"Behold the fool saith, 'Put not all thine eggs in the one basket'--which is but a manner of saying, 'Scatter your money and your attention;' but the wise man saith, 'Put all your eggs in the one basket and--WATCH THAT BASKET.'" - Mark Twain
It's funny to me how people look at success. There are so many exemplary stories of success surrounding us that it's tough to really decide how to proceed sometimes, but many people just sort of point and either talk about why the particular story they're looking at couldn't possibly happen to them, or they opine about how the subject in question got lucky or--something darker.
For example, there was a show on some time ago called "How'd You Get So Rich?" in which Joan Rivers would go interview people who were--well, rich. I remember one episode about a multi-millionaire who'd gotten to the "rich" point by inventing--wait for it--those gross-looking fake teeth. Interestingly, the show mentioned that he wasn't rich when he'd come up with the idea, and that he'd set himself up in his home selling them, and, um, well, I don't recall them covering much else other than the fact that sales went well. Thus did the show put weight behind the idea that if you come up with something good, it'll magically sell well and you'll be rich. I don't buy it, really. There must have been some struggles, some time when somebody said "you want to sell ugly teeth?" and followed with a string of lewd suggestions on where he could best position his teeth for marketability. I know it because that's how the world seems to be.
There have been many success stories in this silly business of authoring, too, some of which I've discussed in previous blog posts. One author I follow, JA Konrath, posted a fairly provocative announcement on his own blog a few days ago on the matter:
"One hundred grand. That's how much I've made on Amazon in the last three weeks."
It's tough to read that as an aspiring author and not stand up and say "wow wee!" or, well, something to that effect. On the other hand, I've been following Konrath for quite a while, and I know what he went through to get to this point. Others haven't, though, so it was unsurprising to read his follow-up blog post soon after:
"My story about making $100,000 in three weeks on Kindle is getting widely passed around, and I've noticed that folks are reacting in a few specific ways.
1. Some are happy for me, and for the possibilities this opens up for them. They know the work and struggle that went into getting here.
2. Some keep perpetuating that false meme that it was my legacy books responsible for my success. I'm tired of debunking that one. It is 100% false.
3. Some think I'm telling the whole world that becoming successful is easy and that anyone can get rich by self-pubbing ebooks.
4. Some keep insisting that I must be some sort of marketing genius and they want to know what I've done to get here."
None of that really surprises me. I'll keep from stealing the rest of Joe's thunder; please, go read his post if you haven't already. It's just funny to me that, after all this time, people who follow Konrath's blog would have any reaction other than #1.
That's funny in the not really humorous way, of course.
It is awesome to see Konrath's success. It's also awesome to see follow the other handful of tremendously successful authors who've made it big as Indies. A key point, though, is that none of them, to my knowledge, did it with their first book. Or their second. Or in their first year--well, actually, there was one guy who was pretty successful in his first year. Most, though, took a while.
This post, in fact, can be thought of as Verse 2 of the one I wrote a couple of days ago where I discussed Stephen King's (the other one's) book. In it, he flat-out tells authors that most won't make it, because even if they are successful enough to have their first book published, it won't do very well in sales, and it probably won't be a very good book, and they won't make enough money off of it to justify having worked on it for several months. This turns them off from the effort, for the most part, which is why you see an awful lot of books available on Amazon from an author who only wrote one.
Writing success just doesn't come that way.
Hell, success in general just doesn't come that way.
Speaking of success--if I'm going to ensure my own, I've got to get back to writing my upcoming book. Stay tuned and keep watching my site at www.theotherstephenking.com for updates; Book 2 is slated to be released February 10, and Book 3 will be sometime in April.