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What are some of the hidden difficulties of being a writer?
Last week I chatted about a couple of the more obvious, oft-talked about difficulties that writers have in the industry. This week I want to talk about some of the more hidden, possibly insidious difficulties that writers face.
1) Reader Retention
Reader here can reference anyone from general audience to editors and publishers to even agents.
Most people write on the side rather than as a full-time gig because of spotty payment, lack of health insurance, and inability to pay bills on that level of income. This means that writing can often take a secondary or even backseat to other priorities, which can lead to a less consistent output than in other industries. Couple this with the difficulty in actually selling stories, first to agents or editors, and then to readers, there can be some lengths of time between publications. (Both of which I talked about last week.)
One of indirect results is that readers will forget you. They’ll forget your name, forget the stories, the way those stories made them feel, etc. Editors/publishing houses will then take that into consideration when deciding to buy the next book, because why buy a book that might not make as much as someone else’s?
Example: one author I know of had started a well-selling series, but then had some life difficulties. 11 years later, he tried to sell the next book in the series to the same publisher, who turned him down because of that giant gap in time would lead to less readers.
Now, most authors don’t wait 11 years to write the next book, thus that is a more extreme example. However, in publishing, despite how slow they seem, there’s a high expectation of constant and quick publications. If you’re not publishing at least 1 book a year in traditional publishing, you’re too slow. If you’re not publishing every 3-4 months as an indie author, you’re too slow. Continue reading