Is there one for authors?
I was really interested to read this summation by Kristin K Rusch today. She’s a wise woman who has been published on both sides of the track and has consistently been a clearheaded voice as the indie movement gained strength from the early 2000’s.
“In traditional publishing, the average length of a writer’s active career is about ten years. That clock usually starts with the first major professional sale, and ends when the writer either can’t handle the crazy of traditional publishing any more and/or when the writer can no longer sell a book to any traditional publisher due to a variety of factors (including but not limited to declining sales numbers, burnout, difficulty of working with the author, burnout, difficulty of working with the publisher, burnout)….
The thing … I have come to realize is that indie careers have a shelf life as well. Most indie writers seem to be disappearing after five to six years of really hard work…
Much of that is burnout. Some of it, though, is that hamster wheel of doom and the mature market. When a market is new, it’s in a boom cycle and everyone gets rich. When a market is mature, it’s in a sustainable place where some get rich, while others make a healthy living, but nothing more.’’
All of the above is noted from The Passive Voice today with a sharp addendum from PG on his view of the continuing revolution:
‘Suffice to say, PG doesn’t believe that the revolution is over for authors and publishers. Electronic and communications technologies will continue to grow apace over at least the next several years and the population at large will continue to want stories, so the future is still bright for storytellers.’
In view of all this I will say that I’ve had 11 novels indie-published since 2008. I’m still in the game and still earning albeit much smaller since 2014, when international events and the mega-explosion of the indie market made it tough for everyone.
Part of the continuing efficacy of my sales comes, I believe, from being a cross-genre writer. It helps not to have all one’s eggs in the one basket. Others might disagree, saying that writing across genres effectively waters down the strengths in any one genre. Even, to a point, waters down the strength of one’s brand.
Maybe, maybe not.
So here’s to the hope that my ‘use-by’ date doesn’t happen any time soon because I love writing and the word, I have a heap of ‘stories’ in my brain, and I love that my words can entertain the marketplace.
As far as I’m aware, there’s no ‘use-by’ date stamped on any part of me so I’ll just keep going until I can’t go anymore. Rather like ‘The Little Engine that Could.’
A very interesting and thought provoking idea which could be considered in several creative spaces I think. Although I’m not sure I believe in a Use by Date as such, maybe more a change in direction!
I agree, Catherine. I hate the thought that I or my creative endeavours have a use-by date.
The change in direction is interesting. I’ve always written for enjoyment, from when I was a little girl. About 20 years ago, I had returned to university to do a bookbinding/book artist’s diploma. I noticed that I was spending much more time on the creative writing side of the pieces I was working on, so that they actually told stories. That was the Ah-Ha moment. I left book art and began to write a story. That story of course, never saw the light of day. But it took me on further and I wrote another story and it was indie-published in 2008. The rest they say, eleven novels later, is history.