Russell Rowland

The Writing Life

August 24, 2017

Today I have a public service announcement for all you wonderful friends, and it’s about this whole writing business. I know many of you think that those of us who have published books are big time millionaires, which is really fun to think about, but it’s not even remotely true, except for Jamie Ford, who is a multi-billionaire. Anyway, despite the fact that I have been fortunate to get many nice reviews, and be named a finalist for a couple of awards, and develop a solid little following, I cannot find a publisher for my next book. I can’t even find an agent. And there are many writers who are in the same boat, writers you have heard of, writers you love. Because no matter how good your reviews are, it all comes down to the numbers.

 

The other dirty little secret about writers like us is that we don’t make enough from books to live on. Not even close. And I’m not talking about elaborate, glamorous writerly lifestyles, where we lounge around in exotic places and drink fancy wine. I’m talking about paying the rent and buying food. So most of us do what we can to supplement our book sales—teaching, or marrying someone rich, or selling our bodies.

 

I tell you this for one simple reason, because there are a couple things you can do to help people whose writing you admire. One, you can write reviews for Amazon or Goodreads. These do help inspire people in their choices. But the main thing you can do is encourage your friends to buy our books. When you tell your friends how much you loved someone’s book and they ask if they can borrow it, ask them nicely to buy it themselves. Or buy them a copy for Memorial Day, or National Emoji Day, my own personal favorite holiday.

 

And lastly, please don’t judge us for our relentless self-promotion. It is basically a desperate effort to survive in this business. We all know it’s obnoxious. We hate it. And of course we don’t expect sympathy, because we have CHOSEN this profession. But a little understanding would be lovely. Thanks ever so. Oh, and Jamie is not really a multi-billionaire…I just like to tease him because he’s the nicest guy you could ever meet.