There is a special joy found in talking about fiction and books and ideas with other people who love to do the same thing. As an author, sometimes we even get to go to book clubs and hang out and discuss our own books. Is it a little scary? Yes. Here’s a group of smart people who have their own very distinct view of what makes the perfect book and they want to ask you questions about the one you wrote.
I’ve only done it once.
And I got schooled.
That’s a touch misleading, let me back up. For the most part, the discussion was both interesting and safe. We discussed my journey as a writer, what other works I’ve written, where my ideas come from, all the usual stuff. There was a brief discussion on what my thoughts were on women writing male characters, which led me to assume I might have done it badly, as well as how fantasy is distinct from other genres.
All of those topics are ones I’m super comfortable with because I’ve already explored and talked about all of them in one way or another, some here on the blog. Then I did the dumb.
I got on my soapbox.
The question was something along the lines of, “What’s the hardest part of writing a book?”
My answer in the moment – marketing. But no, I couldn’t just leave it there like a normal person now, could I?
I started on the whole, for the price of a fancy drink at one of those cute soda stores you could buy a book. The drink will last maybe an hour whereas a book will give hours of entertainment. The majority of authors are struggling to sell their works that they’ve spent years on. I did the math and currently I get paid something like $0.0012 an hour if you take the total number of hours I estimate I spent on writing and editing my first book compared to what I’ve made on it so far. Novel writing is not for the faint of heart my friends.
It was a passionate rant for people to buy more books and support their favorite local authors and it was super thoughtless.
Then came the schooling.
“But Jodi, you’re forgetting that people’s time is valuable. Buying a book means committing hours to reading it. It’s not the price that keeps people from buying more books, but how much available time they have to read them. I’m very selective about the books I buy because my time is valuable. “
She’s absolutely right. I’d only weighed my need to sell books against people’s ability to pay for them. I’d forgotten about how everyone leads full and busy lives, just like I do. I maybe purchase a book for myself every few months and get the rest through the library because I like audiobooks. Guess what? So do most people.
The moral of this story? Don’t assume people want to buy your stuff simply because it’s inexpensive and you’ve spent lots of time making it.
Hey, if you want me to come hang out with your book club, all you have to do is ask! Find my contact info in the About Me tab.