To obscurity and beyond

I read a slightly sad Tweet last night from an author nearing the end of her first book. She was bracing herself for the disappointment of watching her much loved work disappear into obscurity. After a couple of years of painstaking writing, pouring herself into the book, she was faced with the very real possibility that it would just disappear into the ever-growing sea of ebooks.

To be honest, her expectations are probably entirely realistic. Figures are difficult to obtain but an estimate is that a new ebook is uploaded to Amazon every 3–5 minutes. That adds up to, well a lot of books a day (I write, I try and avoid maths for the sake of my sanity). Chances are, her book, any book by a new author, is most likely to be swallowed up by this ocean. There are rare cases where a new book may be so good or so in tune with the public mood, and be lucky, and become a best seller or major movie, but you are probably more likely to strike it rich by buying a lottery ticket. That being said, I still half wait from a call from Netflix or Tom Cruise to negotiate the rights to my first book.

But, in my view, that isn’t a reason not to bother. I say write because you enjoy it. Write because there are characters and worlds inside you that need letting out. Write because it is good for your mental health. And, above all, write for yourself.

It is slightly strange to think that my book, such as it is, will still be available for people to read download and discuss many years after I am gone. A little part of me will live on in a much cheaper and less annoying way than having children.

In the meantime, all my cat wants is for me to earn enough to feed him and tickle his ears.

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