Yes, I know that I’m not scheduled for another blog post until tomorrow. But today is special. A holiday worth celebrating…
This is a post that I have been meaning to write for a while. I have had several of you mention how I should set up a Patreon or Ko-fi account. But that doesn’t interest me. Let me tell you why.
Since the time I learned to read when I was ten, books have been some of my best friends. They have inspired me, taught me, enriched my life. They have made me laugh, cry, and horny. In the pages of books or on the screen of a tablet, I have been transported to places I’ll never go. I have travelled through time itself. I have fallen in love a thousand times (at least). They have seen me through my darkest moments and my happiest days.
Books are as vital to me as air, water, and food.
And I buy them by the dozens every month. In charity shops or on Kindle. I don’t begrudge a penny that I spend on them.
But the sad truth is that of every pound/dollar I spent those writers see pennies. Even the self-published ones usually receive less than half of my money. No, my money goes primarily to publishers and third-party vendors like Amazon. Still, I do it…
Because like alcoholics and drug dealers feeding my addiction, I simply don’t care where my money goes as long as I get my fix.
And as a writer?
Selling my books takes too much of my time, energy, and yes, money. Paying editors, cover designers, and formatters, all of whom are usually writers themselves, who aren’t able to make it on their book sales. My patronage to their services feeds their writing addiction as well as their mouths.
I did that once upon a time. As a struggling single parent of an autistic little girl, living in a dingy London flat on benefits, I played all the right games. I partnered in anthologies with other writers whose works I did not enjoy. I spent time on social media (I still have to, but not as much). And occasionally, when I could I paid a few quid to market my books.
I made almost nothing. And my stress went through the roof.
The pressure to be an author actually robbed me of the joys of writing.
Then my millionaire Dom hero came into our lives. Yes, it was better than any romance I ever read, and funnier too. I promise for our fifth anniversary I’ll tell you all the story of our first date. But having struggled my whole life just to get by, it wasn’t easy coming to terms to that word…I still have problems with it. Though, I have come to understand we are only middle class. Upper-middle, I’ll grant you, but that says something incredibly sad about the world in which we live.
But having been poor for fifty years makes me more aware of the privileges I know enjoy. Just the ability to buy books rather only read the ones on Kindle Unlimited, or from a charity shop/yard sale, or borrowed from a library is a honor that I do not take for granted.
As I’ve said before, I might have outgrown narrow-minded and hypocritical churches, but that Jesus dude said some pretty wise shit, like:
For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required.Luke 12:48
These past few years I have been blessed beyond my wildest dreams, not merely with our @HomeCrazzyHome and financial stability but with Alan, @PanKwake, other other offspring, and friends. Even on my worst day, I have more than I ever had.
But with that privilege comes responsibility.
The responsibility to give back.
Whether that be the extra produce from our #urbanfarm & #homestead, my knowledge and experience of #neurodivergence and self-directed learning, things we no longer need or want, my time to pick up rubbish in the local park, good food to feed friends or the homeless, or especially whatever talent I have for telling stories, it is my privilege and responsibility to utilize those gifts and talents to the best of my ability to make this a better world for us all.
I get that not all writers can afford to do what I do. Heck, there was a time I could not. And I don’t judge them. But I would encourage everyone to ask the question…
Am I doing this out of need or greed?
If I sold my stories or asked for donations, in my case, it would be greed. Because all my needs, other than your kind comments and likes, are met through other means.
Will I change the world? Maybe. But I like to think that my stories changed someone’s world at least a little bit – everyday. Because that is a more precious reward than any string of zeros on a bank account or piece of paper…both of which are nothing more an illusion and have no value beyond our faith in them.
Although I may never be a ‘Best-selling’ author, one day I’d like to be a beloved storyteller.
And that is why…for as long as I can…I will choose to give my talents away. Although I see it more as investing in people, rather than corrupt publishing systems. Or perhaps an even better analogy would be planting a seed in the hearts and minds of readers.
So, please, celebrate this #WorldBookDay and every day by reading.
Goddess bless you with fresh air, clean water, enough food to fill your belly, a roof over your head, a loving shoulder to cry on, a best friend to laugh with, and a good book to curl up with,