So you can read my books

Saturday, October 26, 2013


"Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1."
The odds of dying from a dog bite and the chances of becoming a saint are both 1 in 20 million.
I think sainthood is safe from me.  The dog bite maybe not so much ... and Victor, no jokes about my dates.
The odds are against us ever being a self-supporting, much less a popular author.  We say we know it ... but sometimes the days get dark.
If you go back 10 generations (250 years) the chance of you being born at all is at most 1 divided by 6 x 10100


1 in 60000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000 000000000000000000000000000000000000.

In gambling, even a chance of 1 to 100 is not worth a gamble.

That you are even alive to read this stellar post of mine is a miracle in and of itself!

You are the result of many generations of survivors. One of the people that died prematurely could have been your Dad or your Dad's Dad and so on.

Somehow, none of your forefathers died before passing on his genes to the next man in your lineage. Because of the deaths from war, disease, and famine, most human lineages died out. 

Yet, here you are!

And you are still brooding about the odds of becoming a successful writer.

Thriller author James Patterson made $94 million in 2012, according to Forbes.

He's one of 145,900 American "writers and authors" counted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a quarter of them part-time, two-thirds of them self-employed,

and with median earnings of $55,420.

Alice Wentworth just glared at Victor for snickering at that figure compared with my earnings, currently keeping company with the NAUTILUS.

With electronic self-publishing, it's become easier than ever to be "an author." And harder than ever to get attention to your work.

Most successful authors have some combination of talent, persistence, and luck. The persistence stories are always encouraging. And daunting.

Mystery writer Janet Evanovich pulled in $33 million last year, but wrote for ten years before getting published. She labored first in the romance field before hitting it big with bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.

Stephen King's first big novel, Carrie, was rejected 30 times. He tossed it in the wastebasket but his wife fished it out. He earned $39 million in 2012.

John Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill, was rejected 12 times, and he unsuccessfully tried to sell copies from the trunk of his car. He earned $26 million last year.

Judy Blume, who has sold 80 million books, got nothing but rejections for two straight years.

Steve Berry, 10 million books, collected 85 rejections over 12 years before breaking through.

You need to connect with the right person on the right day.


All you can do is write and try. And write and try. Most of the famous authors above did just that, for years and years.

But be warned:

Writing is thankless work.

It is like housework. It is like laundry. It is like a soap opera. It is never finished.

There is always more to do.

People may tell you that you are good, but you won’t believe them, or you will believe them too much, or you will not know who to believe,

least of all yourself and this thing you created that is nothing more than a mess of letters trying to make sense of things that don’t: life, death, what happens in between.

You spend your life executing a plan built on the quicksand fantasy that something you’ve done —

 given birth, written a book, led a company — will make a lasting impact.

It won’t. 

Then, again, with writing, it just might.

Writing is a vow to outlive yourself.


My 1st SERIAL TRILOGY continues

And don't forget my FREE 


  1. Writing is many, many things but it's nothing like laundry or any drudgery! Don't get me wrong I know what you mean, but as a person who does both, writing is a blessing, yes sometimes a curse, but even then it is hand over fist better than any other mindless task out there! LOL
    I say that, just before I leave my computer, my newest WIP, to go put another load in the washer! :)
    Great post - it's not about the money - but oh, wouldn't that be NICE! It's all about the creativity and the sharing and acceptance of the art even if just by a few! Besides it's the journey - and just imagine what wonderful stores we'll be able to tell when we hit those numbers! Everyone has a story - even the one to success, just depends on how you measure that success - Dollar by dollar or million by million! :)
    Happy Halloween, Roland!

  2. "Writing is thankless work. Writing is a vow to outlive yourself."
    - True except it makes me feel good to write, I love words and storytelling.

    "It is like housework. It is like laundry. It is like a soap opera. It is never finished."
    - Housework and laundry - also thankless, but necessary, like editing. Soap operas - don't watch them.

    "There is always more to do."
    - A reason for living, writing, and not giving up.

    Hope you have more sun than we do. It's gray and cool here today.

  3. Yolanda:
    Like laundry, writing, for me, must be done regularly. :-)

    Yes, to be accepted even if it by one with your writing is awesome beyond words. To hear that your book hit them personally can make it all worthwhile, can't it?

    It is sunny here today -- which is good because I hate to drive my rare blood runs in the rain.

    I don't watch soap operas either but I know they go on, and on ... and on! :-)

    Be like Han Solo: never give up, right?

  4. The odds were against me when I started writing for magazines last year but I ignored those odds and now I am a regular contributor. If you thought too much about your chances too much, you'd never tap that keyboard again!

  5. wendy:
    Hearing success stories like yours is what helps keep the rest of us going. Thanks! :-)

  6. Yes, the odds of great success (however you want to define it) are pretty darn long. But they're infinitely better than the would be if you didn't try at all.

  7. "You need to connect with the right person on the right day." That's the hard part and so much of it is luck, though I've heard it said that the only failed writer is the one who gives up.

  8. Haven't checked in with you for a while, and I do enjoy you so much.

    Write, write, write--that is the best thing of all.

  9. Thank you for putting Han Solo right after the title of this post! :-)

    Luck. I think luck is the main ingredient here.
    We are not writing (just) for money. If this were (just) a business, what would be the point of continuing, if success were nowhere in sight?...
    We write because we couldn't not write. Because weaving stories is weaving wondrous lives for ourselves too. Because writing is like breathing. (That's why I write.)

    Yes... Writing is a vow to outlive yourself. Archaeologists of the future will 'dig' on the Internet and find our posts, and poems, and books, and wonder about us just as we wonder looking at a Sumerian clay tablet... :-)

  10. Yesterday, I was thinking about this. It can be depressing. But yes, our work will out live us.

    Good post, Roland!

    Hugs and chocolate,

  11. Outliving myself -- that may be what drives me as a writer. I want my characters to live long after I've departed from the earth, and they're all clamoring to be released into the world!

  12. Terry:
    Yes, the way to guarantee failure is never to try!

    Luck is the one thing we can't provide our writing. We can only be prepared should lightning strikes, right?

    To write your tale into being is such a feeling that words pale to describe it. I've missed your visits. :-)

    I wonder if the world wide net will outlive Man? We write because we must -- it would be nice though to be able to support ourselves with our dreams! Han Solo is the writer's mascot!! :-)

    Emily Dickinson only became widely read AFTER her death. Let's hope our novels are appreciated when we have the health to enjoy it!!

    To have Sam, Victor, and Hibbs be enjoyed by later generations would be nice. It makes me smile.

  13. I, too, agree that "luck" is the largest ingredient in the writing recipe. Good writing is just a bonus to editors these days.

  14. Wendy:
    I guess another word for "Luck" might be "Timing" - hit the receptive influencial person at the "write" time! :-)