Hi there, guys and dolls! This week I heard from a talented writer friend that I highly admire who was unfortunately down in the dumps, and quite frankly it made me a little sad. They were doubting their ability as a storyteller, not basing it on a lack of creativity, ideas or responses from readers, but on sales, or the lack thereof. This terrific and prolific author feels that it must be because they are bad at the craft and they are planning to let their hard worked creations go for less than a song, all in the name of self doubt, rooted in numbers. I say, in the warmest way, fiddle faddle to that.
Yours truly (and my writer alter egos) are names and not a number. Writing is about telling a story, not adding up numbers in some skewed popularity contest. Fleeting rankings and sales figures do not mean a book is good or bad. Publishing these days is like the wild west, which has its positive and negative sides, where great works that may have been overlooked now reach readers, but also ones that should not see the light of day end up on bookshelves. It has led to a glut in the marketplace and with the birth of the mcnovel capitalizing on the novelty aspect of Kindle, with some books being produced without any attention to detail and some others being just cut and paste mashups of others’ hard work and original thought. Now of course, there are some great stories that are popular as well, but just because a book is not in the top ten does not mean it shouldn’t be. Marketing can be smart, but not always perfect and does not reflect the value of the product, and comparing all the items available in such a schmozzle is degrading and futile.
I say to my friend, myself and my other fellow writers who are truly in the craft for the love of it, hang in there. Offer your work at a fair price, believe in your value, know your work, and have gratitude for those who do appreciate you. Connect with those you admire and keep writing what you are inspired to tell. Let the rest fall by the wayside. When the fickle give up (and they always eventually do), you will remain, satisfied that you did.