Why, Why, Why?

1500 books a day are published. The average book sells about 500 copies with the better authors retaining maybe a dollar or two per book. 75% of Americans read only one book last year and the number of readers, especially among young adults, falls as fast as the level of ignorance is rising. When such statistics are considered, anyone willing to spend 10,000 hours (the normal amount of time required to become proficient at an endeavor) writing in order to learn their craft, hone an extremely difficult art form, and finally create a novel or nonfiction book that is almost certainly destined to be lacerated by editors, ignored by the public and fawned over by relatives who then savage the work behind the author’s back, are one of three things:

1. Genius

2. Naive (speaking with restraint)

3. Driven

Writing today can be compared to the cigarette industry. Smokers are quitting in mass except for a few die-hards (pardon the pun); the industry is in sharp decline; rewards for selling the product are practically nil; so who in their right mind would start up a new tobacco brand these days? Has anyone seen an advertisement for an unfiltered, nicotine-loaded, tar-saturated cigarette lately? Nope. And yet, though the writing business is in virtually as bad a shape, people are putting out books at a higher rate than ever. Why? Is there a national desire to spend years and years of hard labor to end up getting kicked in the stomach? Has the American psyche developed a craving for rejection(especially in a Form Letter format)? Is there a psychological classification of workaholics who love failure and futility?

The answer is a resounding No! Rather, Americans have an inherent need to express feelings, ideas and concepts. The byproduct of electrical machinery these days is isolation, but man was made a social being, resulting in the need to interact. That is the reason a writer being ignored by agents, editors, publishers and the public is so personally devastating. The answer then is for writers keep on writing, but be aware of the very slim chance of others participating beyond commiseration. However, we write not for commiseration, but to entertain, to inform, to enthrall. So, shun the machines and interact with human beings face to face. It’s less frustrating and more satisfying.

And yet, being driven, I write; being naive, I hope; and the genius part…oh, well…