I had a strange experience the other day. An old friend (ok, really a past acquaintance) noticed that I "had a real job" and asked "So, you've given up the whole writing thing?"
I was completely flummoxed on how to respond. My emotionally irresponsible part wanted to get very huffy and explain that NO, I had not given up on "the whole writing thing!" I am hard at work on a four part series! I only took that job to pay for marketing!
But since it is very difficult to throw an adult temper tantrum via Facebook message, even with the happy little emoticons.
I took several deep breaths before responding. The cool logical part wanted to explain that as an indie author I have to wear many hats, including paying for all the services that a publishing house would provide such as cover art, editing, marketing, promotion, etc, etc, but then I realized that this individual would then probably ask "Well, then why don't you traditionally publish?" and that would have led to less logical conversations, and me chewing my finger off rather than resort to the temper tantrum it would almost certainly lead to.
I don't know if I am being oversensitive, if somehow my passion for writing has been jaded by a general lack of response, or if the whole industry is going through a down slope as traditional publishers have begun to learn to combat indie publishing by lowering their expected profits on e-books while more and more books are being produced at a seemingly never ending rate.... but it seems like everywhere I turn I am being inundated with the message that I will not be a successful writer.
I have other friends in the writer world who are going through similar experiences. They aren't getting picked up by traditional publishers, they aren't seeing a return on their investment of indie publishing, they feel like they are screaming at the masses and no one can see or hear them. And I have read their work. They are all very creative story tellers. They have done their due diligence. They have had their work edited. They have released polished stories.
And still I am seeing samples on Amazon of poorly worded, tragically edited, and cliche books hitting the top charts. What is going on here? Am I just so out of tune with my potential fan base? Are readers less concerned with the quality of writing? Do readers no longer pay for books unless they are from a "known" author, or from a traditional publisher? What do we authors need to do to entice you to read our books?
I appreciate my wonderful friends (mostly on Facebook) who are sharing my articles, but I would love to get some comments on this dilemma from the people who actually matter, readers. I cannot bear to read another LinkedIn article about how the Indie press is dead, or how readers are no longer interested in indie books, or how E-reader sales are up and the paperback is dying, or heaven forbid how the newer generations just don't READ. I am ready to go to the source.
Talk to me readers, tell me your thoughts in the comments below.