Journal Entry Type #82: A Good Reminder for Writers

            It’s easy to get into the trap of thinking I will write the next great American novel, or I will write the next great novel to be translated into hundreds of languages and bought in every tiny corner of the world.  The good news is that having this dream is a possibility although quite rare.  The bad news is publishing companies are shrinking and the variety of books has increased due to self-publishing writing platforms.  The chance of instant fame is tantamount to growing wings and flying on your own back in the day was slim and now it doesn’t hardly exist at all.  Yes, there are some exceptions to the rule but unless your writing is a cash cow, well it won’t happen.

            Don’t lose hope if you are a writer because now that I’m in my forties and not getting any younger, I’ve learned and accepted my fate.  I will probably die a self-published writer.  I will be lucky to sell 250 to 300 books before I call it quits and hopefully write all my story ideas.  Not all self-published writers have a gigantic platform on which thousands of people will buy their books.  I’d say less than a quarter of those followers will even think once of buying a self-published book, but as humans we try anyway.  It’s hard enough to be writing a book and getting it out there.  Who has time to read a book?  Seriously, who has the damn time when you are a writer yourself, but it’s important to read. 

            Self-publishing doesn’t come cheap either.  If you want a decent novel, you need to pay for editing.  If you want a decent novel, you need to pay or create a cover that doesn’t look gaudy.  All your hard work may amount to a few book sales so it’s more important than ever to really believe in your writing but more believe in your need to write your novella or novel.  Nothing is guaranteed especially book sales.  This sounds quite realistic but it’s the best advice I’ve learned and that is to keep your expectations low on what you sell and think about ways to drum up interest around your book(s).  With most anything with lasting influence or rewards, you need longevity within yourself and loyalty among readers/buyers.  We truly are our worst critic and while you ask yourself why I can’t be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephanie Meyer, well you probably could.  The better question to ask is are you up for the task.  Are you ready for the many rewrites and deadlines that comes with it?  It’s easy to get down on yourself for not being in the same spot as any one of the richest authors in the world, but then you wouldn’t be you.  We can’t all be famous and rich writers, but we can all be writers if we want to be.

            I’ll always remember what someone told me.  He said the smartest person he ever met was a homeless man.  It reminds me of a classmate who was poor and book smart.  He easily could’ve gone to an Ivy League university but because of his upbringing, he ended up not continuing his education.  It’s a shame so with this in mind, I’m more committed to executing my goals.  It might not lead to the perfect outcome I’ve dreamt about, but I will not stop from pursuing my interests and passions either.  I’m meant to be writer and if a few of my books can impact the readers, I will have done my job. Forget the millions of profit you could get from book sales. It probably won’t happen. Forget the millions of books you could sell at the end of your writing career. It probably won’t happen. The measure of success comes in many forms. Write good stories and whatever is meant to happen will happen.

            If you’re dying to know who some of the richest writers are, those still alive, they are below.  I looked on some web lists and these writers were often repeated. The sources were Forbes, Money Inc, The Richest, and Wealthy Gorilla. If you become one of them, I’ll be the first one to congratulate you and add you to the list. Keep living, keep dreaming, and most of all keep writing.

France - Elisabeth Badinter 	
United Kingdom - J.K. Rowling
United States - James Patterson
United States - Stephen King
United States - Nora Roberts
United States - Danielle Steel
United Kingdom - Barbara Taylor Bradford
United Kingdom - Nigel Blackwell
United States - R.L. Stine
United States - John Grisham
United Kingdom - Jeffrey Archer
United States - Dan Brown
Nigeria - David Oyedepo
United States - Dean Koontz
United States - Stephanie Meyer
United Kingdom - Paul McKenna
United Kingdom - Christopher Little 
United Kingdom - Jack Higgins 
United States - Deepak Chopra
United States - Janet Evanovich
United States - Suzanne Collins
United States - Clive Cussler
United States - Meg Cabot
United Kingdom - E.L. James
United Kingdom - Ken Follett

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