This is my response to post on Mythic Scribes.
The original blogger explained how he would be asked why he bothered to write – it wasn’t his day job, he didn’t make much money from it and it was a lot of effort. It’s a good question.
I get asked similar questions – why do I write? When do I expect to be famous? Wearily I try and explain again. Writing keeps me (fairly) sane, it’s relaxing and because I can’t not write. The stories are there, clamouring to be heard and whether I get them onto paper or the screen that isn’t going to change. I write because I can and I do. It makes me happy, it lets me escape. It lets me create something – and that, as you say, is wonderful. I sell books (not many but I do sell), but I don’t write for the money or I’d have starved long ago.
I’ve always made up stories, worlds and situations. It’s a part of who and what I am. If other people decide to mock it then that’s their problem. I’m not going to stop doing something I love because someone is too foolish or unthinking to think it worthwhile.
I’ve been asked what constitutes ‘success’. I think that’s relative. 6 or so years ago I wrote for myself and a small group of friends, someone convinced me to self-publish and see what happened. I sold a few books, then a few more. It wasn’t the ‘give up the day job’ level but then I never imagined it would be. More importantly whilst I was writing book 1 my mother was suffering from cancer she’d bravely fought for 18 years. It was a long and awful struggle, but she was stoic, courageous and I only heard her complain once. I published book 1 in June 2012 and she died in September of that year. I took a printed copy home to show her, and my disabled father – a man whose world was about to be shattered – and she smiled. Really, really smiled. Mum was pretty much bedbound by then but she got up and went downstairs. She called her mother, my sisters, told the carers, and the neighbours who visited. Despite it all, despite all the pain, and the indignity of her awful illness my book made her happy and proud. That is success.
The comments in the original post disparaging Indie/Self Publishing are interesting. I’ve had that too. Personally, I like self-publishing. It works for me. The deadlines are my own (and thus flexible), I can write what want to write and not what a publisher tells me. OK so all the marketing, editing and cover art is my problem but I know a good editor and several cover artists, plus I am learning some of this aspect.
It’s true there are some shoddy SP books on the market, but there are also some excellent ones. I’ve read plenty of traditionally published books which are crap – badly edited, badly written and should never have seen the light of day! Many self-published authors are extremely meticulous, very talented and dare to write edgier work.
I’d bet that many of the readers who disparage SPAs have read self or indie published work and not realised.
Check out Mythic Scribes.
It’s a very useful resource.
What are your views on this? If you’re a writer – why do you write? If you’re a reader then do you read self-published work.