A moment to reflect

I believe I’ve mentioned that I’m getting my website redesigned. I’ve approved the final design which is cool. In the meantime the folks I’m working with asked me to send them my book covers so they could format them for me. Now, this meant I had to go get all my covers into one convenient place. I ended up putting them all up on Flickr and sending them a link.

So there I was, on the Flickr page with my book covers, excluding the cover for Indiscreet because that’s not final yet — though it’s quite nice. And there are nine of them.

9 book covers
I have published 10 books

So why do I feel like I’m still trying to make it? Because I am. Still trying to make it in this business. I’m not under contract right now. Maybe I’ll never sell another book. It could happen. I’m writing proposals and wishing my sales were stronger so I’d be a hotter prospect. And that’s the thing, writers keep writing because readers buy our books. They buy them, and yeah, we writers better deliver on that story.

I guess I’ll repeat that. Draw your own conclusions about what’s embedded in that.

Writers get to write and readers get to read because someone buys our books. We write even though we, almost all of us, have day jobs because we have to work full time. And families. And bills.

My father once commented about one of my brothers that, boy, my brother was going to be busy with his day job and the consulting work he wanted to start doing on the side. My brother is married with kids. Between him and his wife, they share custody of all three of their children with previous spouses. They do not have their children full time.

And I looked at my father and said, "I have two full-time jobs, Dad." And he looked back at me and wow, he did not get it. "I write," I said. "And that is a full-time job in addition to my day job." To his credit he said, "And you also have your son." So, yes, I actually have three jobs, and one income. My writing income is more than it used to be but it’s nowhere near enough to pay all my bills.

For everyone who loves to read, remember that the odds are high — 95% — that author you enjoy reading probably has two jobs and a family. And some of us are single parents, writing because we’re twisted that way and there’s no quick way for most of us to write full time.

10 books. And because of the way I write, because there is no second income to build up a cushion or pay extra bills or what have you and because of the slow and rocky course of just about every writer’s career, 10 books is not enough.

It made me think, that’s all.

I’m off to fix a writing mess.



5 Responses to “A moment to reflect”

  1. Black and (a)Broad says:

    Dear Carolyn,

    thanks for putting this “out there”. In fact, I’ve been trying to pump myself up from feeling worried that my book’s not moving fast enough. This is my first book and half the time I feel like I have no clue what I’m doing. I always wonder if a publisher will offer me a contract and how many people will pick it up. The one thing I have going for me (besides believing that I’m a good writer) is that I don’t have a full-time job. Yes, I have two small children (5 and 1) who I consider my full-time-and-then-some job. Just reading your post helps me put a bit of perspective back into my own situation. By the way, CONGRATULATIONS for having published 10 books already.

  2. ranearia says:

    I think that makes a good author, when you feel that’s not enough! If you settle for less you’ll get less.
    As an artist myself, am always pushing myself to draw better to not only improve my works, but to satisfied myself, cause in the end that’s whom you have to please, not your fans but yourself with your works

  3. Carolyn says:

    Thanks for the comments! I realized after I posted it that I sounded very maudlin. The thing is, I also did realize that gosh, 10 books! That’s really something. Young children need a lot of attention so don’t be too hard on yourself if you feel like you’re not getting as much writing done as you’d like. They grow up all too fast.

    And yes, that’s very true, an artist needs to be pleased with the art. All important things to think about.

  4. Megan Frampton says:

    10 books! Look at you go!

    You already know you impress the hell out of me with all you can do–and once again, I am impressed.

  5. Carolyn says:

    Thanks, Megan!