The more I expand my repertoire, the more I realize that the writers who seem to be growing their audience don’t just write. A lot of us are slush readers, editors, artists, and so on, with multiple avenues that allow us to get ourselves out there.
I work on the staff at Quantum Muse reading everybody’s work and helping to decide what gets published. I started and run the twitter page as well. It’s not a paying gig. And I have no problem declaring that writers who work for free are fools. I am one such fool, but I love it. I’m doing what I can to keep working my way forward.
The more I reach out to other writers and try to help aid them, the better my work seems to get and the more stories I’m able to sell. So yeah, I’m a fool. But it’s helping me.
If I only cared about making money, I wouldn’t be a writer. Yes it is a business, no one ever seems to forget that. And sure, it’s insanely hard work. Well for those of us who are really out there promoting their work. But that’s what makes it great.
I spent the entire past weekend at my book signing, running a booth myself because the publisher for my children’s book is based in CA and my illustrator was out sick. It didn’t matter. I wanted to get out and talk to my readers. Yeah I was exhausted by the end, that’s to be expected. It’s events like that that remind me of why I do what I do and make me feel that I what I’m doing is a real career.
A lot of people hear “writer” and want to write you off as a bum. I have been homeless before, but I’ve never been a bum. I’ve always earned my keep and writing is the hardest job I’ve ever had.
So to all my fools I say keep at it. Make sure you expand your prospects by getting on with some kind of publication. And yes you may have to work for free for a while, but if you really love writing that won’t matter. Day jobs will always exist if things get tight.