Author Blues

No Isn’t an Option at 67 Years Old


String 50000 to 100000 together along with some characters and an interesting plot and maybe you’ll have a novel.

Will it sell?

The only guaranteed sales would be if you made the book purchases yourself. Don’t depend upon friends and family – they can rapidly disappear at that critical book launch time. My good friend who calls me his ‘best friend’ has never asked me what any of my books are about – this over an 18-year span.


So, suck it up. You’re a writer. That means you’re likely a loner. Get used to it.

The best question, in my opinion, an author can ask himself is ‘Why am I writing this book? What is the primary reason?”

To make a lot of money?

Save the world?

To horrify people?

To entertain people?

To become famous?

To educate others?

To be of assistance to others who may be encountering similar problems that your characters are experiencing?

Will your answer(s) carry you through to the end? Or will you waver, maybe even quit after 100 pages?

How important is it that you write this book? Are you doing it for you or for someone else?

Are you trying to prove something? That you are a published author? That you are a great humanitarian? You don’t need to prove anything.

What is going to resonate with your readers? And, more critically, who will be your target audience? These are all vital questions that you would ignore at your peril.

The indie market is an extremely tough place to sell books, in part, because there are so many free indie books out there. For many, it’s hard to give their books away, never mind sell them. Free is hard to resist, paying instead is a no-brainer.

Cynicism comes with experience and a whole lot of true and tried marketing efforts. Don’t give in too fast though. I haven’t nor do I intend to.  I know some writers whose experiences in the book marketing business soured them. They’ve stopped trying – maybe stopped writing too.

It happens.

When Melville’s “Moby Dick” debuted in 1851, reviewers trashed it. Many argued that it wasn’t even one of Melville’s best books. Today it is routinely placed among the top 100 best books in the English language by peers. “A survey of 100 authors from 54 countries named “Moby Dick” as one of the 100 best books of all time, alongside Homer’s “Odyssey” and Dante’s “The Divine Comedy.” – Chris Gaylord, The Christian Science Monitor, October 18, 2012.

The take there could be that reviewers can be helpful but aren’t gods and many can be followers rather than bold leaders.

But there are successes. if for nothing else, use these never-say-no examples as inspiration – trust me, you’ll need a lot of that as an indie. You probably couldn’t find a better example of an indie success than The Creative Penn. A hard worker and smart with a multiple approach to writing success – a model for any writer. I’ve learned much from her over the years.


Joanna Penn



When I first started into the indie book-writing business back in 2004, I was awed by the tremendous potential for free exposure on the internet. Still am but my dreams met with the harsh reality of indie publishing. But I learned so much including the putting of entire novels – even a trilogy – together from start to finish and from the ground up. I have too much experience, I sometimes think.

I can now say that I’ve been there around the question of should I stop writing? My answer is simply no. That’s who I am, who I’ve always been. No isn’t an option at 67 years old.


Categories: Author Blues

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