Archive | September 2013

On reaching a nadir

I just wanted to use the word nadir in a blog post heading! It’s one of my favourite words and in my opinion such a beautiful word should in fact mean the opposite of what it does. Zenith just doesn’t cut it as far as I’m concerned.

But yes, I am at a nadir. I wish I were at a zenith.

When I was first published it was amazing. I was in a cloud of happiness wondering how I got so lucky. And the moment when I held my first copy of The Legacy in my hands is one I’ll never forget. Those were my words, and they were in a book!

Two years later and with my second book out, it amazes me how the reality of being published is absolutely nothing like the myth. Friends have listened agog as I’ve told them how little I earn per book, and indeed how little I have actually earned. Most people think that if you’re published you’re on the way to at least a comfortable income, with maybe a bit of fame thrown in. No, sadly without a day job you’re likely on the way to poverty, and no one wants to know you when you’re just another unknown author among so many. Still, it’s not fame I want or need, but a reasonable income, and that seems to be like looking for snow in the desert.

If I’d known then what I know now, would I have given up work to write? Yes, because it was the only way I could achieve my dream. The day job was squeezing the creative life out of me and I couldn’t write other than in sporadic bursts when stress levels were low enough to allow it.

Now I’m finishing novel number three, and as I’ve mentioned in an earlier blog post, I shall be self-publishing this time. One agent has expressed an interest in my work, but not in this particular novel (although it’s changed drastically since she saw it). Either way I simply can’t wait the months or years it might take to obtain an agent and then for the book to sell to a publisher. I need to earn some money now. I can’t do any worse by self-publishing considering my earnings from traditional publishing so far would still only pay a couple of electricity bills.

So I am at a nadir in my writing career, struggling to keep cheerful in the face of continual disappointment, and plagued by bursts of despair, but writing is too important to me – too much a part of me – for me to do something else. It’s what I want to do and it always has been.

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