Jan. 1, 2015.
Will this be the year that my writing career takes off? Will I finally be able to afford my own private island? How about a new Lexus, one that parks itself? Okay, maybe a bottle of the finest whisky? A six-pack of Pabst’s Blue Ribbon? The latter, huh. That’s it?.
Sad, but true. Sales of El Fuegos, the latest effort, haven’t exactly been jumping off the charts. A few here, a few there, but far from a meteoric trend. I don’t know the number of new books that hit the market every day, but it has to be in the hundreds if not thousands. Like my previous effort to become a professional wildlife photographer, my timing sucks.
With the advent of the digital age in photography, the auto-everything cameras made what were once nearly impossible images, quite common. Not that wildlife photography is easy, no way, not with any camera, but more people are spending major bucks for big glass and top of the line gear. Photo tour operators are standing by to take you wherever in the this big world you want to go with photo ops galore. With so many outstanding images out there, sales to photo markets took a hit– actually more like an earthquake. Only the best and the more well-known photographers survived by selling images alone. And those that did make it diversified into related fields.
Now, that seems to be the case in book sales. The big names keep right on rolling, Stephen King, James Patterson, John Sandford and many others. Yes, there is the occasional success story by a relative unknown. Can you say Hunger Games? How about Unbroken? Or the recent move release, Wild from the book by Cheryl Strayed, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Those are the wonderful exceptions, the ones that give us wannabes a ray of hope. I would guess that for every Suzanne Collins or Cheryl Strayed, there are thousands, no, tens of thousands, of us who peck away at our keyboards, upload to Amazon, take a stab at promotion through social networks and giveaway programs, and get a thrill when we make a sale a week.
But that sale or two per week is becoming most discouraging. When you’re not making enough to pay for an editor (and that takes a bunch of sales at $2.99 a copy or less),
you I begin to think of fiction writing as an avocation rather than a profession. Not that having a hobby you enjoy is a bad thing, but for me, it falls way short of being in Amazon’s top 100 in the mystery/thriller genre.
So, here I sit, the first day of 2015. My newest effort, the one with the snazzy temporary title of Book Five, is bogged down at Chapter 3 while I try to dream up, think up, visualize, sleep on, anything for a believable plot that would make a good read. No dreams of private islands or fancy cars. Not yet. But I would like to take a step up from Pabst Blue Ribbon.