I was looking over my blog post Writing Books of the Heart. It springboarded off a blog post by Kris Rusch, who talked about writers burning out, writing in a genre they don’t really like, but can’t stop writing, because it pays the bills.
I had another thought percolating related to this one. I was lurking in a writers’ discussion where people were talking about why they write.
People have a lot of different reasons for writing. A lot of them want to change the world, or help/encourage people in some aspect of their lives. Some people talk big about “if I help ONE PERSON then this book will have been worth it!”
Then they turn around and talk about how they made four bucks in book sales last month. Everybody shrugs and laughs, embarrassed.
And I’m over here thinking, but what if those four bucks came from that ONE PERSON who really needed to read your book?
But no, the only metrics that matter, when you get down to brass tacks, is the money. The numbers of books moved doesn’t matter. It’s pretty well known by now that free book giveaways don’t do anything, because readers never read something they picked up for free. You can move a million units and nothing happens.
But when people buy a book, they’re more invested in reading it. Aha! Writers latch onto those sales as a measurement of worth. Somebody wanted my book bad enough to pay ACTUAL MONEY for it.
And let’s not even get into the rabbit hole that is reviews.
So, I’m curious, now. Which is it? Are we writing to help people, seeking validation that way? Or are we only validated by making gobs and gobs of money? Or are we only helping people when they’re paying us gobs of money?