Like so many Americans, this week my husband and I gathered our tax information and sighed. And perhaps cried a little.
Ever since I began self-publishing my books, I’ve hated the process of chasing down every expense associated with the production and marketing of my books. There is always the question of what I can and can’t write off. But in the end, I have no choice but to confront the stark reality that I often lose money because I’m an indie author. And with Covid, this year’s figures were bleaker than in the past.
With a heavy heart, I handed over my final tally.
Then, for the rest of that evening and into the next day, I fell into a deep depression. “Why bother” constantly circled through my thoughts. With a blanket over my head and contemplating possibly not rising for dinner, my well-meaning husband suggested that I should be happy not sad at having sold so few books last year.
What? Are you kidding me! I emerged from the blanket and stared at him.
In his mind, being the best-kept secret on the internet was a good thing. It meant, I could write whatever I wanted. There are no expectations. No restrictions placed on me by publishers, readers, or even my own series. If I want to stop writing books altogether and switch to writing screenplays, there’d be no one to disappoint.
Listening to him go on and on about how I’m not on the bestseller list (yet) just deepened my depression. He meant well, so I gave him a pass. I also got out of bed to make dinner to shut him up.
A few days later, our taxes were filed, the checks to the IRS and the state of Georgia sent.
In hindsight, my husband does have a point. But not, I think, the point he meant to make. And that point is…drumroll…for the first time in our entire marriage, I’m no longer required to be the breadwinner for our family. The bills are getting paid, but not by me. This means we no longer live and die according to my book sales. I don’t have to make money on my writing actually – at all.
This makes it less stressful when I sit down in front of a blank screen, knowing that I can concentrate on the art of writing, take as long as I wish to finish a book. I can write poetry without worrying about hitting my self-imposed book-writing deadlines. I can write a blog post without fretting over not finishing that chapter that’s just been sitting.
I can switch it up and become an Instagram poet if I want. Or not…
Okay, so he’s right. There is a kind of freedom to write whatever I want. But what I want to write, what I’m good at writing, I am already writing. So, I will simply persist and stay the course. And, if I am truly fated to remain the best-kept secret on the internet… then I will be a jewel. Sparkling. Brillant. A delightful discovery.
Thanks for stopping by the Chalkboard,