The loneliness of the long distance author

People who start their own business have always had my undying admiration. They are a special breed, life’s true risk-takers – often foregoing the safety of a regular paycheck in the hope and belief they can produce a product, or provide a service, that the rest of us are willing to pay for.

I’m talking mainly about the start-at-the-bottom-rung kind of entrepreneurs who know from the get-go that there’s a lonely road ahead. It’s the sort of road where they will encounter long hours, discover little monetary return for their labours, and face dark periods of despair. Yet they soldier on, trying to lay the foundations of their business in the hope it will take root and grow.

Most will eventually succeed. Many will not, but it doesn’t stop them climbing back in the saddle after they’ve suffered a fall. Indeed one sage once remarked that to truly succeed in business you need to have first failed!

Personally I would rather succeed first time around. Thankfully statistics show that most entrepreneurs do manage to make a success of their first venture.

The book industry is full of such people. At the top of the tree are authors, many of whom have to pursue their passion on a part-time basis in the hope of establishing themselves to an extent that will enable them to make the jump to a full-time profession. In the meantime they sacrifice family life, social life, and a whole lot besides, in a single-minded – yet realistic – determination to turn their creative skills into a career.

And make no mistake about it – book selling is a business, perhaps one of the world’s most successful and evolving businesses. Just take a look at the support businesses that have sprung up behind authors:

Publishing houses
Cover designers
Social Media Platformers
eBook Converters.

There are many more, not to mention the book stores and online book sellers standing at the end of the chain.

However, today’s new breed of indie author has to roll all these businesses into one. He/she has to be an editor, proofer, agent and marketer – small wonder therefore that many still have a mountain to climb after they finish writing.

Remember this the next time you buy a book. Think of the long hours, stretching into days, weeks, months and, even years, it has taken to place the work in front of you – and all at a price far less than the cost of a gallon of petrol (probably not a good comparison since everything these days seems to cost less than a gallon of petrol, but you get the drift!)

Without readers these people simply couldn’t exist. The thing that continues to drive them is that book-buying is an annual growth business, and that readers are demanding more diversity than ever before.

Somewhere between the author and reader there is a natural match-up waiting to happen. The trick is for the author to find a way to cross that bridge, and for the reader to take a chance with a new kid on the block.

Have you recently read a new author? Do you usually buy a ‘paper’ book or are you into eBook downloads? Do you check the background of an author? Do you consider you get value for money? If you have any views I’d love to hear them. Please use the Leave A Reply box below.

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3 Responses to The loneliness of the long distance author

  1. Laurence O'Bryan says:

    Great post, Joe. We are each of us, writers on a road, which heads towards the mountains. At first we see the foothills, but beyond the first hills the peaks loom. All the best and a wave from the pass to your left. The way is clear from here, storms abating.

  2. joemccoubrey1 says:

    Way to go Arlene! Keep on the lonely road and good luck with your writing.

  3. arlenreoneil says:

    For years I wrote and people told me I had a talent. Of course, they were mostly friends and family. What else could they say? As time went on and my audience grew I started to believe I actually might have talent. So I decided to write a book and found a publisher. I didn’t expect to make much money and was more concerned with the messages in my book that what went into my pocket. I write because it is my passion. It is a lonely existence at times…hours spent in front of a blank page searching my brain for words. But then a flow starts and my fingers can’t keep up. I have had many falls and set backs, but continue on hoping someday to be taken seriously. Working on my second book now, I am more confident, don’t fall as often, and have broadened my target market. Juggling a farm, a house, writing, marketing, promoting etc. is not an easy task. But for a true writer, it is the only road to take.

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