What happens when an author gives up?








It’s a question we all need to consider.

As one of  the hundreds of thousands of Indie authors who labor day in and day out to put thoughts on paper, I have a pretty good idea how difficult it is to keep going.  Most days consist of self-motivation, the sense of being driven to write something, whether anyone reads it or not.

That’s fine if writing is a hobby, an occasional pastime, in which a writer plays with words, reads a story to his grand kids, sends a letter to an anonymous newspaper editor.

But it’s a whole different matter if the author hopes to write a body of work that people buy and read.

The deck has always been stacked against such dreamers, and it is still stacked against them today. I saw a post today that lauded the recent successes of Indie authors.  It said that there are now as many as 1,000 Indie authors who sell at least 1,000 books per month.

I have also seen many articles that report the number of Indie authors working today at approximately 700,000. If these numbers are close to accurate, then we can calculate the per cent of Indie writers who sell at least 1,000 books per month. That would be 0.14%.

If we assume that the average Indie book sells on Amazon for $2.99 (and that is an optimistic estimate), and we calculate the author’s take on a thousand sales after Amazon’s commission, we come up with about $2,093.

In other words less than two-tenths of one per cent of Indie authors are  making $2,000 per month on book sales.

That’s a sobering statistic.

So, why do Indie authors keep writing in the face of such bleak prospects of financial success?

I believe there are two main reasons.

First, authors write because they must.  Writing is a terminal illness.  There is only one way out.

Second, authors write because they believe one day they will make it into that top tier.  They are so used to having to dream in order to keep writing that a big dream like having a  monster best seller is just a walk in the park for them.  Writers are professional dreamers. If one dream doesn’t come true, they dream another one.

Which brings me to the question that heads this post.

What happens when an author gives up?

The world loses a dreamer. One it can’t spare.  Writers are visionaries that look at the world and see it as it could be.  They examine ordinary things and find the miracles in them.  They stand up against injustice, beg for forgiveness, love until their hearts break.  They challenge the status quo, entertain us when we’re down, poke fun at things sacrosanct. They cross the line, stand with the little guy.  Having no ability to take up a paint brush, they wield their pens instead, sketching the yellow and brown of autumn, the bare blue cold of winter, the fertile green of spring and the red passion of summer.

That’s what happens when an author gives up.

So, my Indie writer friends, give ’em hell, and keep at it.

(Stephen Woodfin is a attorney and author of legal thrillers.  Click here to visit his Amazon author page.  It is rumored that Amazon also sells books.)

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