Every human in the world reaches a point of no return. It's not so much giving up as finally reaching that place of diminishing returns where the results just don't support the effort.
I am quickly approaching that point. Oh, not this week or the next, but soon. The signs are all there. Sales are flat-lining. I give parties and no one shows up. Most visitors to my blog and webpage are accidental and according to my meter, they leave almost before they arrive. That can't be a good thing.
Lest you think this is a whine and cheese event, I will hasten to say none of the events listed in the paragraph above are NEW. No, that's been the situation for quite a while. So why would I suddenly 'fess up? Perhaps it's simply a matter of facing reality and economics.
What is my time worth?
At least five days a week (sometimes more) I sit at my computer and write. From eight to nine I take care of business--e-mail, blog, social networking. Then from nine until around five I write. There's a break until seven-thirty and then more writing until ten. Close down the computer. Start all over the next day. So I work a minimum of forty hours a week just writing.
My income last year was six thousand dollars.
Hmmmm. Forty hours a week multiplied by fifty two weeks = two thousand eighty hours. Divide six thousand dollars by two thousand eighty and you have...? Two dollars and eighty nine cents per hour. Not exactly a stellar income.
I never expected to sell my books like a Nora Roberts or J.K.Rowling. I understand the economics of erotic romance vs. all other genres. But there's a little factor known as piracy. I hate that word. It lessens the reality. The truth is there are book thieves out there stealing from me.
The publishing world is one of the few where bold-faced thievery is tacitly condoned.
John Smith has a little woodworking business and he produces Adirondack chairs. If I decide I want one of his chairs so I just take it...good ol' John would have me arrested.
If I decided I liked your necklace and took it, you would complain loudly (and possibly have me arrested).
If you bought a book and I tucked it in my bag and walked away, you would be incensed that I made off with something you bought.
All of those instances are clearly thievery. Yet, there is a school of thought that it's okay to steal a book if it's over the internet. Yes, I know all the creative ways people have come up with to justify their thievery.
Not one person has presented a valid argument to put the resulting missing income back in my pocket. No one has a creative way to provide restitution for the loss of book royalties. And NO, I can categorically say that free books do not increase my sales in any meaningful way.
Writers seldom receive feedback. The reality is we don't get bags filled with mail extolling our books. We count ourselves fortunate (and leap around with excitement) if we receive a two sentence note from a reader saying they enjoyed our book. Really. The occasional visit to our webpage is just that. Occasional. And blogs? They seem to be dwindling at an increasing rate except for those focused on dissemination of professional information--or the most controversial ones. As for chats, I suspect they will soon disappear entirely in favor of something new.
Our feedback is the number of books we sell.
Based on my current feedback, I need to find another job.