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POINT OF VIEW: Keeping Hope Alive

These are troubled times in the world at large.

These are troubled times in our little corner of the publishing business, too.

Once again, someone in the queer romance world has been credibly accused of plagiarism.

Several of our publishers have recently closed, and another is going through a major disruption.

Some of my author friends are waiting months for royalties, and at the same time are being squeezed by Amazon and other online retailers.

Scammers have figured out how to game the system through a variety of tricks, and skim Amazon royalties off the backs of the rest of us.

It’s a crappy time to be a writer.

And yet, it’s also a glorious time to be a writer.

We have more ways to get our work out than ever before. More publishers, more distributors, more options for sending our word babies out into the world ourselves than ever before.

We have great tools for creating covers and a host of professionals at our fingertips, and a wonderful community of writers who support one another.

We can create beautiful books for folks to read. If only we could actually make some decent money doing it.

It’s something that keeps me up at night – trying to figure out how to turn this writing thing that so far is basically an expensive hobby into a paying gig.

In five years, I’ve written and published 35 stories, including 7 novels. I’ve stacked up more five star reviews than birthdays. And yet my total royalties in the last five years wouldn’t pay for a flat in San Francisco for more than two months.

My best-selling book to-date probably earned me $5 an hour for the time it took to write and edit it, and that’s before I take into account the various publicity costs.

I should really pack it up and just quit writing.

But I won’t.

I’m a writer. I live to write, and I write to live. I could no more stop writing than cut off my own arm. When I’m writing, I just feel better – about my life and about myself.

And so I keep writing. I work my ass off, I do all the Twitter pitch events, and try to work out the best way to reach the next level – you know, the one that actually pays enough to make this whole writing thing worthwhile.

Maybe I’ll get there one day. Hope springs eternal, right?

Hope for my work. Hope for our community. Hope for the world.

Tomorrow is another day, and maybe, just maybe, we’ll find a way to make less of a mess of it all than we did today.

To my writer friends, what are you doing to level up? And how do you keep your hope alive?

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