Wednesday, December 1, 2010

For the Fun of It

Writing is in my blood. I can’t not write. Some days it would be easier to give it up, because, face it, writing can be a very discouraging business. Rejections, broken promises, no recognition, little financial return. If you’re hoping to make a lot of money, you'd better run the other way.

I used to think it was just me, but I hear these same complaints from other writers. Lots of them. The only sane reason to write is because you love it and you can’t imagine not doing it. There are far easier ways to make money.

What I didn’t know when I first published was how much of the promoting would be on my shoulders. Publishers sometimes make some pretty big promises that are difficult to keep. They ultimately promote the books that will make them the most money. Other books are not promoted with the same verve and consequently do not make the big time. Authors are encouraged to do booksignings, school visits, literacy nights, etc. to build their pool of readers.

I love doing events, but does it really build sales? I think it would be hard to build a case that it does. I have done book signings with only a couple of sales. I thrive on chatting with people, so I do it anyway.

I especially love doing events that make a difference. I enjoy school visits. I love public speaking. I would do it even if I didn’t have a book to promote. Does it build sales? Who knows? I’m not allowed to sell my own books at such events so it would be hard to find a correlation. I am seldom invited to talk directly about my book. I usually talk about writing, about bullying, or about self-worth. It’s good stuff. There is no shameless self-promoting. Does it trickle-down? I’m not sure. We can hope.

Writing is rewarding for me. Watching a book take shape is fulfilling. Seeing it in print is satisfying. Talking about wonderful ideas with others is fulfilling, even if it doesn’t directly involve book sales. I love making a connection with my audience and seeing a light turn on in their heads. When I see that light in their eyes, I am in heaven. This doesn't feel like work to me. It's fun.

I guess that’s why I write. For the fun of it.

Linda Garner


Shari said...

Me too. I am just driven.

Charity Bradford said...

This is so true. I recently had a break down, you know the "it'll never happen" kind (getting agented/published). Do you know what cheered me up? Writing. I guess I'm a goner. :D