Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Stealing from WiHi
This whole blog entry was first written to the WiHi yesterday, and since I don't want to waste such profundity on just one person, I am posting it here.
When I first started writing, less than three years ago, my friends were enthused and amazed. They wanted to hear every detail and begged me to read them the latest chapters and sat in rapt attention drinking my beer and listening. That's over. Most don't even know the title of the current book I am working on and when I mention it, change the subject to what they did on the weekend. I am not complaining, well, maybe just a little. I am making the point that applause can't be the driving force driving a writer to write. What started out for me as performance (and I love to perform!) has turned into an ordinary job, and not a very exciting or rewarding job either.
Yesterday, I spent hours perfecting one pitch letter, gleaning phrases from ten different sources to build a well-structured pitch to an agent. When I got done, I was disappointed with it. Oh, it was good, but it was far short of great. One pitch to one agent for one book with a one in a hundred chance she will want to see more and a one in a thousand chance she will sell it to a major publisher and a one in a hundred chance the book, once published, will take off... Do the math on the hours of work I did for one a shot at The Bigs.
On the other hand, I made a net of $3.68 before taxes on my e-book sales in the first five days I had them listed, on an investment of about $5000 (editing, covers, translation, printed samples, etc.) and a time investemnt of ?????? who knows how long. I am currently getting a return on the monetary investment of 5.6 %,, which is better than I am getting on my money market investments and about the same as I got on a recent real estate investment that I kept for about 5 years. The return on capital is good, and will get much better in the days ahead, but the pay per hour is a tiny fraction of what I could make flipping burgers.
What will I do with my day today? I will work on my book, whose title my friends can't keep straight in their heads, write another pitch letter to a dead-tree agent, write two pitches for reviews of my e books from book bloggers, and, if I have time, research the arcane and twisted ways of using Twitter to get rich. Now, I'm gonna take my dog for a run, and then do a weight work out.
NOTE: Updated figures. My return on my $5000 investment has gone up to 7.975% with the sale of more books yesterday. My compensation for labor has not even gone up by a penny per hour, however, even with the latest sales. But art is a labor of love then, eh?