Novelist – the myth vs. the reality

Lots of folks, when they heard my novel would be published, referenced the myth.

“Guess you’ll be quitting your job now.”

My mama raised me right, so I haven’t laughed in anybody’s face yet. I just try, politely, to explain the reality. In his Cockeyed Pessimist blog this month, The Permanent Press publisher Martin Shepard waxes frustrated about the business of bookselling, and links to this funny/sad piece in Red Room by novelist Ivan G. Goldman about that reality. Every writer I know has a similar story;

I was once asked to read from my (then) new novel Exit Blue at Beyond Baroque, a literary salon in Venice, CA. The organizers strongly hinted that I bring refreshments (“You know, a little wine, some munchies.”) I was so ignorant of these events that I didn’t stop to think they’d named a date over a Memorial Day weekend, when everyone is out of town. I may have had nine people in the audience, including my wife. The spread must have cost at least $50, and if I sold three books I’m lucky. I personally make about $2 a copy.

My partner, Scott, spent years trying to scratch out a living as musician, and he knows what it’s like to play an empty room. Boy, was he thrilled to hear that it’s no different for writers.

Luckily , I like my job at the Missoulian a lot. I also like to eat, and to sleep with a roof over my head. And lord knows Nell likes her kibble. When the time comes for me to peddle the book, please stop by. It’d be a shame to let the wine and munchies go to waste.

Filed Under: Bookselling


One response to “Novelist – the myth vs. the reality”

  1. crisndeefromde says:

    Just love reading your stories…….never stop Gwen…this is your passion!!