Saturday, January 11, 2014

Why Do I Write?

E. A. Black writes horror, dark fiction, and fantasy. She writes erotica and erotic romance under the pen name Elizabeth Black. Ms. Black lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband and four cats. You may find her on Facebook or on her web site.


I received my first royalty notice for 2014 about a week ago. It was a pittance. Granted, I have out only a short story with this publisher, and stand-alone short stories don't sell well. People want to use that money towards a novel or novella. Plus I have a threshold of $100 with this publisher so it's unlikely I'll see any money until Hell freezes over (and if you live in the northern US, that happened earlier this week, LOL). I made fun of my massive royalty statement, saying I made enough to buy a chocolate bar and who wanted to share it with me.

One writer asked a question in comments that got me thinking. He asked, "But we are not in this for money though, right?"

Why do I write? The thing is, I do want good sales. Good sales means people are buying my books and presumably reading them. Poor sales mean very few people are buying for whatever reasons. Some of my stories sell well whilst others have fallen into obscurity. I know that happens to all writers. I don't understand why some stories have appeal and others don't. It's crazy. Your masterpiece you worked on for years to perfect barely moves whilst something you slapped together in a day is a best seller. Go figure.

I write for several reasons. I need to express myself, and writing is my chosen form of expression. I vent in my writing. I express joy in my writing. An idea slams into my head and I must get it down and out of my system - in writing. Yes, I love it when my sales are stellar and I am dismayed when I work hard on a book (which I consider my baby) only to see it languish. It's hard to not take that sort of thing personally. I also write to sell books. Book sales mean readers are interested and are presumably reading what they have bought. In my opinion, I see no point in writing if very few people are interested in what I have to say. I'm not a diarist. I like the fan mail and the praise I see in social media.

The writerly life is not easy. Considering the massive number of rejections, bad or lackluster reviews (or complete lack of reviews), low sales, and writers block, it's a wonder I write at all. That said, the fan mail, unexpected sales spikes, Top Pick reviews, and award nominations keep me going. I have mixed feelings as I'm sure most writers do. I waver between feeling an urgency to write and wishing I could just chuck all of it and go to the tropics and raise bees.

I hope the bees don't win.

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