I thought I’d need a broom to sweep the shattered remains of my husband’s lower jaw off the floor when I told him I wanted to quit my job and write a book. Instead, with Mark’s usual forbearance, I observed only an audible gulp and a hesitant nod of agreement. In that instant, the detritus that came from years of guarded exchanges and soul-preserving caution came to an end. I hadn’t realized how heavy my former job had become until it lifted away.
On to writing. Blissful days filled with building fantasy worlds, creating mayhem, and plotting devious obstacles—my idea of time well spent. For months, I enjoyed the truly marvelous freedom to create. Days flew by in an intoxicating haze of what Csikszentmihalyi calls, Flow. Then, one day it tragically stopped. I wrote the two most insidious words known to authors: The End!
Writing was easy. Now the work begins. Navigating the world of publishing feels like a trap-filled maze. James Dashner must have used it as inspiration for his book, The Maze Runner. I had foolishly hoped, like most new authors, to be discovered by a big publishing house and leave all the editing, printing, selling and distribution to them. I was wrong. To make matters worse, I read a helpful ebook by Amy Collins called, The Write Way (2016). Her book gives statistics from Nielson Bookscan, a company that tracks book sales. I nearly pulled out and polished my resume. She states: (I’ll add these verbatim to avoid misinterpretation)
Each year, only two to five books sell more than a million copies each.
Less than 1 percent of the books published this year sold more than 500 copies.
This year, major TV stars went on daytime talk shows, hawked their wares, showed up on NPR and still sold less than a few thousand books.
The vast majority of books published by major publishing houses lose money. Far more books published by small presses lose money. More than 80% of books published lose money.
Pssst - don’t show these to Mark.
My bliss-filled days feel almost nostalgic whenever I open Wix to work on my webpage, or visit Reedsy to submit requests for quotes from editors and illustrators. But, for now I plan to plod, hop, sprint, and muddle on through the world of publishing. The good news: I’m already working on a new book. I can’t wait to hear what you think of Linden, my rather angsty Norse maiden, and her antics with the gods. Needless to say, I’ve never been happier than when I’m writing, and you can’t put a price on that. In the immortal words of Albert Einstein:
“Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible”
Fine words to write by.
I hope you will continue to join me as I wade through this new endeavor. As an incurable introvert it’s a little daunting to put myself out there, but I've never lacked courage to try something new, so why start now. Take care and stay tuned.