I’ve seen a number of posts lately with writers dismayed at the state of the industry and their careers. Which actually, I’ve been hearing ever since I got into this business. Not much new except for the details.
It’s always been hard. I’ve been writing for a living for 30 years. Across the board: trad, hybrid, indie, Amazon Publishing, stone etchings, you name it.
Here’s my take on Amazon, having worked with them from the beginning. Read The Everything Store. Understand Jeff Bezos. He’ll cut your heart out if it suits his winning. HOWEVER– before Amazon, self-pubbing was a joke. A lot of us are making good money off of kindle and all the assorted links. Does it mean we don’t consider changes to our business model? No. I’m constantly revamping my business model. Trad authors have to seriously factor in the possibility of Barnes and Noble going under. That will devastate the trad middle list, which is already teetering. Amazon changing royalties or firing the Death Star needs to be factored in.
Quitting? Not a possibility. As Terry Gilliam said: creative people need mule-like stupidity. I’ve got that in spades.
Yeah– no one is blogging about terrible sales like they were about great sales during the Golden Age of indie publishing. There are very, very few authors who have not seen revenue drop, whether indie or traditional or hybrid or stone-etching. In fact, I’m limiting social media more and more because all you see are the success stories touted. It can get you down. But we never know the true story behind the story. As they say in the artillery: looked good from here, but that story might not be so good in reality. The only story I really know is my own (although, to be more accurate, the story my wife tells me is my story).
Bottom line, it is still the best time ever to be a writer: all that stands between the writer and the reader is the internet. We get to choose the channels we use to get there, but WE GET TO CHOOSE. Then the reader chooses our level of success in financial terms.
From those stone-etching days into the future, the world will always need story-tellers. That’s our job. More importantly, it’s our passion.