Where’s My Immediate Gratification?

The Slough of Despond
The Slough of Despond


The book business is like the tortoise and the hare.

Hurry, hurry, hurry.  Plod, plod, plod.

The reality of it is that the plodding is a lot more prevalent than the sprints.

I have seen a number of blogs recently about the components of success in Indie publishing. A recurrent theme is that an author who hopes to realize a decent modicum of sales, however she defines “decent modicum,” must have multiple titles in her portfolio.

That’s easier said than done.

A few writers are able to open the spigot and pour thousands of words per day on a page.  This feat allows them to produce three, four, five, six books a year, a never ending supply of new content for their eager fans.

I am not one of those guys.

Writing for me is not necessarily a slow slog, although my output of words in the last year has not kept up with that of the last few years.  However, even in the best of times I take approximately six months to complete a first draft.  I’m not a big re-writer, so that first draft becomes a final draft in a month or so after I type “The End” initially on the manuscript.

Still that means I seldom will produce more than two books per year, and I may be lucky to complete one.

A creative output on that scale is the tortoise in today’s fast-paced world of digital books. I feel like a Amish person in a horse-drawn buggy on the shoulder of the Interstate. watching cars fly past me at eighty miles per hour.

After the creation of the book comes the other slow  motion activity.

Finding a way to sell it.

New writers harbor the naive notion that when they finish their first book, they are on the fast track to author stardom.

One or two of them in a million may be right.  The rest are destined for disappointment.

Not because their books aren’t good.

Some of them are good.

Very good.

Some stink to high heaven.

But regardless of the quality of the book’s writing, the tome will languish in obscurity unless the author uses every available promotional tool at her disposal to get the word out about it.

In other words, books are in the realm of delayed gratification.  They may sit on a digital shelf for months, or even years before a reader stumbles upon them.

During that period of latency, the author must redouble her efforts to stick with the writing gig. That’s the writing slough of despond, the period when her baby goes unnoticed, uncared for, while she births another one.

Maybe the book will never find the readership it deserves.

But just maybe it will.




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