It’s back to the Battle of the Keyboard. I’m in the process of finishing and rewriting three novels (sigh). There are a lot of positive things about having several writing projects going on at the same time. If you get to an impasse on one, you have others to go to. In my case, by the time I’m ready to resume writing on the book I’ve suspended work on, I’ve always found an answer to my problems and can attack with enthusiasm. But when all your current projects are finishing at the same time……..Well, priority becomes an issue. So, I’ll give all three a little time off and work on the “business” connected to being an author.
When most people embark on a writing career, they don’t realize how much of their time is going to be dedicated to those activities that don’t add a word toward the completion of that novel, that biography, or that cookbook. Whether you’re published by a traditional publisher as I am, or are brave enough to enter the self-publishing jungle, I find I spend all most as much time working with editors, marketing, speaking, etc. as I do producing product. It’s hard work.
One thing I hear constantly from would be writers is they see being an author as a cushy job, where they stay home and they’re the boss, do little beside sit behind a keyboard, and make LOTS of money. Those folks are living in world as unrealistic as Alice’s Wonderland. To get where the dreams they have are possible, the work they do on writing and on the business of writing must be super intense. Most are competing in the fiction arena. That is one of the most intensively competitive markets in the world.
Some comparative facts: There are approximately 150 college football teams that produce and graduate 3200 players that potentially could play in the NFL each year. There are about 1760 players in the NFL – close to 15% of those jobs become open yearly – that’s 264. In other words, a player has one chance in twelve. Tough odds!
To make the money most writers envision, they’d have to be among that elite group of “A” & “B” novelists. That’s a list of 800 plus or minus a few. However, it’s estimated there are 6.5 million people writing novels in the US. each year. That number is growing as people who make their money off writers dreams sell treasure maps to the unsuspecting. What this means is you have one chance in 8125. If you’re big enough or fast enough you might consider a try out for the NY Giants. You have a 677 to 1 times better chance of making it. If the numbers from marketing journals aren’t correct by half, it’s still an astronomical long shot. (Non-fiction is a considerably better – There’s less competition because there is lots of research in most non-fiction books and many writers shy away from the “w” word – work.)
But, that said, there are individuals that make it every year. If you have the stomach for the rejection involved or the patience to produce a properly edited, thoughtful, and exciting self-published work you can do it. (Please….if you’re self published DON’T throw your book out into the market unless its professionally edited and is thoroughly rewritten – The wonderful potential of self-publishing is drowning in the sea of shit created by “authors” tossing out books(?) that aren’t ready for “pubing.” – there’s more manure out there than one would find in a New York City sewer.)
Now some GOOD news. For all you Florida writers, check this blog and my web site. In the next ten days to two weeks I’ll be making an announcement about an exciting event I’m sure you’ll want to know about.