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Why You Will Fail as a Writer: Statistical Analysis

Updated on April 15, 2015
Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin tries to maintain an active position in the Hubpages writing community.

I am a firm believer that the number one purpose of a writing community is to support aspirations, not to ground them. Take our little writing community, for example. Why do you think every rosy article about hard work and persistence paying off does well? It is what we want to hear.

In addition, I am convinced one of the most profitable writing markets today is simply writing to writers and telling them they are going to be successful someday. Just look at most of the supposed self-help writing books out there; they spend more time building you up than they do actually teaching writing technique.

Is there anything wrong with this? Not really. I think most of us wannabe writers, deep down, know the odds are stacked against us. It’s like when the coach gives the rah-rah speech before the game when everyone and their grandma knows the other team will win. We listen to the pep talk, we give the pep talk, because it gives us hope, and though the hoping may be foolish, it feels good to believe, if even for just a moment—and one time in a million, a miracle and we win.

Filthy Lucre!

Try as we might to deny it, we all need money.
Try as we might to deny it, we all need money. | Source

Defining Writing Success: A Modest Proposal

So that being said, am I the one that’s going to cheer you up today? No. There are plenty of people doing that already. Today I’m the asshole that is going to write an article statistically detailing why you’ll probably fail. Sorry.

But why? As I said before, people sure like the rah-rah stuff more than reality. I guess I just think somebody should be out there trying to mind the actual numbers and not blindly promising $1,500 a week jobs to the uninformed and uneducated, and for whatever reason, I feel like I should be that guy.

The statistics I’ll use are a mixture of factual numbers and ballpark guesstimates, so feel free to offer feedback regarding their accuracy. And though the data may not be as refined as I would like, I believe the overall trends of the data to be realistic.

First we must define a couple of factors in our statistical analysis. Let’s start by defining a writing job. Most of us don’t think of things like data entry, secretarial work, advertising, or even most forms of technical writing as the life of an author. Though they may be steady gigs that involve us spending most of our days at a keyboard, let’s not include these.

So what will constitute a writing career in our little analysis? Any writing job where we are called upon to really create: novelist, short story writer, poet, documentarian, newspaper writer, magazine writer, screenwriter, blogger, etc. These are the sorts of jobs that will qualify for our analysis.

Next let’s define success as a writer for the purposes of our statistical analysis. Let’s forgo many of the usual “meaningful” methods of measuring writing success, artistic fulfillment, peace of mind, spiritual enlightenment, and let’s just boil it down to that lowest of common denominators: Money! But how much? Let’s be modest and define writing success as full or near fulltime employment at minimum wage or better.

Opinion:

Do you make a living as a writer?

See results

So...Just How Many Writers Are There?

So now that we’ve defined the desired outcome for our writing career, let’s get into the numbers. The U.S. has roughly 320 million people. Of these 320 million people I would estimate based on no other factor except my experience with people as a teacher and in various other fields that about 20% of them have the ability to write on some professional level.

I know you’re probably thinking that is high, but notice I said have the ability, not the ambition. So of these roughly 64 million people in the U.S. who have the ability to do a credible job of writing, let’s again guesstimate that only half have an inclination towards this art, so 10% or 32 million and change.

Again you’re probably saying that’s a bit high, but experience tells me that a lot of people, if the opportunity were just handed to them, would love to write professionally on some level, but then we have our largest cut. Of these 32 million who would like to write for a living, I would hazard the educated guess that 90% will either never follow through with their ambition or give up within the first few years.

So according to my estimates, if you choose to give them any credibility, there are about 3.2 million people in the U.S. alone trying to make a serious go at a writing career. It is agreed I’ve done a lot of guesswork here, but I don’t feel that is too very far off.

The Motivational Industry's Dirty Little Secret

Positivity doesn't always breed success.
Positivity doesn't always breed success. | Source

Is This a Paying Gig?

So the next question: How many writing jobs as defined above are out there? The answer: There were never all that many, and even fewer now than there once was. Why? The Internet. Imagine Grandpa Simpson shaking his fist at the computer and saying, “It’s evil I tells ya!” Well, if you’re a writer, he’s right.

How could this amazing device that allows millions of us to finally be heard be bad for writing? You might be asking yourself. Or you may say, Before the internet I was never published at all. Now I’m published whenever I want! This may be true, but let me give a few reasons of why this fact is hurting the writer’s pocketbook, not helping.

First off, the blogger, of which I am one: the majority of us work virtually for free. Why? Lots of reasons, the primary two probably being the promise of someday either being discovered or putting together a blog that actually takes off for a good payday. The more of us that follow this dream, the more money blog site owners make and the less chance we have personally of breaking through all that noise.

Then there are the few bloggers who make money. Go to the news page of Google or Yahoo or ESPN, almost all the articles on these sites go for the million hit range, but there probably aren’t 50 sites where the majority of Americans gets 99% of their information.

What’s changed from yesteryear? Dispersal of success. There used to be a newspaper employing fulltime staff in every city of 10,000 people or more. Now, save the major cities, this isn’t true anymore. And even the Old Guard like the New York Times are struggling to keep their heads above water.

And what about creative writing: novels, poetry, short stories and the like? Well, this sort of writing has always been a hard go, and now it’s harder, in part, for some of the same reasons given above: namely, it’s being given away for free.

With stars in our eyes, we give it away on the farfetched hope that a few people might enjoy it, or we try to sell it and it’s bootlegged, or it doesn’t get read because an increasing percentage of the population is getting their entertainment elsewhere.

So what do the numbers say, or more accurately, what do I divinate they tell me? There are just fewer than 40,000 registered cities in the U.S., and while a film or play Mecca like New York or Los Angeles may employ thousands of well-paid writers, even today, most of these cities do not.

For example, I bet there aren’t 5 people experiencing writing success as it was so modestly defined at the beginning of this article in the city where I currently live. Again, I’m pulling these numbers out of the air, and they are worthy of scrutiny, but I put the number of people in the average U.S. city writing creatively at or near fulltime for minimum wage or better at around 20.

In other words, defining success as a writer living in his or her mother’s basement and occasionally being able to take care of one of her bills, there are about 800,000 jobs for the 3.2 million people who have the ambition and stick-to-itiveness to want to write for a living. So if minimum wage is success to you, you got about a 1 in 4 shot.

The Internet has Made the World Smaller

Thus why there are fewer good wriitng jobs.
Thus why there are fewer good wriitng jobs. | Source

Opinion

Will you ever quit writing?

See results

Enough with the Logic Already, Just Make It Stop Hurting!

Now is the point in the article where I’m supposed to pick you up. “So what’s the silver lining, Larry?”

“Probably lead pollution.”

Those of you who pick us up, thank God for you, but I’m just not that guy. I will say this, though, I’m still writing, aren’t I? Whether you’re still reading or not, I’m still writing. What does that mean? Twenty plus years with not even the most modest of success, and I’m still at it.

Gentle reader, I know I’m not the only one. So why do we keep on? Are we stupid? Are we gluttons for pain?

Why do we support one another? Yes, I’m a cynic, but even so, I’m still quick with a kind word to my fellow writer. I’m still always first to try to extract a bit of humor from the absurdity of it all.

And I complain and complain and complain, but I’m still here, and we’re still here for one another. I have long been of the old-fashioned opinion that there is nothing more pathetic in this world than the tears of a grown man, but truth be known of many a night I serenade the Sandman with my own tears. Why? Because I am not allowed to make a living doing the thing I feel I was put on this earth to do: write.

So where is the joy in these countless hours of toil? Stubbornness, maybe? To me there is. Stick with me here, because this is probably as rah-rah as this guy gets. There is a joy in stubbornness, in extending that internationally understood finger to the world that doesn’t accept you and probably never will—and while the fire burns on the water and the ship recedes into the blackness of the brimey deep, how comforting to have your friends by your side.

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    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 19 months ago from Oklahoma

      Paul, you are one of my favorite people. You have fought cancer and cultural identity. I am not what you are, but I love you. I was born a Catholic. I hope your legacy is tremendous.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 19 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      Larry, I really enjoyed reading this article, and I do agree with you that most people will fail financially as writers. Why do I write? I guess it's because I want to be informative and try to give assistance and guidance to others. I also see my writings as part of my legacy. I am sharing this hub with HP followers .

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 21 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I am a passionate reader and love to write because I love it. It's everyday a challenge (being dyslectic) , but story telling gives me a sense of achievement. I think this is what motivates me. Earning money from writing would be great, but I'm very aware how hard it is to sell my novels. Now and then a reader contacts me saying how they loved my stories or novels, and that again gives me encouragement to carry on writing.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 21 months ago from Oklahoma

      Anna: we do it because we love it.

    • annasmom profile image

      annasmom 22 months ago

      Once upon a time ... lol! A very old woman, namely me, attended college with a major in Creative Writing. I remember the concerns, voiced by faculty and family alike, when I expressed no interest in teaching. I also recall being told one in every 300,000 writers is employed and that said employment may be proofing ads. Oh well, I have never been employed as a writer, but I enjoy it none-the-less. I am happy here at HP. I have found other writers here who mean it to be art first, work second.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 23 months ago from Oklahoma

      Tolovaj: thanks for the insight. I'm often not flexible. Some of my favorite types of writing, like creative writing, are the fields one is least likely to succeed in. But I keep at it.

      If I were more willing to enlist my skills in say a more practical form of writing, like product reviews, I might find more success.

    • Tolovaj profile image

      Tolovaj 23 months ago

      Good read! While I belong to those six percent who actually make a living with writing (for full two decades now), I would never suggest anybody to pick writing as a full time job. In my opinion persistence is not the key to success, just like banging the head against the wall rarely produce desirable results.

      In my case the key is flexibility. This is one of those skill which are not thought in schools. I learned it through life and if I look at some successful writers in my favorite genres, I find many examples of people who never really wanted to become writers. It just so happens they acquired enough experience in one or several areas and learned to tell their stories in right place at the right time. That's the kind of flexibility I'm talking about.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Dana: Thanks for the comments. We write because we love to write and just because we become a bit hardened doesn't mean we can't find inspiration. Keep at it because I know you will.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      I found the truths in this hub funny but sad. Five years ago I started out as a struggling passionate writer. Five years later I'm still a struggling, however, less passionate writer. The worst part is, I'm one of those "motivational" people so, if I could now find someone to motivate me, maybe I could get my passion back.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Temptor: What a fun dream to say, no you had your chance and walk away from these unseen publishers we're always trying to apese.

      Thanks so much for dropping by.

    • temptor94 profile image

      Ritu Temptor 2 years ago from India

      Loved your hub! You are right, money is the ultimate goal at some point, and most of us end up writing for free, in the hope of making it big some day though we know that the odds are not if favour. I also have this weird dream that someday if I become rich (not through writing), my past work will get magically recognized and sought after, but I would have the pleasure of turning down many potential publishers saying - "oh but you are too late". :)

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Emese: thanks for stopping by. But at least we are doing what we want to do.

    • Emese Fromm profile image

      EmeseRéka 2 years ago from The Desert

      You are so right! In everything. If I'd think about it, I'd come up with the same statistics. We probably all do. We know. We still hope on some level to make it some day.. . some day that deep down we know might never come, but we can't not write, right? Most of the things I write no one sees, but I just have to write it down. There is one thing though that matters in the end. At least if you have kids. Sooner or later they will read what you write. With that you give them a piece of you that they might not see otherwise. For me, that's the real draw at this moment. And honestly, when another writer reads my stories, and if they comment (like you just did on one of my hubs), it makes my day. We really write for each other. Let's face it, who else, other than a fellow writer can really appreciate us? Thank you for this article! I enjoyed it (though I wish it gave me other information, but that would not be true, would it?)

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Mihnea: me, sarcastic, never:-)

      Thanks for dropping by.

    • Mihnea Andreescu profile image

      Mihnea-Andrei Andreescu 2 years ago from Tilburg

      That's encouraging !Hehe.I enjoyed the ugly truth.I see this hub as a bitter yet godsmacking sattire.Voted up!

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Ajgodinho: thanks so much for the positive write up.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I enjoyed reading this article (Hub) because I actually enjoy pretty much anything in life that goes against the grain. As they say the truth hurts and not too many people want to do that job because you are sometimes made to look like a dream stealer. When I've done so, I've enjoyed writing. That's one of the main reasons I do it. In today's shifting online world, I think it's better to focus on building one's own web properties. How long will HubPages survive the ever-changing Google's algos? I guess only time will tell. All the best to you!

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Lila: when you go into writing with the intention of being fulfilled, you will most likely be successful. When you go into it with the express intent of making money, you will most likely be disappointed.

      Thanks so much for the thoughtful comments.

    • Lila Raines profile image

      Lila Raines 2 years ago

      I love your realistic approach which is much needed for new writers. I've been writing professionally for a couple of years now and my writing career is just starting to pick up speed. However, it has taken hundreds of blog posts, dozens of articles, several e-books, and a couple of award winning film scripts to get to this point. Beyond the financial gain, writing has been personally rewarding and the friendships and it has created and sustained have made the journey worthwhile.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Frozen Ink: and it is very nice to have a chance. Thanks so much for the uplifting comments.

    • frozenink profile image

      frozenink 2 years ago

      "Whether you’re still reading or not, I’m still writing"

      Don't worry, Larry. I read word for word of everything that you wrote. I think this is a very practical Hub. When the Internet gave chance to everyone, it is not easy to get pass the "noise". But at least we get a chance to express ourselves - and that's beautiful. And yes, the most comforting thing is that we know we are here for one another. Voted up and awesome.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      You can make money. I recently got my 1st payday, but as far as eking out a livin, it's a hard go.

      I write for the enjoyment, too.

      Thanks so much for the comments.

    • Trisca Andrei profile image

      Trisca Andrei 2 years ago from Piatra Neamt - Romania

      I just started writing... at first because i heard it can be made into some money...but now that i started...i kinda like it...i never think that this will give me money but maybe with a bit of luck it will.

      I will keep writing on HubPages about the stuff i like and enjoy...and if there is an income...then horay...if not...then it's no big deal.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Ebonny: wonderful response. I'm all for being a "happier poverty stricken writer". Great line!

    • Ebonny profile image

      Ebonny 2 years ago from UK

      Glad you wrote this - we have to be realistic and still the therapeutic rewards of writing are a great motivation. Getting something you feel passionate about out there is great, and maybe, just maybe, giving someone else some food for thought, even if they disagree, is a reward that can be just priceless. Makes for a somewhat happier poverty stricken writer!

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Buildreps: Great comments. I would like to make money, but I'm a writer either way:-) I didn't write this so much to be negative as to let folks know what they are in for.

    • Buildreps profile image

      Buildreps 2 years ago from Europe

      Interesting article, Larry. To earn serious money on this writing is simply impossible. I had a Hub that went viral, which I deleted because I didn't like the subject myself (Bubblews), but HP did altogether max 1 dollar per day. Now it's just 0.1 per day average. I'm not complaining, because I'm not in it for the money. But if you are it's just very little chance to get there, and to stay there. I think the last is even harder these days. Great article. Voted up!

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Catherine: you're right. Success definitely is in the eye of the beholder. Thanks for dropping by.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      It all depends on how yu define being successful as a writer. Get filthy rich? Earn a modest living? Get a little pin money? Or maybe money doesn't even enter into it. maybe success is the felling of joy you get from a job well-done. Or the feeling you get when a total stranger wants to "follow" you. Not the follows you get on HP which can be based on self-interest, but the follow you get from someone purely because he enjoys your writing and wants to be sure he doesn't miss whatever you write next. Well done hub. Voted up++

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Valeant: I think we all do:-)

    • Valeant profile image

      JOC 2 years ago from Syracuse, NY

      I wish I could live the dream.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      Thank you Larry. I also have the ambition to write and I learn from my errors. I use FAQ and Learning Center, plus I read and find errors in books on the stands - both fiction and non-fiction. I try to proofread my own writing so that I can correct all errors before I publish, or post, and I intend to become a better proofreader - and writer.

      Kevin

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Kevin: loved your comments. We write because we need to. I think that has always been true. We'd all like to make money, but regardless, we're drawn to words. We keep writing anyway.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      Since I was in elementary grade I was drawn to words and writing. I won a spelling bee in about 7th grade with antidisestablishmentarianism.

      Later, I wanted to know about word history and etymology. In HS I began writing. I am writing online now because I am stuck at home and I have reviewed other jobs.

      I am not a salesman, telephone person, email person, etc. I tried writing and was drawn to it. I have stuck with it.

      I voted this up, shared and pinned it.

      Kevin

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Fat Boy Thin: it is so hard to offer constructive criticism because so many of us wear our hearts on our sleeves. I'm as guilty of it as anybody.

      That said, if we could remain level, all of us can benefit from at least a bit of honesty.

      Thanks for the comments.

    • FatBoyThin profile image

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Good to hear a chunk of negativity about us writers - I've always thought there were too many folk out there telling each other how great they all are. Of course, it's important to have feedback on our work but we also have to be able to take it, too. I once wrote a piece as a response to a friend who asked for an opinion on her story. Trouble is, she didn't like what I had to say!

      I think 'real' writers will continue to write, come what may, but perhaps it would be useful for the less skilled folk to have that old reality check once in a while. Great Hub, Larry, voted up.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Pawpaw: always count on me to be the wet blanket:-) There is always the potential to succeed financially, but few of us ever will. Most of us really just write because we need to.

      Thanks for the comments and the follow.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 2 years ago from Kansas

      Oh rats. Reality is always ruining my party.

      I think I write now, because I need to, not because I want to, or expect success.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Nahla: in a nutshell, more willing souls than there are positions.

    • profile image

      Nahla 2 years ago

      But why do they fail? I don't feel I got this in the end.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
      Author

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Beserian: all very feasible ways to make a buck writing, but my point is that statistically speaking, we still have the problem of too many writers for too few positions.

      Thanks for the comments.

    • Besarien profile image

      Besarien 2 years ago

      I am just a hobbyist writer. Unlike many hobbies, writing doesn't need to cost very much. I don't have to purchase expensive equipment, buy a boat, or travel to some remote part of the world to write in order to write. There are even times I have made a little money by doing it as a hobby. If my hobby were, say, basketball, which is also an incredibly cheap hobby- I'd have to be brilliant before I could earn a dime.

      As far as I can tell, publishing books, writing ebooks, or selling articles online is the most difficult way to make money by writing these days. Straight up blogging still has the potential to be lucrative, if you are talented and very smart about it. Selling fiction as advertising or speech writing can earn even a mildly talented writer more money than most of us need to live comfortably. Writing for TV or reality shows can't possibly require the next Nobel laureates either, though it is probably harder for most writers to break into those markets without already having connections.

      One other avenue that seems under-rated to me is donating writing services to a charity. First of all, it looks great on any resume and might lead to paying work. Secondly, you could feel great about using your skills to help your favorite causes. Who knows, maybe a clever accountant could figure out how to make those hours pay in tax write offs too.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Suzette: much of my data is based on estimates, but yeah, the odds are against you. Yet we still all tend to keep at it because we love to hope.

      Thanks for the comments.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      I have to agree with you. The odds are pretty much stacked against us. No award winning writer I know of has started out on HP. But, I have enjoyed the feedback I get here and I really write for myself. Do I want to be able to sell my writing? Of course, and eventually I might, but if I do it will probably be on a small basis. I do agree with your statistics!

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Kevin: we're all hoping for that big break, but if it doesn't happen, the joy is in doing what you love.

      Thanks so much for the support.

    • The Examiner-1 profile image

      The Examiner-1 2 years ago

      Larry,

      This was true for those of us who are willing to give it up but I have not been here (on HP) for long and I am still learning. I have, or have not, found my my niche and I am willing to start small and climb the ladder. I voted this up, shared and pinned it.

      Kevin

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Nadine: great comments. I certainly don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, they should just know what the reality is going on.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Your hub again confirmed for me that no matter how passionate or diligent writers are, today authors need to spend at least five hours marketing their online writing , by ....writing! I will share your post with our authors, because they often blame us (publishers) for the lack of sales. Every new author we publish has stars in their eyes. Understandable, but when I tell them that with my five published books I'm lucky if I could pay for dinner for two once a month at a restaurant, then they look shocked. Now I have their attention when I stress the marketing issues. I then add that the joy I receive from all the readers of my books, articles and blogs (4 of them) not to mention the social network groups I belong to, these interactions keeps me going and somehow my bills get paid, but always at the last minute! If they are still keen to get published, then I have warned them. Voted up!

    • Larry Rankin profile image
      Author

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Lots of great writers have not written lengthy works.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i do write but I can't write length hubs, maybe I am not born to be a writer

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Torrilynn and Chris: great comments. I think sometimes it is considered not artistic to want to make money, but I don't think it's that us writers are greedy sellouts, we just want to make enough to live.

    • Chriswillman90 profile image

      Krzysztof Willman 2 years ago from Parlin, New Jersey

      A very real portrayal of the life of a writer. Writers write because they are passionate, and they hope that passion translates towards making a living, but we know that's extremely difficult. The same applies to people who vlog and post videos on YouTube. They think they'll go viral and generate a ton of money but the reality is quite the opposite. But I guess it's our hope that one day we'll be heard by millions and generate a wage worth living on that keeps us going. There's always a what if for writers even though it's like playing the lottery. This hub was authentic and well written, voted up.

    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 2 years ago

      interesting read. i feel that even if one fails or doesn't accomplish the goals that they have set for themselves as a writer, then they should continue to write especially if it is their passion to do so.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      One that we enjoy!

    • Larry Rankin profile image
      Author

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Glad to hear you're still fighting the good fight, Lawrence. We keep coming back to this word addiction. I think that's an accurate one. It's a real addiction.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 2 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      It may be statistically true we're not going to succeed but it never stopped me in the past and it 'ain't gonna' now!

      Really enjoyed the hub and reality check but I'm learning and enjoying it too much to want to stop (maybe I'm addicted?)

      Blessings

      Lawrence

    • Larry Rankin profile image
      Author

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Flourish: always a joy when you drop by. Seems like I'm always having commercials that contradict my message, and it is amusing.

      As to the trashy novel circuit, a good gig money wise, but the same problem, too many writers to jobs.

      Btw, please don't leave us. Our little world would be sadder without you in it.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

      I love your conclusion and find it slightly funny that at the bottom and side of this hub are "Get Paid to Write" ads of unknown credibility. If I don't start making some money soon, I'm going to start writing trashy novels. Then I'll flourish.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
      Author

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Venkatachari: very true.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 2 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Interesting hub about writers, their aspirations, dreams and reality. The picture is very bleak. But, we writers are passionate about writing and we can not leave this passion whatever may be the reality.

    • Larry Rankin profile image
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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Alicia: here is my ordeal, I am a logical being deadset on an illogical venture. Sorry to sound like Spok here:-)

      I'll go even further: I can't quit. In this life I've gave up some nasty dependencies, from tobacco to abusive relationships, but writing, I could never give up that.

      In the Odyssey there is a scene where Odysseus's men are taken by the allure of some impossibly addictive opiate. Contented by no other joy in the world, they stand by this drug. And this is me and the joy/pain of writing.

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      Linda Crampton 2 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      This is an interesting hub, Larry. I love your last paragraph. Your conclusion matches my own. I love writing and won't give it up. I will write somewhere and in some form as long as I am physically and mentally able to. There is most definitely a joy in stubbornness, exactly as your last sentence states!

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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Kalinin: I am glad you found some inspiration here, and it wasn't exactly the opposite of my intentions.

      I think writers can find inspiration from the humblest of things. If not, there probably wouldn't be any of us.

      I am glad to have your following, and I look forward to following you.

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      Lana ZK 2 years ago from California

      Even though it wasn't your intention, this hub was inspiring to me. I think many wanna-be writers, myself included, feel inadequate and alone in our journey (or struggle) to make a living as a writer.

      I do feel like I'm fighting against almost impossible odds, and although I do have some success as an author, most of my writing I do for free, on platforms like this one. I tried to whip HP into something that could possibly be a nice little supplemental income, with not much success, and in all honesty, I keep going because of what I also could only assume to be stubbornness, a refusal to accept defeat. And hope. Hope that one day something happens that will catapult me into the world of successful (whatever the definition is) writing.

      Thanks for the hub! For what it's worth, I think you're a great writer and I'll be back to read more from you. Voted up

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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Thank you Larry, no offense taken.

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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Mel: I didn't mean cynic in a mean way. I like your biting whit. It permeates much of your writing, and it's a big draw for me.

      You also do a wonderful job of finding a grounded positivity in most things while not being afraid to call things what they are, warts and all.

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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      Wow, I knew I was a cynic but I didn't know it came across as that obvious. Just think of that unfortunate "job" as what you have to do to make money, not your real vocation or your true purpose on Earth.

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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Jamie: it all has to do with how you define success as a writer. No, not many of us are lining our pockets.

      Thanks so much for dropping by.

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      Jamie Lee Hamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

      The problem I have with my writing is I can't stop writing! It seems that no matter how the reality is worded or how frustated I become I still write and want to share. I write poetry though, so the idea of monetary reward or "fame" is not really on my radar. If I can entertain at least one reader here or there, I consider myself successful. Jamie

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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Mel: I was thinking of you when I decided to go cynical. So glad you caught my nod to Swift.

      No, I don't think I'll be eating babies anytime soon, but something far worse: I'll have to work a real job again, yech!

      Loved your extension of the macabre imagery.

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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Bill: But we're in it together, and there is nothing else we'd rather do with our lives.

      And sometimes crazy can be fun.

      Your comments are always appreciated, Bill.

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      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      We are all sinking into the North Atlantic on our writer's Titanic as the violinists on that increasingly slanting deck just won't stop playing. I hope the members of your Forlorn Writer's Group of SW OK are not eating babies for lunch as you contemplate your modest proposals. Your poverty hasn't come to that yet, has it? This hub was a breath of fresh air. I get tired of the rah rah hubs and I know how impossible the dream is, but the thrill is in the chase.

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      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Only 320 million? Hell, Larry, I like my odds. LOL

      Everything you said is true, my friend. We're all nuts. :)

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      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Katelyn: it's like they say, "Don't write for the money." Except though we say it, most of us would like a bit of the money, lol.

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      Katelyn Weel 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I enjoyed reading this! Good dose of reality without sounding too cynical about it. I've been a member of this site for about five years, and I have no intention of quitting. I have only written a few hubs, just one or two which get any significant amounts of traffic, and it only picks up a little bit of pocket change every month. I like having the idea in my head that if I really wanted to I could go write a bunch more good hubs here and make some more money, I just haven't bothered. Once in a while I get inspired to write a new article on something I find interesting or useful, but I don't think about the money. That is just a nice little (and I mean little) bonus.