It’s A Tough Business

Writing is a tough business.
It’s tough getting the “right” idea on paper
and pushing through all the words until the very last one.
Tougher when you realize that you can’t just write one book.
You need to write the next one (preferably a series), and just get it done.
It’s tough to listen to well-meaning critics go on and on
about how traditionally-published books are a hundred times better than yours,
tougher still when you believe all the hype
and so you find yourself knocking on closed doors.
It’s tough to hear people say anyone can write a book–even their cat.
It’s tough knowing it’s not enough to pour your heart and soul onto that page,
You also need to wear that business hat.
It’s tough seeing yourself fumble through all the marketing
only to see your beloved book buried beneath all the rest;
visibility is the writer’s worst enemy, it’s true, but keep on hustling
for this gig is not a test.
It’s tough when you don’t have the supportive network of family
and friends to help you through the tough times;
not that you’ll want them to buy your book for their buying habits
will only mess up your also-boughts, and that would be a crime.
It’s tough when you find out that no one’s bought your book;
tougher still when you realize that no one’s heard of it. They haven’t even looked.
And when you think you’re doing everything right,
it’s tough to hear about the ones who game the system and win.
It’s a tough business over all, just don’t do as they do,
don’t let your morals wear thin.
Because it’s a tough business any way you look at it,
made even tougher when you’ve got things to prove to yourself.
It’s tough when you hear the doubters say you’ll never make it,
made even tougher when they’re all inside your head.

EDITED TO ADD: I wrote this as a response to an author saying she was quitting the business after the latest KDP ranking manipulation scam (click-farms) that hit again during the weekend. So a lot was lost in the absence of context. 

9 thoughts on “It’s A Tough Business

    1. Yup! I’m keeping those blinders one, Michael! I was actually reading a few blog posts during the weekend lamenting the low sales and people gaming the system and hitting #1 in the whole Amazon store (this from 300K rank an hour earlier straight up to #1 – no ads, no nothing) and someone said she was going to quit because of it. I figured I’d write something but it ended up rhyming in parts so I made it into a poem instead.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You’re as amazing a human being as you are a writer Liz. I have no doubt that if you keep at it a huge audience will find you and all the work you have put into it will have been worth it. I’ll always be your fan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Robert! So nice to see you here! I was reading a few blogs over the weekend and noted the down note of most of them about sales and people gaming the system and figured I’d write my response in a blog post and then I ended up with a few rhymes I didn’t intend so I thought a poem would be best 🙂

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  2. Thank you for sharing this, Liz. Had no idea about the KDP ranking manipulation. How unfortunate for everyone, especially writers who aren’t gaming the system. Hopefully readers will know to look past the rankings to find the hidden gems. You’re an awesome writer! Hang in there and never give up! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Alexi! David Gaughran tweeted and blogged about it and it’s been interesting to see what people are willing to do to get on top of the Amazon charts – but then that also means thousands of dollars in earnings so it’s worth it to them. It’s made a few authors just throw their hands up in the air and just want to give up but what can one do? You just keep working at it is all you can do.

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