January has been a good month. I note from the media as well as comments from friends, colleagues and family that January is the most hated of months. The festive period ends, and we all trudge back to work, the memories erased almost instantly.
I read a fascinating article in the Huffington Post about the life of an author, it was packed with statistics that have stuck with me. The average debut sells 1,000 copies. The average earnings for an author annually are £12,000. And scarily, the top 5% authors take home 50% of the overall earnings. It’s incredible really.
I don’t write for money (which is handy really) but I would like to earn just enough to pay the bills. To be able to give up the fifty-hour-a-week-plus day job and write stories full time. Indeed, my dream is simply to write a novel a year and pay the bills with the income. The above statistics make this somehow seem unlikely.
However, I am not deterred. It is now nine months since my shortlisted debut, The Radio was released. I am fortunate enough to have beaten the average debut sales statistics but I am acutely aware that nine months makes The Radio somehow old news. I read somewhere that the only way to sell more books is to write more books.
And so, after spending a superb morning with Bernie Clifton on the BBC Radio Sheffield Live-ish show in the first week of January I have thrown myself headlong into my new novel The Page. I have been writing this novel, off and on for the last six months. The release of The Radio meant that time for writing my new manuscript was as good as non-existent.
But I realised soon into the New Year, that it was time to really get stuck in to finishing The Page and putting the promotional work to one side. I hope that my debut will sell more once The Page is released. Fortunately, I am on an absolute roll at the moment and have put down around 25,000 words in the last three weeks. It’s shaping up nicely.
So what is the point of this blog entry? It’s not a cry for sympathy. It’s certainly not a moan. I’ve been extremely fortunate so far. I suppose it’s more of an inward look at the mountain still to climb ahead. A reality check if you will, on what it will take to get to where I want to be. What I need to do to write stories to pay the bills.
The other point to this blog is to say thank you. To those who have spent their valuable time reading The Radio. You cannot know how grateful I am and how much of a thrill this is.
Thank you all so much.