Some writers say they write because they have to. Some because it makes them feel important. Some because they have an agenda (beware of the politically correct ones, they don’t usually create good stories). Some because they fail at everything else (see the biography of Edgar Rice Burroughs, for example). Some because they want to leave a part of themselves for posterity. And, some, probably a diminishingly small number, because they have something important to say.
I started writing as a kind of a joke. My daughter disliked the firm where she was working, so I told her we could write a book together. It turned out that I did the writing, and she read the first 15,000 words, then got busy starting her own law company. It was a good decision on her part-she made a lot more money than I did (and do) with my writing. Meanwhile, my wife went along with my wasting time typing for several months. However, once the story was finished she actually liked it. That was a relief to me. She still thinks it is one of my best stories (The Time of The Cat).
So, why do I write? First, I enjoy creating characters and stories. I especially enjoy it when they develop to the point that they tell me what they’re going to do, rather than listen to my trite directions. I know that sounds crazy, but a lot of writers have that experience, and it’s exhilarating.
My second reason is best shown in the attached picture. I’ve got five grandchildren, and I like to think that they’ll read my books someday and remember me. So, I guess the posterity thing is part of it.
I have a deeply held hope that my readers will enjoy my stories. I’m an inveterate reader and have favorite authors who have touched me with their characters. I’d like to think that at least some of my readers feel the same way about my work. The main problem with this aspiration is that there’s no way to know if someone liked one of my books unless they leave a review or email me directly. I read every single review. I respond to the emails and comments on my author blog. The reviews on Amazon, I read, but seldom reply.
I violated this rule once. Someone reviewed Pirates of the Asteroids and made it clear by what they said that they were discussing a totally different book by some other author. Apparently, it’s possible to get confused unless you review the story immediately after you finish reading it. Who knew? My book had none of the plot elements the reviewer described, so I commented, asking him to review the correct story. No action occurred, but I didn’t really expect anything to happen. I even contacted Amazon asking for some help. No response there either. There’s basically no appeal for an unfair or even hateful review.
Suffice it to say that I cherish my positive reviews and try to understand what motivates other reviewers to make negative comments. Since some of my writing is less than totally politically sensitive, I sometimes get angry reviews. After 30+ years of dealing with the public, I have learned that some people’s personalities and world-views simply are incompatible with mine, and it’s best to leave them alone. If they didn’t like my story, while most other people did, then it wasn’t the right book for them. I hope they find something else to read that fits their needs.
Writing seems to be easy until you’ve tried it. I was so proud when I wrote “The End” on my first science fiction manuscript and I remember having tears in my eyes. I didn’t know then that what came next would be a time-consuming round of editing, reading, re-editing, re-reading, then editing a third time. Then comes formatting, getting an ISBN, and months waiting for the U.S. Copyright office to send me a copyright notice. Meanwhile, I had to locate and hire a cover artist, work with them to adjust the art and cover, hire a service to typeset the interior, and write the back cover material. Then re-write the back cover material-sometimes several times. Once done with all that, it’s time to upload the whole mess to Amazon and hit publish, hoping for lots of sales. At the same time, I have to upload a variation of the manuscript in a different format with front and back cover art to my on-demand publisher for print copies. Finally comes the biggest challenge of all: marketing.
People don’t automatically read books simply because they’re available on Amazon. There are millions of books on that site, and it becomes a matter of getting your book out to the subset of people who read that genre. That’s not easy.
In case you’re interested, the time it takes me to write an average novel is between one to three months-usually on the longer side. Editorial services cost hundreds of dollars. Cover art runs between $200 to $600. Typesetting costs a couple of hundred, copyright is $50, ISBNs run $100 unless you buy in bulk, uploading the manuscript to Kindle Direct Publishing is free, but uploading to my printer costs.
All told, it is not something that one does casually. It’s nice that I have an external source of income (or had-before this virus thing hit). Otherwise, I’d have quit after the first book. I’ve lowered my books to $0.99 during this pandemic-just trying to do my part to help with the social distancing.
With those expenses, a book has to sell hundreds of copies to pay back the hard costs, let alone the time spent writing it.
Then there are marketing costs. Amazon ads, Facebook ads, lots of other advertisements from vendors who promise readers, but rarely deliver. It makes me shudder to think of the things I’ve tried. Still, It’s worthwhile when one of my books hits the top spot in its category on Kindle. Unfortunately, they don’t stay there long, there’s always lots of competition.
This letter is getting longer than I had planned, so here’s the point: If you’ve read one of my books, you can help me a lot if you’d be so kind. It doesn’t take long to leave a review. I read all reviews, other potential readers read them, and they help people find my stories. If you enjoyed one of my books, please consider reviewing it. Write a couple of sentences and check on the star rating – that’s all it takes.
To make it easy, I’ve included direct links to the review pages for several of my books below. You will have to be signed in to your Amazon account if you decide to help.
As always, you can easily unsubscribe from this list below. Once someone unsubscribes, their name is permanently gone from my mailing list, so there will not be anything else from me in your inbox, unless you resubscribe. However, I hope that you’ve found my monthly emails worthwhile enough to remain a subscriber.
Namaste and Thank you,
Here are the review links and thanks in advance if you decide to help. I do read every review and sometimes even write books that are suggested by reviewers.
Pirates of the Asteroids: The Belter Series Book 1 http://www.amazon.com/review/create-review?&asin=B07RWPHCLK
The Belter Revolution: The Belter Series Book 2 http://www.amazon.com/review/create-review?&asin=B082MT63XS
Heart of Fire Time of Ice: A Time Equation Novel #1 http://www.amazon.com/review/create-review?&asin=B01BW17FM6
Paradox: On the Sharp Edge of the Blade-A Time Equation Novel #2 http://www.amazon.com/review/create-review?&asin=B01IDRYB9w
All the Moments in Forever-A Time Equation Novel #3 http://www.amazon.com/review/create-review?&asin=B0718YMV3Z
The Time of the Cat: Gaea Ascendant 1 http://www.amazon.com/review/create-review?&asin=B00O1AAO5Q
Second Wave: Gaea Ascendant 2 http://www.amazon.com/review/create-review?&asin=B00TD04Z6S
Confederation: Gaea Ascendant 3 http://www.amazon.com/review/create-review?&asin=B017FCVQOO