Communion Of Dreams

What’s valued.
October 4, 2011, 9:44 am
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Art, Ballistics, Guns, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Society, Writing stuff

As a side-line, I’m a writer for Mostly what are called ‘features’ but are actually akin to a newspaper column, plus some reviews and other things now and again. I generally write about one piece a week. It’s fun, they let me write about just anything I want, and I like the discipline of sitting down to write a column of a specific length and focus as I did when I was writing about the arts for my local paper. It doesn’t pay much, but for the approximately 20,000 words I’ve written for them this year, I’ve made over a thousand dollars. And I’m told by my editor that I’m considered one of the best and most popular writers for the site, but that could just be blowing smoke. Regardless, I know that thousands of people see almost everything I write there, and the direct feedback I get is very positive. I consider the hour or two I put into writing each article to be time well spent.

So far this month we haven’t sold any copies of Her Final Year. Last month we sold 11. All told, we’ve sold about 30. That’s about 10% of what we need to sell just to break even on out-of-pocket expenses.

I’m honestly surprised by this. Oh, I know that it takes time for word to get around, that times are tight for people. Et cetera. But by about this point in time, my novel had been downloaded over 2,000 times (currently the total is well over 30,000 downloads). And that launched with less of a promotional effort than we put behind HFY, without the supporting structures of social media and forums dedicated to care-giving.

Granted, Communion of Dreams is free. But it is also just an e-book. You can’t (yet) get a paperback copy of it to keep, or to give as a gift. And while I think that it is well written, Her Final Year is a much better and more powerful book.

This isn’t meant to be a “woe is me, please buy my book” plea. Rather, it is just an observation on what is valued by our culture. Writing about firearms is. I get paid for that, and know that it is well received. Writing fiction is. Word of my novel spread widely, and it remains popular (some 636 people downloaded it last month.) Even writing about the arts was valued – my newspaper columns generated a little income, and were once again fairly popular.

Writing about care-giving? Not so much, it seems. I wonder why that is.

Jim Downey

(Cross posted from the HFY blog.)

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