I write because I love the art of writing. When my first novel was published in 2006, I felt accomplished. I’d reached a lifelong dream. I was eager to promote myself as an author and to tell everyone about my book. I was with a smaller publisher which taught me a lot about editing and marketing. At the time, I had a lucrative office job, and spent my lunch hours and evening hours writing.
Publishing was different then. Marketing was just beginning through social media and online groups. I was able to remain faceless while interacting through blog hopping, and pretending to be my characters in online promotions. So much fun! I dreamed of retiring from my day job and writing full-time.
Years passed, and self-publishing arrived on the scene. My writing group was adamant about being part of the Romance Writer’s of America organization. I had to pay dues to RWA and to my local writing group. But I had made the decision to branch out on my own and be in charge of my own career. I still don’t know if it was the right move or not, but I can tell you there is a lot of knowledge a writer needs before deciding to self-publish. You can’t just write something and shove it out there. Oh, you can, but those are the kinds of publications which began to give self-published authors a bad rep. The members of my writing group looked at me as someone inferior because I wasn’t seeking a publisher through the traditional routes.
Still, I hung on and did my own thing. Mostly because I retired and had new responsibilities with taking care of my mother who now lived with us and my husband who became very ill. I didn’t need deadlines. After suffering the loss of my mother, then my husband, and soon thereafter, my son, I found writing didn’t offer the joy it once did. I struggled along and published a few books, but no longer was I doing any marketing. Eventually, I decided to fully retire and took my books off market.
In 2022, I felt the desire to write more than my blogs. I picked up a book idea from the past and soon it was a published novel. But I didn’t have the money or the drive to do any marketing. Books that aren’t properly marketed will not survive in the overly saturated self-published sea of novels. My close contacts purchased my books, and some even left reviews, along with a handful of strangers who read the book through Kindle Unlimited. My career fell flat. Now as I am writing another book in the series I planned, I am discouraged when I see my published novels are not producing reads.
It discourages me, though I still have the desire to continue writing stories. What will I do with this? I’m on the fence. On one hand, if I remove the books from publication, I won’t have to worry about the small income when tax time comes. On the other hand, I want to think each book is meant to reach one person and hopefully provide hope and open eyes to how God can work in our lives.
Writing can be a wonderful ride but can also get stuck along the tracks of life. What does a writer do when retirement becomes the driving force? What do we do with the stories in our head or he need to feel the pressure of the keys on a keyboard and words filling the blank white space?