Road to Joy or Road to Nowhere?

Recently, one of the wonderful Writers’ Digest editors, Jane Friedman (follow her on twitter @janefriedman), shared the following statistic from Book Expo America, which she was attending: “7 % of books published generate 87% of book sales and 93% of all published books sell less than 1,000 copies each.”

For a writer, those are sobering statistics.  Translated, this means “don’t quit your day job.”  Yet, we writers are a stubborn sort of group.  Thousands, maybe millions of us, keep chasing the dream.  Sure, I’d love to make money from my writing and I pray I will some day — I have FAITH that I will some day — but I know that I couldn’t stop writing if I tried whether it ever brings a dollar into our household kitty or not.

So I’ll keep writing, but I’ll also keep taking the ACTIONS that convert FAITH to RESULTS. How does a writer break out of the pack?  There is boundless advice on this topic out on the interwebs.  I won’t pretend expertise.  I will share my strategy, however.  Those that frequent this blog know I am never shy about sharing!

1.  Write well, write often (one of the reasons Road to Joy exists) — And enter contests. . . I learned today that I am a finalist with Leaving Annalise in the Writers’ League of Texas annual Manuscript contest, and I am fired up about it.

2.  Work hard and never give up — maybe that should have been #1

3.  Pursue the “credibility” of traditional publishing for my fiction –I have an agent reviewing the full manuscript for Going for Kona right now on exclusive, and I am working on a zippy revision of Leaving Annalise for her which she already reviewed on exclusive — this is a huge and wonderful development!  I can’t wait for Writers’ League of Texas Conference in June.

4.    Build an audience, pre-publication (another reason for Road to Joy) — see above graph of “trend line” for hits on Road to Joy in its first two months of existence — thank you! thank you!!  Consider a “like” click for me on Facebook, too.  Or a “follow” on Twitter.

5.  Collect email addresses of those that have an interest in my writingHelp a writer out…there are two ways to sign up to hear from me, both appear on the right column of this blog.  At the top, you can enter your email address to receive this blog to your email inbox.  Further down the column, you can enter your address for my private e-blast for quarterly e-newsletters.  Please consider signing up.

Recently, I stumbled across a cool experiment in creating success for unknown, little-purchased writers, called “The Author Effect.”  Catherine McKenzie (follow on twitter @cemckenzie1), herself a published author of note from Canada, has launched a group page on Facebook, “I bet we can make these books bestsellers.” Her goal is to create an Oprah-like effect for unknown writers with a grassroots effort.  Her first “project” is an author named Shawn Klomparens (follow on twitter @sklompar) whose books are rocketing up the ranking as a result of the group’s support.  Check it — and Shawn — out.  I’ve read both his books (Two Years No Rain, and Jessica Z), and they are wonderful.

I love this community concept, so let me make you an offer.  Writer friends, dreamer friends: let me know how I can help you.  Need advice on a blog?  Want an opportunity to guest publish on Road to Joy?  Do you have content you’d like to request I link to? Do you have a query letter, synopsis, short story, or excerpt you’d like me to read or critique?  Would you like to just commiserate together on our efforts?

It’s a daunting journey for us.  Let’s join forces on our road to the joy of the writing life.

Good luck, all.


Share →

7 Responses to This Ain't No Road to Nowhere

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Catherine McKenzie, PamelaFaganHutchins. PamelaFaganHutchins said: Keep the faith & take action despite staggering odds! #inspiration #writers citing @janefriedman @cemckenzie1 […]

  2. Heidiopia says:

    Great advice, and well-said! So proud of all you’ve accomplished in such a short time– can’t wait to be a part of whatever comes next. I’ll let you know when I’m ready to jump in with both feet. :-)

  3. G Man says:

    You are so right, Pamela. There are few joys in life greater than writing. When it comes from your heart and reverberates down to your soul, it can excite you, move you, shape your destiny, and define who you are. Thank you for sharing your inspiration and your words of faith, as well as your advice on achieving results.

  4. Christina says:

    My cousin sent me an email recently, in response to a blog I wrote about writing and self-censorship and she said, “Being a writer is like falling in love – when you know, you know.”

    She’s a writer – and an English teacher – who overcame a malignant brain tumor two years ago, one discovered about 6 weeks after giving birth to her son (my godson). Two surgeries (one an emergency) and 2 years of chemo and radiation later, and she’s tumor-free. She told me that she has a stack of forms she signed when she got out of her first surgery (when we had no idea if she would talk or walk or know who any of us were) where she signed her name, but had “forgotten” how to move her hand from left to right. Her signature was the letters of her name, written one over the next.

    Whenever I feel like I can’t write, or when I have to but don’t feel like it, I remember that story. I remember that this girl (who wrote her masters thesis with an apple-sized brain tumor growing in her head and a baby growing in her womb) had to re-learn how to sign her name so she could write again …

    It’s not about “anything” being possible, it’s about “everything” being possible

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *