Today a questionnaire arrived in my email offering services to writers. Here’s how I replied:
Today is my 73rd birthday. The present that arrived from my publisher this morning was a quarterly royalty cheque — for $1.98. Economically speaking, my writing is more than a bust, it’s a major liability. However, in terms of personal satisfaction, writing has done me no end of good.
How well written are my books? Would any of the services you suggest make them better? Frankly, I doubt it, because I have a good editor, an independent (as opposed to vanity) publisher who bore the costs of editing and publishing, and have done all the good things that I’m supposed to do — social media, writers’ groups, conventions.
I’ve come to the conclusion that my books are a like wave in the ocean. I know enough about writing (I have a PhD in English Literature and a lifetime as a voracious reader of fiction) to know that my wave is a relatively good wave, and one a few people have told me is worth surfing, but it’s only one of all the innumerable others, which just keep on coming over the horizon, propelled by the inextinguishable desire of a steadily increasing number of people addicted to writing. No question that they’re a market for the services you offer. So good luck selling your wares.
I did not start writing fiction early enough to work my way into recognition by a traditional publisher which might have given my work the recognition that leads to commercial success. Or not. Commercial publication by an internationally recognized publisher is no guarantee that a book will sell even for the brief half-life of a season or so before it is remaindered and finally pulped. I console myself with the thought that Print on Demand electronic books don’t go out of print so long as there’s a hard drive somewhere with my story on it.
I’ll probably go on writing and telling stories for the satisfaction it gives me, and the occasional grin, comment and sometimes even a good review on Amazon. I’ll also keep reading them out loud, on Podiobooks, SoundCloud or whatever. But I will be unlikely to purchase anyone’s services.