News will trick you. It does to me. A lot. Particularly in the world of published works, success stories, and the like. It tricks me because I almost want to be tricked. Those “overnight” successes, I want them to be true, because I want to be one of them.
There are dozens (or more) of success stories out there. Authors who went from writing in their spare time, publish one book and WHAM! they suddenly find themselves rolling in cash, able to quit their jobs to live their life as an author. This story rings on both sides of the aisle of the publishing world, indie and traditional. Those are the stories that always catch my eyes. But why is that?
Now, when opening these stories and reading the content, there usually will be a small synopsis as to what it took to get there, or how long it had been. For instance, Hugh Howey (my favorite indie-bred author) didn’t find success until his 8th published work: WOOL. And that went from a short story to a full-on trilogy. Details like that are small within the marvel of the success so-and-so author is having. Little is spent on time, timing, luck, and the other factors that went into that success. This is otherwise known as, the slow game. It’s mentioned. Sure. But that is rarely the focus. You only get the gritty details when you decide to read the blogs that many of these writers post. Here’s keeping my fingers crossed to hope that these posts will one day be evidence to my struggle.
The slow game. It all takes time. And dedication. Far more writers will publish a few stories and bow out, unable to reconcile their drive to write with real world demands. A full time job, a wife or husband, friends, children, pets, you know: life. Their desire to write won’t be strong enough to blow past that, to keep them writing.
Even I’ve asked that question of whether or not it is worth it. Few writers will look at that question and say that it is worth it. Writing is a must have in their life. Up to this point, I’ve determined it to be worth it. And believe me, looking at 0 sales as I often do, or 1 or 2 sales per month, I question it. Is it worth the effort? And that’s a lot of what that prior post I mentioned above was about.
To continue on though, I have to learn to look past the “OVERNIGHT SUCCESS!” stories that abound. If I read them, I have to realize that the success being realized was most often after years of hard work, struggling to find time to write among the pratfalls of life, and other factors that few have any control over. After all, the most important thing about it is the writing. It’s the creating the story. Publishing it, marketing, all of that are the after. The after the writing. And while they are the most important things to sell books, they still aren’t as important as writing.
And that’s what I am: a writer.
Update 5/2: Not that this is a huge update, but reading another post not wholly unlike the one above, the writer mentioned that Hugh Howey didn’t start gaining momentum until his 9th work. I said 8th… I am guaranteeing that 9 is the correct number.