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Old 07-06-2012, 01:32 PM   #76
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Originally Posted by gmw View Post
You keep trying to reinterpret other posts here as some denigration of the wish to make money from your work - but I've seen none of that.
It may be that the tone of many of the comments seems generally dismissive to me, ie, "Writing for oneself is superior to writing for money... and that's what I do." I would say that in general the desire to make money from writing is generally derided at MobileRead (or, at least, not appreciated as much as writing for writing's sake).

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We would all like to make money from our writing (well, most of us would, I think). The distinction is only whether a person has the desire to write even if they make very little money. And since this will be the case for most writers, and pretty much always has been, so it's a pretty good assumption to make before you start.
Is it? Sorry, but I don't believe that "most writers" write even if they make very little money. "Most writers," in fact, include those who write for newspapers, magazines, media and other periodicals, and make a healthy salary writing on a constant basis.

It is only in writing for standalone books that writers find themselves barred from the chance at profit--a particular damnation of this art form we covet--but some continue to write. Others walk away from writing, to take up other more profitable vocations (and are often considered by others as being "less of a writer," "not a real writer," etc, to their chagrin).

The rest self-publish on sites like Amazon. And I often wonder how many writers out there didn't bother to write, until the internet gave them an easy way to get their books out and make money... I think that would be a telling statistic. I'd say those writers are "in it for the money," and judging by the number of authors in the Kindle Store, there are a lot of them. (Self-disclosure: I was writing for 10 years before I started publishing and selling ebooks through my own site, years before Amazon opened the Kindle Store.)

And I suspect that most of those self-publishers hope/believe/expect that someday, their books will start making them dividends that will rival or surpass their "day jobs" and allow them to declare themselves "successful authors," despite the modest proclamations that they'll make to their friends and family.

So yeah, maybe I'm a bit over-sensitive to the subject of writing for money than I ought to be; but unlike the suggestions above, I don't believe I'm in a minority in thinking the way I do... that if my work is good, I should be able to earn a profit from it, however large or small, or it's not worth doing.

Rather, I'd suggest that the thinking of many members of this forum represent a minority, and that the locally prevailing opinions do not necessarily represent those of the real majority, out there.

Anyway, that's my opinion, and I understand those who don't share it. I just want to make sure my opinion is seriously noted, and not dismissed as the ravings of a quack.

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Old 07-06-2012, 04:07 PM   #77
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(Self-disclosure: I was writing for 10 years before I started publishing and selling ebooks through my own site, years before Amazon opened the Kindle Store.)

Self-disclosure: I was too, through Lulu. Before that was some other POD company that I do not recall the name of, but I did photo coffee books through them. Before that I did poetry through small local only print runs.

I tired nonfiction, magazines, comics, collections, and so on. I currently have a nonfiction blog that I post lessons on that has about 25 visitors a day. No ad's - 100% free. I do not even mention my books on it (at least I don't think I do). I post a new 1000ish word lesson each week. Because it is fun, and people enjoy it.

My newest venture in to EBook Sci Fi/Fantasy novels seem to be my nitch. Unlike all my other adventures; I am actually making a profit with ebooks. A profit is a good thing.



For you personally, I would say keep at it. Persistence and patience seem to be key. I have been at it some place around 8-10 years.. and only starting now to see any return BUT I have been having fun the whole time. To me that counts.
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Old 07-06-2012, 05:06 PM   #78
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You're not. I agree. There are many forms of writing though and I do suppose some people write only for themselves, but if so it should be journal writing.
Why?

Yes, that's a serious question. I saw what you said about it being all about sharing ideas with others, but surely there can be other reasons for someone to write a piece of fiction than sharing ideas? If you want debates and discussions, there are internet forums for that
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Old 07-06-2012, 11:38 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Steven Lyle Jordan View Post
[...]Is it? Sorry, but I don't believe that "most writers" write even if they make very little money. "Most writers," in fact, include those who write for newspapers, magazines, media and other periodicals, and make a healthy salary writing on a constant basis.[...]
I don't believe I'm in a minority in thinking the way I do... that if my work is good, I should be able to earn a profit from it, however large or small, or it's not worth doing.[...]
If we are going to start getting pedantic then "most writers" would have to include all literate people? The context here seemed - to me - fairly clear, we were talking about writers of fiction to be published in printed or ebook form.

I bolded what should be the key part of your post. You've made some money (however small the amount) from your work haven't you? So your expectation holds true and you should be satisfied.

I don't believe you are wrong in hoping to make more money for your efforts, and I don't think you are necessarily in a minority in expecting that you should be able to earn more money for your efforts. Where I believe you are mistaken is in believing that such income will happen just because you've written the book and put in the hard years. Artistic endeavour doesn't seem to work like that.

Why do I believe that "most writers" (as qualified above) earn very little? Well, here are some examples.

Here is a link to a 2005 article by Ian Irvine about traditional publishing (almost no mention of ebooks). Warning: very depressing.

For ebooks we have this post on this forum: "DIY Authors [...] half made less than $500."

If you have contrary examples showing that most writers earn some reasonable amount of money then please share it, I'm sure many here would like to see such encouraging figures.
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Old 07-07-2012, 07:00 AM   #80
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I saw what you said about it being all about sharing ideas with others, but surely there can be other reasons for someone to write a piece of fiction than sharing ideas?
Such as? (You really don't want anyone to see your writing?)
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:31 AM   #81
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I bolded what should be the key part of your post. You've made some money (however small the amount) from your work haven't you? So your expectation holds true and you should be satisfied.
Well, no: I do not mean to say that I should be satisfied at making a single penny selling a book. I think you're purposely taking my words too literally.

At the risk of sounding like a greedy capitalist (I know, too late), "however large or small" is relative to the individual; and in my case, the amount is too small to be useful or fulfilling. The amount I seek from ebook sales isn't "large" for many people (I'm not expecting to pay off my house or get through a year of college tuition), but it is financially significant (will pay some small bills, buy a nice dinner or two, etc... ie, $3-600 a month).

My present monthly income would not pay for a night out at a movie.

So we're clear: I'd like to see $3-600 a month coming in from ebook sales (of a dozen books), which BTW doesn't come close to equaling the time and effort spent in creating those books IMO; and presently I'm seeing less than $10 a month.

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I don't believe you are wrong in hoping to make more money for your efforts, and I don't think you are necessarily in a minority in expecting that you should be able to earn more money for your efforts. Where I believe you are mistaken is in believing that such income will happen just because you've written the book and put in the hard years. Artistic endeavour doesn't seem to work like that.
No, I don't expect to make money just because I write. (How little people seem to think of me...) I expected to sell books because my books are well-written and produced in high quality, are low-priced, and have been highly rated on books outlets and blogs; and I expected that those qualities would generate buzz and word of mouth enough to sell them at a reasonable rate, instead of falling through the black hole where they reside now.

Last edited by Steven Lyle Jordan; 07-07-2012 at 08:38 AM.
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:41 AM   #82
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So we're clear: I'd like to see $3-600 a month coming in from ebook sales (of a dozen books), which BTW doesn't come close to equaling the time and effort spent in creating those books IMO; and presently I'm seeing less than $10 a month.
Okay, I personally think that is a reasonable goal. I do however think it takes time and marketing. I do not think you can just toss your books on Amazon and hope people read them. (not saying you do that) I post about my books on FB, Twitter. I have web site and wiki dedicated to them. I submit them to blogs when I can find them, and I get every reader I know in real life to put up reviews. I have them in every store I can submit too. My first book has consistently sat around 3000-4000 on Amazon's best "sellers" list all year, and has been as high as #5. Still compared to the lengths that many on this forum say they do I have not done that much. I have posted my plan more then once, and people (pretty sure you are among them, but not 100% sure) tell me it will not work. Well I have already broken $500 this year. I am not Steven King, but I can afford to higher an editor at least.

All of that said, $/hour is so low it can not be calculated. I will make more in 5 hours of programing this month, then YTD in ebooks. Which is why I have to write for the fun of it, because in my mind the money is not there. 1 hour consulting time is greater then 1 month revenue from my books.

So its all perspective I think.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:13 AM   #83
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Marketing is a problem. I do many of those things too (Facebook, Twitter, website, newsletters, mentions on forums), but only to the extent that I don't feel like a saleswhore doing it... and many sites make it clear that any mention of any product at all, or popping up just to promote and run, instantly labels you a saleswhore. I don't have the cash to pay for traditional advertising. I have no friends interested in reading my books (they don't read SF, or they just assume that I can't write because they know me), so I can't solicit reviews; nor do I have access to those who have bought through the many sales channels I use, so I can't ask them for reviews, and most of them just don't bother.

With so little feedback, I can't even identify a problem with my books or my promotional efforts that could be fixed, so I'm completely in the dark.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:33 AM   #84
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Marketing is a problem. I do many of those things too (Facebook, Twitter, website, newsletters, mentions on forums), but only to the extent that I don't feel like a saleswhore doing it... and many sites make it clear that any mention of any product at all, or popping up just to promote and run, instantly labels you a saleswhore. I don't have the cash to pay for traditional advertising. I have no friends interested in reading my books (they don't read SF, or they just assume that I can't write because they know me), so I can't solicit reviews; nor do I have access to those who have bought through the many sales channels I use, so I can't ask them for reviews, and most of them just don't bother.

With so little feedback, I can't even identify a problem with my books or my promotional efforts that could be fixed, so I'm completely in the dark.
I face the same problems, except I have some friends that read my books. I do not know what part of my plan works or does not so I do not know where to focus. It is just the nature of the beast I think.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:49 AM   #85
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[...]No, I don't expect to make money just because I write. (How little people seem to think of me...) I expected to sell books because my books are well-written and produced in high quality, are low-priced, and have been highly rated on books outlets and blogs; and I expected that those qualities would generate buzz and word of mouth enough to sell them at a reasonable rate, instead of falling through the black hole where they reside now.
It's not that I think poorly of you, my phrase was: "Where I believe you are mistaken is in believing that such income will happen just because you've written the book and put in the hard years. Artistic endeavour doesn't seem to work like that." That last sentence was the important part - writing fiction is an artistic endeavour. You have obviously put in the work, I don't doubt you produce quality, but is it what people want to read right now? Is it striking a chord with those that do read it? With art, quality and success do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. Quality is just one factor among many, and many of the factors you have no control over.

Time may see you gain more success, particularly if you keep producing new books, you shouldn't stop trying - not, at least, if you have other reasons for writing besides money - but it's never going to be a certainty. Writing fiction is never going to be a "I've done this so now I get that" sort of job (which is pretty much the point I've been trying to get across all along).
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Old 07-07-2012, 01:50 PM   #86
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Maybe people stopped buying them because they already have them. Sounds more like a reason to write something else than to give in.
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Old 07-07-2012, 03:15 PM   #87
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Such as? (You really don't want anyone to see your writing?)
I don't care if anyone sees it or not. I just don't see how or why anyone else should be allowed to be the reason I write.
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Old 07-08-2012, 06:31 PM   #88
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I don't care if anyone sees it or not. I just don't see how or why anyone else should be allowed to be the reason I write.
So, the reason you write stories you don't plan to share is...?
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Old 07-08-2012, 06:49 PM   #89
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So, the reason you write stories you don't plan to share is...?
...because I enjoy the process of writing them.

I think I may have said that earlier in this thread.
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Old 07-08-2012, 07:36 PM   #90
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Just checkin'.
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