Monday, February 4, 2019

Failure and Success

Writers (and other creative folks) struggle with the possibility of failure and success from the moment they conceive a new project. What is their definition of failure? How will they measure success?

My personal notion of success and failure is three-fold for either direction. The book is a success if I think of a story idea, bring it to completion, and publish it. The book is a failure if no one reads it, no one buys it, and it languishes in limbo.

The Makepeace Sword (my last book) was both a failure and a success. It sold less than ten copies total and received one review so it pretty much ticked all the boxes as they say on the Great British Bake-off.

I admit it's hard to see the positives when the negatives are so glaring, but I have to laugh when some writer is bemoaning their lack of sales because they only sold two thousand copies of their book. The truth is, in the current climate, those kinds of sales are on the high end. I can count on ten fingers all the authors I know who are extremely successful.

Some say people don't read anymore. I don't think that's true. I think two things happen. Some readers don't buy books anymore, re-reading their favorite books instead. Maybe they can't afford more books. Maybe they aim for a higher standard of writing when they spend their money. The other reason books don't sell is because folks don't value the work and time it takes to write.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard from readers who think I should (A) send them a free book because they're such a fan of mine, or (B) should lower the prices on my books (approximately $3) because they're too expensive. Then I think about all the stuff people spend money on--coffee, eating out, etc. and I shake my head. There's that lack of respect for what I do.

We talk about how our money is worth less, but it's pretty much our own fault. Something for nothing? I don't think so. I long ago decided I'll write for myself. I happen to like my stories, my blogs, my memories. And maybe, just maybe, I'll choose to allow the occasional reader to buy what I write.

Blessings.

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