Writer’s write because our minds are wired to create. We can’t see any other way to get the voices of our imaginations to quiet down. Honestly, it’s a primal impulse to reveal ourselves to others, only subliminally. We don’t want people to actually know it’s us we’re writing about. Still writing is a highly personal expression, even fiction. We pour our souls into our work, because it’s the only way we know how to create.
So, when you buy our books, you take home a bit of ourselves. Notice I said buy, because at the end of the edit, writing is a business. At least it is for those lucky few of us who actually move to the next level and find a publisher as excited about our baby as we are. I’m not sure most people realize how hard it is to find someone like that. We all have dreams. Writers want to get published. Artists want showings. Musicians want record deals.
Why? For two reasons, and getting rich and famous aren’t one of them. Sure, it’s in the back of everyone’s head. If it wasn’t, the Powerball wouldn’t have people lined up to buy tickets. But, those of us with creative bents do what we do for first off, vindication. Validation might be a better word. Creation is a solitary occupation. We are plagued with self doubt, emotional swings you wouldn’t believe, and most of all the thought that we have wasted much of our life pursuing something that only we get. To get published in any form, tells us we did something right. We weren’t fools for hiding behind a laptop or desktop screen for hours on end. Our work has touched a chord inside others. We have touched another human being and allowed our dreams to become their dreams. I know that sounds self-serving, but everyone wants the approval of someone. We want someone to believe in us. When another person reads your book, listens to your music or is moved by a work of art, we feel a satisfaction unlike any other.
The second thing is that we want to make a living doing something we truly love. Who wouldn’t want to have something that wonderful? I’m not talking millions of dollars here. Most of us simply want to make enough to support our families. Keep roofs over our heads. Have the funds to provide college for our kids. Have nest eggs for our old age. Those are things every person aspires to have. We just want to have them doing something we’re passionate about. Some of us are lucky enough to get that dream.
When ebooks hit, it opened a new world of opportunity for would be authors to gain their dream. Writers who big publishers might have overlooked were finding homes at independent publishers who exploded onto the scene when ebooks became a reality. I was around in those early days. It was exciting. Like with any good thing, bad apples abounded. Publishers popped up and six months later disappeared, tying up author’s works in all sorts of legalities. A lot of great authors just walked away disillusioned by what had happened to them. I, myself, lived through a couple of those shutdowns. I lost writing partners who went back to the ‘real’ world letting their dreams die. I’m not saying a piece of me didn’t die when it happened to me. I’m not even saying I was a better writer than some of those who are not around now. Nope, I’m saying I might have been too stupid to quit. I’ll gladly cop to stupid.
Now, it’s a new fight to keep your dream alive. I love the fact people read my books and actually enjoy them. It fulfills part one of why I create. Like I said above, writing professionally is a business. Many of my friends depend on income from writing to live. Not in big mansions, but in small homes, apartments, mobile homes. We do it in hopes that one day we might attain the dream of the New York Times Best Sellers List. Until we do, most of us work day jobs, night jobs, shift work, anything we can to feed our families, and basically keep our heads above water, so in what little free time we have, we can create worlds for readers to escape into.
When people bypass the checkout line and go to free read sites, they’re creating something themselves. What you may be asking yourselves? Well simply put — a world where the authors they love to read for free are working at the chain department store of your choice, or just a plain crap job, instead of writing because as much as they love to write, they love to eat and provide for their kids more. I seldom get preachy, and am sorry if I am today. But, sometimes your conscience guides you to speak plainly and passionately about issues.
So, if you love an author, buy from that author. Support them so they can keep doing what you love to read, or you might be thanking them for bagging your groceries instead.