They had story ideas. They wrote them down and became fabulously wealthy and famous over night. Fairy tales can come true-it can happen to you if you're young at heart.
People who don't write believe this can happen. They can name names. Writers starting out believe this can happen. They can name names.
It's fun and exciting.
But, no one tells you about the hard part. The work that goes into it. The hours at the computer. The hours of research needed for setting and background. The swollen hands, the hurt wrists, the aching back, the broadening seat, the crooked neck. They don't tell you about the hours spent searching out over used words. Digging out repetitive sentences. Making excel spread sheets for names and character descriptions. The work behind plotting and weaving subplots. The hook at the beginning and end of every chapter, every scene. The work behind crafting dialogue and transitions. The need for worsening conflict. The black moment that ruins it all and then somehow magically repairs everything for a happy ending.
They don't tell you that once you get through all that there is the research into agents and publishers. The query letter writing to get an agent or editor. The marketing work-where my book fits. Who wants to read it? How can I stand out? The website that is needed. The blogs to write- whether one of your own or ones you visit. The twitter/facebook/myspace/yahoogroups/google+ work that goes into getting people-agents, editors, readers to even know you are a person with a completed work and it's good!
Then there is the figuring out who your audience is and how to find them and how to market to them. We try giveaways and contests and reviewers. There are interviews and workshops and on-line classes to develop and give all in the name of getting noticed.
The coming of the digital age means there are a lot more books out. A lot more choices for readers and even more competition. Those who indie publish have the added work of editing, cover design, up loading, up keeping (checking for errors in all formats) and watching the numbers daily to see if they should adjust a price or make a list.
So many talented people with loyal fan bases never become fabulously wealthy. In the end we laugh at how we were so certain we would be the next big thing. Instead of writing in hopes of winning, we now write out sheer joy and the knowledge that our stories do change lives. Maybe not as many as JK Rowling, but that doesn't make us any less fabulous. What it makes us is a little more frugal and a lot more in touch with our readers who struggle everyday just as we do. We are in this life together, and if I can write something that makes your day in some little way, then that makes me happy and happy beats wealthy every time. Cheers