Sitting here this evening, thinking about how I just released a brand new book, Winter Haunting. Somehow, this is book number fourteen for me that is out in the world. While I’m proud of that number, and of myself, it always makes me a little bit sad.

Ever since I was a little kid, I wanted to be a writer. As soon as I could hold a pencil, I was off and nothing could stop me. I have pages and pages, so many notebooks, filled up with old stories. That kid had lofty dreams, big dreams, and while I have been doing what I love, it’s not quite everything I dreamed of as a child.

It sure isn’t paying the bills, if you know what I mean.

The money I have made from my books is…minimal. At best a couple hundred bucks. At worst….a couple hundred bucks. I never imagined I’d be some bestseller or anything like that, not even close, but I also thought it would be more somehow. I’ve made more money off short stories and anthology pieces, and off poetry, than off my novels. Which breaks my heart a little.

It is a sad, lonesome feeling to be a creator who is often overlooked. I’m not talking about accolades or awards, I have those, but with people you know. I have a few dedicated readers, and close friends who read my work, but most people I know, and have known for years, have never read a word I’ve written. That, more than anything, is what saddens me a lot of the time. Not the money. Not any of that. It’s seeing the low number of sales versus the people who say they’ll read something, and then never do. Heck, I’ve given books AWAY and still haven’t had people take them. That can’t be good!

A few years ago, when I released A Crooked Mile, I threw a book release party at the local library. 50 people RSVP’d. Only three or four showed up. That was the lowest I think I’ve ever felt as a writer. That was hard to overcome.

But I did. Overcame it, I mean. I kept writing, and I still do. While it does sometimes hurt, I realized awhile ago that I write for me. If a word never gets read, then I can come to terms with that. Because this is about myself, and fulfilling something I wanted for my entire life.

I think I’m just letting of some steam before Saturday. That’s when I, along with a high school friend Michelle, will be at the Appy Awards. Definitely not something I ever foresaw happening, but that I’m also proud of. Maybe my books don’t sell a lot of volumes, maybe I’ll always be a nobody from Appalachia, but I feel like the good moments outshine the bad ones.

There are two other Appalachian women nominated for best writer, and I have a pretty good idea of which one is going to win. I’m honestly happy to just be there. Knowing that I story I wrote resonated enough with people to even be on the finalist list? Worth more than any small amount of money I could make off royalties any day.

So the struggling creators out there, I see you. I try hard to support all of you, and when I can’t with money or purchasing your work, I try to at least offer words of encouragement. Whatever you’re creating, do it for YOU first. I promise, once you figure that out? The rest is gravy.

Leave a Reply