Blog No. 26 by novelist Jeremy Logan -- So, You Want To Be A Writer
Now that I've been at this for a few years, I've come to understand how difficult it is to be commercially successful. I recently read a report that researched the odds of making a living from writing. It was depressing. In 2012, there were an estimated 150,000 books published by American authors. Less than 1% made a profit from the sales. Jeesh!
This is tough business that is in a transitional phase, like all print media. Due to digital books the cost of entry has been lowered, thereby increasing the number of persons giving it a try. More writers, though, haven't translated into more revenue. In fact, the publishing business is in decline. Fewer publishing houses exist, and more are going out of business than in it. Profits are down, and the salaries of the employees are declining. More unsuccessful writers are looking for work in the publishing industry, which means there is a glut in qualified workers, just not enough jobs.
Fewer workers translate into less time to find new blood. Instead, publishers ignore new talent regularly to they can concentrate on sure things like celebrities and known commodities, which don't require time to develop.
Another new phenomena is that successful writers are now competing among themselves for any opportunity to become more profitable. That means they spend more of their time promoting their work; appearing on television and radio, speaking at book festivals, and now recently--appearing at local book-signings. The local book signings used to be reserved for upcoming authors. And now with so few bookstores, venues for author events are becoming strange and random. I picked up the Sunday paper the other day to look for the notices for author appearances. I found them at car washes, art stores and malls.
So, this leaves the rest of us to fight it out for any intention at all. That means that finding opportunities to promote my work must be full-time job. Before I began to write I was not a social media person. Now I have a blog, Facebook and Twitter accounts, and I'm looking for more. One of the caveats, however, is that you will hear from me more, but it will be more of a commercial message than a social visit. Also, I'm having my blog feed in directly to my Facebook timeline. Please forgive the blatant commercialism of some of the messages. I will be trying to not be so obvious.
I bet you're wondering how this impacts my time for writing. It's a definite inhibiter. For the time-being, I'm not altering the creative process. I'd rather have my novels take a longer time for production than to try to write them faster. Wish me luck