t immune. The one I’m here to de-bunk today is this: that a person who has written a book and published it will then be awarded with accolades and be profitable beyond their wildest dreams. That is, of course, if the work is any good. Well, the awful truth is that a book can be good and still not garner praise or make any money for its creator. Even worse, a book can be bad and make a person millions.

As a newbie to this self-publishing business, I’m constantly reminded that my work is adrift upon a sea of billions, and it is my sole duty to spread the word, shout from the rooftops, and pimp my product. For some, this may sound like a fun challenge. For me, however, it’s an irritating distraction. Don’t get me wrong. I do enjoy chatting with fellow bibliophiles and sharing the fact that I’m a writer. And I must admit that every book sale puts an added spring in my step. Whether it be on-line, in a store, or face to face, the feeling is always the same – pride and excitement that yet another person will be reading my work. And that, my friend, never gets old.

Sadly, what does get old is the ever-present struggle to find new marketing avenues and research possible strategies. If it was all I had to do, I’m sure I would enjoy it. However, while in the midst of an all-out “power-edit” and self-imposed deadline to publish my next book, The Choice Not Taken (Fall 2010!), I find myself in fits of fury over the need to continually market the old book. Of course, my solution is to ignore it in favor of this current project. Alas, this can only work for the short term, because too much wasted time equals no new readers.

I have ideas rushing through my head for ways to increase the visibility of what I’m trying to do here, and I need to do many of them if I want to survive in this highly-competitive arena. For the awful sad truth is that I have yet to turn a profit. An even sadder reality is that I may never make money nor recover my “investment” in this venture. But I don’t really care about all that. My attention is focused on getting this second book in print and building a body of work of which I hope my marketing efforts begin to pay off in the long-term.

And so tonight, as I nurse my poor little boy to health from a fever, stomach upset, and headache, I cradle him closer – as I’ve been doing most of the day – and look over his peaceful face while he finally rests. For while I do this, I am reminded of why I began this journey in the first place – so I may one day have that same feeling of contentment as I look back over a long and productive writing career.

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