Call me crazy, beat me up, curse at me and thrash me all over the Interwebs and beyond. Oh, and don't believe me and tell me I'm a liar, but this is true (actually, I'm very very scared right now as I type this because I'm baring my soul here). I don't write to make money, I write to write. To connect. To hopefully move that ONE reader. Why? Because I've noticed that when we forget about money and dive deep into our personal pain - that's when we produce the best and the truest art. And writing is art. So don't fake it. I can sniff you out a mile away, and I will put your book down because it reeks of 'not-true, not-true, not-true'. That is not to say that my own writing is spectacular - it is not. Far from it. The biggest show-down for me is fear. When I'm afraid, I produce poor writing (this topic should be another blog post entirely). Back to the money theme, here is what I mean:
The only way to connect with readers is to strip naked. I know what you're thinking, no, not THAT way. Although I hear it works in certain industries. No. Dig deep and show what you're feeling, all of it, the pretty, the ugly, the scary, the narcissistic, the disgusting, the chauvinistic retarded horrible slimy broken you that nobody has seen (perhaps your better half glimpsed that once or twice). We all do it, secretly. We all swear under our breath when stuck in traffic, we gossip behind our friends' backs, we imagine horrible things done to those who upset us, cut us off, dump us, made us fake promises, you name it. Writing is an outlet for that. Be true to yourself - then we'll read it, because we feel the same.
A sure way to make people buy your books is... to listen! Yes, not talk, not moan about how very few people buy your book, not sell it on every corner, but to listen (actually, any book about sales will tell you exactly that). Listen to everyone everywhere, ask them about their work, comment, encourage, but don't talk about your writing. Wait until you're asked, then and only then, timidly, with a pouty lip and averted eyes, admit that you're writing. Wait for them to gasp and ask WHAT you're writing (trust me, works every time like a charm). Jokes aside, I see so many blog posts about the state of the industry, the hard painful thorny way to make a career as a writer in today's eReader self-publishing world, and I wonder... I wonder what happened to the old idea of storytelling, that sitting down by the fire and recounting the events of a great battle or a true love, when the stories were told for the wonder of them, not for profit. Because when they do, ironically, the profit follows. Which lead me to the next point:
Paradox: when you least expect it, money will find you. I'm speculating here because I haven't published my novel yet and I don't what will happen when I do (stay tuned as I'll blog here about the whole process), but this has been true in other areas of my life. As long as I was whining and unhappy, my mood seemed to pull the trail of misery behind me, no matter how much racket I made. As soon as I decided to be true to myself, for once, and do what I love, to be happy, money found me before I could gasp in surprise. The universe is mysterious that way, isn't it? So is life, so is everything, so is number 42. Sorry, got sidetracked. Back to the topic.
Please ONE reader and one reader only. Of course I can't make money from ONE person buying my book. Of course I hope to make a living with my writing, just like any other writer does. Of course I dream of being so good that everyone will buy my book and love it, EVERYONE. But that is impossible, and I know it. My ambition is to please ONE reader, at least one, make him or her so moved that he or she will tell her friends. That's all I'm hoping to accomplish. That one perfect reader for me is my boyfriend who persuaded me to post a little excerpt on this blog (despite me trying to run and hide under the bed). The result astounded me. There are so many comments now that it scares me. I didn't expect people to like it. I thought this is a story for one reader and one reader only, but I guess Stephen King was right. He mentioned this in his book On Writing, and it's working. It keeps you focused.
I know what you're thinking. Yes, I'm a hypocrite because I can't pay bills with nothing. I quit my career to write and, frankly, I don't know what will happen in the near future (once my unemployment runs out and my savings dwindle). I know only one thing - I'm happiest NOW than I've ever been in my life, and money doesn't matter (well, not quite true, what sucks is that I can't travel!!!). If I have to file for bankruptcy, I will write. If I win a lottery, I will write. So what's the difference? Let's attack this beast. Tell me in the comments, what are you thinking?