Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Ongoing Question: Why Do We Do It?

This business of writing and publishing can sometimes - often - be frustrating. From plotting the story to getting it into readers' hands, the path is lined with every possible obstacle you can think of...and many you never did imagine. Sometimes it seems like everyone and everything is working against you.

The voices in your head - your characters - go off and do something that screws up all your plans. A great plot twist dwindles into a sorry excuse for tension because it just won't work. And once you've got the story as awesome as it can be, the industry itself seems to erect a thousand locked doors and each time you finally find the key to one, there stand another thousand behind it.

Why do we do it? Are we into self-abuse? Do we not feel alive unless we're constantly being pummeled from all sides? Do we enjoy frustration and misery so much that we feel the need to seek them out?

I highly doubt it. After all, we're all intelligent, hopeful, hard-working, dedicated and (mostly) functional beings. We do it because we can't help it. We have to! There's some inner fire that just can't be extinguished, regardless of how many people - including ourselves - pour buckets of water over it, trying to douse the flames. In fact, this only fuels the fire for many of us.

With all the great events going on in my life right now, there are still many obstacles in my path. I can't say that it gets easier or harder once you have a book or two under your belt. You just have to deal with new frustrations...while many of the old ones never do go away. It's definitely exciting, but they are still challenges that need to be dealt with. And sometimes it all gets overwhelming.

And I still wonder, Why am I doing this? Taking the route of self-publishing takes you out of the rat-race of competing for agents and publishers and plunges you right into the big marathon of winning over readers. In some ways, it's a lot easier than dealing with all those industry peeps. But in other ways, it's a lot harder. So you can't help but ask yourself, Is it worth it?

Then my bloggy friend Heather posts this, which eventually led me to this. Brenda has researched and compiled some telling numbers about advances and royalties from many publishers. And I realized that I'm not doing so badly after all. In fact, my earn-out so far is more than many of those on there...with less than three months on the market. If authors with publisher backing do that and keep on truckin', then I definitely need to. So check it out. It's eye-opening, that's for sure.

And it makes us go back to that question: Why do we do it? Again...because we have to. We can't not do it. The money, the rewards, the enthusiasm from readers...those are just icing on the cake.

Agree? Disagree? What do you think about those numbers?


  1. The world of publishing is changing so much. I think the playing field between traditional publishing and self-publishing is slowly becoming level.

  2. I didn't realize you self-published. I'm starting to clue in that there are a few of my blogger friends who are doing this. I certainly wouldn't mind hearing more about how you approached this process.

  3. i write because i would feel so dead if i didn't.

  4. I'm with Eric. And I'd also like to know how you decided to self-publish. More and more, I'm thinking of doing it myself.


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