It’s Not Getting Easier

Being a writer is full of fun and promise when you sit down and start writing your story. I didn’t start out to be a writer. It was never my life dream. I wanted to be the best elementary school teacher there ever was. And my first year was wonderful. My second year was even better. My third year I got moved from teaching first grade to fourth, and teaching became more challenging. SO many subjects to teach! So many kids at different levels of achievement. And believe me, that matters. It takes students with D levels of mentality three months to learn what an A level student might learn in a few days. Add that up with five years of education, and that poor student is WAY behind. But I still loved it.

Writing had sort of a similar journey. I took a class, WRITING FOR FUN AND PROFIT. I turned in an assignment, and my teacher said, “You can sell this.” And two weeks later, I did. Happiness! I started writing short stories and found homes for a lot of them. More happiness. Then I decided to try a novel. OMG. What was I thinking?

I’d send in books. You could back then, and editors would look at them with no agent required. And I’d get wonderful letters back, telling me they loved my writing, but this wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. Over and over again. The letters helped sustain me. The rejections were discouraging. It seemed like I was always writing the wrong thing at the wrong time. The markets were glutted. Cozies were dead. Serial killers were a dime a dozen. Then I got a nibble. Then I got another one, and they gave me hope. But let’s face it, I’d have made more money if I made $2/ht. as a waitress. And there aren’t too many waitresses who get rich. I know. That’s what I did for my first two years of going to college. I worked as a checkout girl for a grocery store for my next two years. They don’t get rich either.

There are a lot of jobs in this world that are hard work and people put in lots of hours and don’t always make much money. Writing is one of them. Yes, there are the authors who sell thousands of books. They make a great living. But that doesn’t happen to most of us. A lot of us struggle to find enough readers to make it worth all the effort.

The thing is, we still write. Maybe it’s an addiction. I’m not sure. But we all have hope that someday, we’ll click and sell more books. But there are SO many authors and books out there now, it’s getting harder to find an audience. I listen to some of my fellow authors and it’s discouraging. A fellow blogger, Jan Sikes, wrote about how hard it is lately. I read her blog and wondered, is it true there are fewer readers? Or are there just so many more writers and books offered up each year?

What do you think? Have you found new authors downloading free books? Do you ever really READ the free books if it’s an author you don’t know? That’s not a leading question. My Kindle has lots of free books on it that I’ve never gotten to. I read my favorite authors first. These days, TIME has almost become more valuable than money. Do you agree? How do you decide what books to read? How does a new author tempt you enough for you to give him/her a try? I’d love to hear what you think!

10 thoughts on “It’s Not Getting Easier

  1. Heh, it was never easy to begin with 😀 …
    I don’t think there are fewer readers, if anything I’d say since Covid readership has gone through the roof. What has changed, changed permanently, and radically, is HOW people read … or to be more specific how people consume digital media …(which, of course, isn’t something trad publishers are willing to fully engage with – they just want to make their squillions on their backlist titles and corporate mergers)
    … we need to understand audiobook marketing strategies … also, licencing opportunities, (streaming services of all stripes are always looking for new stuff) among many new, and old technologies that are out in the world now, for good or ill 🙂
    … to answer you last questions though … aside from recommendations through various ways and means, newesletters/etc, if a completely new author catches my attention, it’s because they’ve caught my eye first with cover art.
    The only thing I’m willing to spend money on as an indie author is just that, cover art.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for elaborating on my post and for including the link to it here, Judi. It’ definitely a hard dilemma, and many writers are throwing in the towel, saying it’s not worth the effort anymore. I don’t feel that way but I am definitely discouraged about the marketing aspect of our work. Lots of questions, but no answers.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First I love your Jazzi Zander books. I’m a faithful reader of that series.
    Second I think the self-publishing business’ ease of publishing has caused a flood of books, over saturating the market. You now have even more need of marketing to get your book(s) before eyes. Otherwise your book just gets lost in the flood.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I participated in the behind-the-scenes conversation with Jan, and commented on her blog. We are not just competing with other books. Every other form of distraction has to be considered. People seem to find time in smaller bits these days. Ten minutes might be great for TikTok, but it doesn’t allow enough to get engaged in a novel. I have no answers and have to be satisfied when a few people enjoy my stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are a lot of distractions out there, and yes, there is way too much competition. But I keep writing because I love to write. I’m glad I don’t have to make a living at it, because I’d be on poverty row!

    Liked by 1 person

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