This is going to be a whining post, so if you’re not in the mood for that, just stop right here.
I hear writers say all the time, “It’s not about the money, it’s about doing what I love to do.” Really? I could make myself feel better by telling myself that if I’m not making any money. But it wouldn’t solve my problem, would it? Because, yeah, it IS about the money. I don’t mean that I don’t love writing. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have started it in the first place. But I want to do this for a LIVING. The cool thing about that is I could have the best of both worlds. Do what I love AND make money doing it. And I used to. I USED to make pretty decent money writing.
A couple of years ago, I was averaging FIVE times the income I’m making now, and that was back when I had fewer books out and they were all .99. (This isn’t counting the two months where I made a LOT of money. I left that out of the average.) Now I’m lucky in some months to make even $100. It fluctuates, but every month pretty much sucks now. Yesterday, I was looking at my book sales, and I only sold about five books. What??? That was REALLY bad. When ebooks and self-publishing were first getting started, it was so much easier to sell books. Now, readers have to slog through THOUSANDS of books to even find mine. In January of 2011, my novella, Guardian Vampire, got up to #134 in the Amazon store. That was pure euphoria. I’ve written several books since then that are so much better than GV, but they’ll never see that kind of success. There’s too much competition.
So how do you get people to find your books? I haven’t a clue. I took out an ad in IndTale magazine. I haven’t seen ANY results from that. I did a couple of other things, but they didn’t pan out either. And I can’t afford ads in more well-known venues. I’m terrible at self-promotion. With a full-time job, it’s hard to even have time for that.
This is the bottom line. Should I keep doing this? Will the writers who aren’t really serious about publishing, who are just dabbling, finally stop when they don’t make money, and trim down the competition? Everyone has a right to write and publish, so I’m not suggesting ANYONE stop publishing if that’s what they want to do. But I keep thinking some people will just get tired of it. I’m almost there myself. Not because I’m not serious about this, but because I AM serious about this…as a business. If I’m not making money writing, shouldn’t I pursue something else? “But, but, Lauralynn! You love writing! Keep doing it even if you’re not making money!” No. Because I NEED a business that makes money. And I can’t keep writing AND do something else AND do my full-time job. It’s a time thing. I need to spend my time in a productive manner. I don’t WANT to live paycheck to paycheck. I have $11 in my regular checking account (not my business one) and my mortgage was due on March 1. My husband will lose about 2 weeks pay because of his broken ankle. I need to be doing something in addition to my full time job so this kind of thing doesn’t happen.
Yes, I know I’ve probably shared more than I should have today. No one should have to hear about my financial woes. But this is MY blog. And I need to vent here.
End of rant.