div#ContactForm1 { display: none !important; }

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Wednesday Whittleings - More Books Than Fish in the Sea

Wednesdays are my day to randomly babble. Sometimes about children books, others about writing, and usually about whatever strikes my mind. Random thoughts...random whittleings.

I'm stealing a thought today from a IWSG Facebook post by L. Diane Wolfe earlier this week because it showed something that I've been wondering, pondering and randomly thinking about the last month or two...

According to a survey from The Writer's Guild, 2017 saw an average income of published writers for all writing activity at $6, 080. That's a big drop from the 2009 average of $10,500. 25% of the published writers surveyed claimed to have no income whatsoever on the writing front for 2017.

Why did this drop happen? Are people not reading as much or spending as much for books? Or have costs gone up to high?

Last week, I had my first school presentation surrounding the theme of How to Become an Author. The class is exploring various career possibilities (5th - 8th graders), so of course, marketing me jumped at the opportunity. .... Random whittleing here....  School visits are so much fun! I couldn't believe how interested the kids really were. They had tons and tons of questions and were totally with it for over an hour! (Because of their interest, the teacher even let it run over by another 15 minutes) Mind blowing. 

Anyway, I explained to the kids a little about ebooks and marketing, and mentioned that self-published books topped one million in 2017, a 28% increase over 2016 (although I didn't mention this last part because...yawn...statistics bore kids fast). Of course, this number isn't clear cut (and you can read all about it here ), but it shows the point I was trying to make. Thanks to the expanding digital world and possibilities, while keeping the focus on the huge change from traditional publishing past to ebooks and the self-publishing awakening, the world for an author has changed drastically in the last ten to twenty years.

I remember the first used book sale I worked at with the Friends of the Library in our small town. For a nothing town in the middle of nowhere (I think they have a whooping 4,500 or so citizens), the book sale is huge. Over 10,000 titles are offered 3 times a year...and each time over half of the remaining titles are tossed at the end of the sale and twice as many new donations are brought in. Talk about a reading town! But my thought—it is a sea of books. (Random whittleing...We have a gigantic romance section, and it's the little old ladies who tote bags bursting full out of there). When I stood there and gazed over the tables upon tables over flowing with books, I seriously wondered why in the world I should become an author. All or very close to all of those books are published by traditional publishers...each writer is considered 'good'. How could any book I wrote be worth it? No matter what I write, I'm just another tiny dot in a HUGE mass of paper.

When I then think of the billions of books already published and floating around the world...and then, add the massive amount of new ones coming out every year (it's like a tidal wave these last years), the income drop doesn't surprise me. It makes sense. People do read. A lot. And they give a lot of money out for books, but there are so many fish in the sea. And let's face it, many of them are tasty too.

Does this make me depressed? No. Nothing worth achieving is ever easy. Plus, writing is a labor of love.

But still, I do wonder and whittle.

What about you?


  1. Now I feel like a dot in a huge mass of paper.
    Glad you had such a successful author visit!

  2. Yeh on a great author visit! Well done!

    I love the image of little old ladies with shopping bags full of romance novels. :)

  3. I’m so happy the visit went well!! ^_^ I could talk about all day long. :)

    I often feel like I’m flailing in the middle of space, but I like the dot in a sea of paper imagery better. Sometimes I see an author I’ve never heard of and see they’re making a living and know it’s still possible. I don’t have to sell just too many books to consider myself successful, so onward I go. :)

  4. I realized that a few years ago while out Christmas shopping. I wanted a book to read over the holiday and headed to the bookstore. There were so many books available, but I was only out to buy one. Then it hit me...I was choosing one while thousands of good books sat idle on the shelves.

    It was like the "it's not you, it's me" explanation for why our book may not be the one chosen.

  5. I've been mulling on this, too. It's disheartening to know it's getting harder to make any money on writing, but it's not going to stop me. I enjoy doing. But I'm also lucky in hubby's job makes enough to pay the bills, so I don't have to worry much about making money from my writing.

  6. I try not to think about it and just do what I want/love. I never came into this wanting to make money from my writing, anyway.

  7. The past few years, I've been thinking about such things and trying to figure out how to get out there, have my voice heard. It's tough. This year, I'm going to try to not worry so much and just enjoy writing. The joy from it is why we do it after all. :)


I would love to hear your valuable Tidbits -