It is such an honour and a pleasure when a site like Love Bytes Review asks you to speak on their forum. As an author, a member of the community, and a reader, it is validating and exciting to have someone recognize what you do and put enough credence into it that they want you to be a guest member of their team.
Of course, there have been more than a few times where I find myself out of time and out of ideas and scrambling to come up with something. It’s the nature of the beast, and more often than not, it ends up working out. If it doesn’t, well, there’s always the good old fashioned giveaway to fall back on. Being at a loss for ideas is a thing, but for me, it’s usually short-lived.
Unfortunately, it seems that the problem has becomes a little more serious than it usually is. I’m finding myself struggling to write — and not only blog posts, but novels, stories, tweets, emails… I can’t even blame it on the infamous “writer’s block” because I have tons of ideas and I know where I want to go with everything. I just can’t make myself write them. I’m at a complete, and probably unreasonable, loss.
I’ve always said that a writer in our genre better love what they do, because the financial gains and the respect of other writers outside of our genre just aren’t there. We’re mocked to pursue something “serious” by family, friends, and coworkers. And no matter how much love for your work there is out there, it is extremely difficult to make a reasonable amount of money off of it because (a) we just don’t have the number of readers to support it, and (b) there are too many entitled folks out there that think we ought to be doing this for free and who will torrent/pirate your books.
Financially, writing in this genre can be exhausting. I am not exaggerating when I say that the hours that we put into writing, editing, setting up promos and blog tours, purchasing or creating things for giveaways, and keeping our websites active and up to date, do tend to net out in the cents as opposed to the dollars. It really can be hard to justify the effort against the reward.
We’ve heard time and again that anything “worth” doing is going to be hard to do, and that we just have to want it bad enough to make it happen. I’ve said it myself. I’ve written about it, even. The problem is, the older I get, and the more that I do, and the harder I try, the more I’m becoming convinced that that’s a crock of shit. That maybe even that way of thinking is a capitalistic and elitist push that has been forced down our throats since childhood in order to instill the “virtue” that it’s okay to work for next to nothing, and ensures that we don’t validate our efforts against what we get back for doing them. Yes, we need to work hard, yes, we have to have a desire to succeed, but neither of things will guarantee our success.
Because here’s the thing: only two percent of published authors will make what is considered a living wage from their craft (or, in other words, a sum equivalent to what a person would make in a minimum-wage position). Of that two percent, only two percent of those authors will make enough of an impact with their craft to earn what most of us would consider a reasonable wage. The kind of wage you could buy a home with, maintain your car with, afford the occasional vacation with, etc., etc. To get to anything higher than that, we’d have to whittle that number down even further, and in the same degree of exponential differences.
So, that’s two percent of two percent, for a decent wage. Don’t trust my math as absolute truth, but I sincerely doubt it’s because two thousand, four hundred and ninety-nine authors out of twenty-five hundred don’t want it badly enough.
Let’s face it, real success—the kind you’d write with shiny stars, and special fonts, and glittery backgrounds—isn’t about working hard, or hoping hard, or even crying hard. It’s about meeting the right people, being at the right place at the right time, and making the right statement for that exact moment. It’s smoke and mirrors, shenanigans and miracles… and one-hundred percent unattainable for two thousand, four hundred and ninety-nine of us.
When one starts thinking like that, it becomes hard to write anything. Not just novels, not just stories, but blog posts, marketing tweets, and grocery lists.
The point being, I’m tired, I’m cranky, I’m questioning not only the craft but the entire setting, and I’m not enjoying doing the things I used to have fun doing. It’s time for a break. From guest posts, from writing, from blog tours, and promos. It’s not time to toss out the pens, but it’s time to put them away for a while.
So thank you so much, Love Bytes, for having me as a guest these past three years. (Can you believe it’s been that long already?!) I can probably never make you understand how overwhelmed and flattered I was back in 2014 to hear that you wanted me to be a recurring guest. To be honest, I thought you’d asked the wrong person; that you thought I was somebody else. You were one of the first few sites to consider me an author worth dealing with, and that was a huge boost to my confidence. Since then your site has always been appreciative, supportive, and a pleasure to work with. Thank you, forever.
To the readers and the commenters that have participated these many months, thank YOU as well. I hope you continue to enjoy your experiences in this genre and that you have many happy hours of reading and reviewing ahead of you. Thank you for being part of my process, as your feedback, suggestions, and considerations have changed for the better the way that I write, the way I respond, and the way I deal with people in general.
By the way, if you have a thing for pics of cats, food, a super cute Chihuahua, or the random park, vacation, or Lake Ontario shot, maybe I’ll see you around at any of the social media contact spots below. Otherwise, may you always walk within the reach of those who love you and in the shadow of your creator. Hope to see you again soon.
All my love,
AF Henley <3
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About the Author
Henley was born with a full-blown passion for run-on sentences, a zealous indulgence in all words descriptive, and the endearing tendency to overuse punctuation. Since the early years Henley has been an enthusiastic writer, from the first few I-love-my-dog stories to the current leap into erotica.
A self-professed Google genius, Henley lives for the hours spent digging through the Internet for ‘research purposes’ which, more often than not, lead seven thousand miles away from first intentions but bring Henley to new discoveries and ideas that, once seeded, tend to flourish.
Henley has been proudly publishing with Less Than Three Press since 2012.