The “Writing Game” is unlike any other hustle out there. Books are not a product you can wear to upgrade your appearance. They are not flashy like new rims for the whip nor or they edible like Sister William’s dried up chicken dinners from church. (Truth be told, her chicken may not be all that edible either but at least consumers will buy it in hopes of being sustained LOL!) While nerds like myself may get “high” from reading a good book, for most, they’re not a drug that can be sold for a quick dollar on a street corner, alley, or at some kickback or fly ass party. And they’re definitely not like music CDs where we as authors can stand outside in front of the hottest club in town and harass folks to buy our “new joint” because it’s “fire”!
Nope! The “Writing Game” does not work like that. If you are fortunate enough to benefit from a publishing contract with a large or medium sized publishing house, for most, that means even though you get a pretty, nice, advance up front, you still have to go somewhere and punch a clock to earn a living. It means endless days and nights of doing promotional events and media spots hoping to become recognized so that you can make a strong enough impression for your audience to run out and buy your product. It means getting your website in order and on point, blogging your life away, and being active on all fronts of social media including, FaceBook, Twitter, Instagram, You Tube and Pintrest.
Now for self-publishing authors like myself, we have the luxury of doing all of the above MINUS the up-front advance. (Oh Joy! Oh Rapture!) Oh but wait “hun-tee” here’s the kicker…You work a regular job, bust your ass day and night and twice on Sundays writing a hellava a story, you have it edited, you select a cover, and get it ready for print just to be sold for the glorious price of ….wait for it….wait for it….wait for it… 99 cents!! Yes Ladies and Gentlemen, 99 pennies, 99 brownies, 99 coppers!! Did you hear me? In Spanish: 99 centavos…In French: 99 centimes…In Italian: 99 centisimi…In Ebonics: 99 shit tokens!!
What’s a writer to do? Hope that we will somehow magically sell 100,000 copies? Chile please! That’s like the Tea Party still hoping Obama really isn’t the President! Realistically, there isn’t a whole lot that we can do because the internet has been a Gift and a Curse for both consumers and authors alike.
Gift to the Consumer: Do you know I can take $20 and buy 20 different titles from Amazon to download and have them instantly delivered?
The Curse: Because the market is sooooooo damn saturated now and somebody lied and told KuntaQuintisha that she can tell a great hood-rat story, everybody in the whole world is now a “writer” and out of the 20 books I just downloaded, only 7 will actually be worth the 99 shit tokens, 2 of them severely underpriced, and the rest leaving me uttering an a wide assortment of various WTF’s.
Gift to the Author: Who cares if a big publishing house will not publish my work? I can now cut out all the expensive middle men, the overpriced print on demand vendors , and anybody else that have their hand out trying to charge ME to print my OWN book. I can actually do it myself for free!
The Curse: Log on to Amazon and see just how many “writers” have figured the “Gift” out and then guess what the going price for their books are? Did you say 99 shit tokens? LOL! LOL!
Here and by far is where the problem lies. There is a plethora of books of every genre for 99 cents for readers to choose from, but as a writer, having to sell your blood, sweat, and tears for 4 quarters when the going rate for a typical novel before the e-book explosion was at least $10 to $12 bucks is a very hard pill to swallow. It has gotten so bad, that even established writers such as Eric Jerome Dickey, Kimberla Lawson Roby, and even John Grisham can no longer offer their kindle versions or e-books at $10 or $12. They have now dropped to $5.99 and what not.
So what do you do as a new writer struggling to get your name out there trying to compete in a world full of thousands and thousands of books all priced at 99 cents? You can try to STOMP WIT DA BIG DOGS and price your book at $5.99, but please don’t get mad when you’re expecting a royalty check and it looks like Terrell Owens, Chad Ochocino, and Allen Iverson’s paychecks all put together. Or you can price your book at 99 cents like the competition, try really hard to make your story stand out, promote your ASS off and pray that one day your book fall in the lap of North West or Blue Ivy’s parents…or Oprah…or at least Gail geez!! LOL!!
Bottom line, with having to sell our books for pennies just to be priced competitively among our fellow scribblers, most of us have come to realize we’re not in for the profit. We do it because it’s our passion and whether we make $1 or $1,000 we will continue to tell our stories because we all have something to say…. Yes, even KuntaQuintisha!! LOL!!
To da write…to da write!! 😉
Peace & Blessings Yall!!