The Point of Giving Up

Today I realised something painful and distressing, something I don’t want to admit to but something I have to face sooner or later.  People don’t like my writing and they just aren’t interested in even taking a look.

This hurts me in many ways, which I won’t go into to save you thinking (as you naturally would) that this is a sob story.  Suffice to say that I feel deflated and disheartened to the point that I’m thinking of giving up writing altogether.

People just refuse to buy my books and they won’t even come here to the blog and read the free excerpts and free short stories I have here.  I check the stats and can see how many visit and click so I know what I’m saying is true.

What I don’t know is whether this is because the market is so over saturated with indie published books that there’s too much choice, or whether it just because my work is shit.  And, it’s no use asking you because you never read my stuff so how would you know if it’s shit or not?

The only thing I can say is that deep in my heart I didn’t start writing to make money.  I started writing in June 2011 because one night, as I sat at the computer, something overwhelmed me and I began to write.  8 hours later, at 4am I dragged myself away from the computer to bed and knew I had the beginnings of a whole book at last.  Having wanted to write a book since I was a kid, here I was approaching 50 and finally I was writing a book.  I write because my soul demands that I write.  I write because there is something or someone standing beside me, telling me their story and telling me that I’m the one they’ve chosen to tell it to the world.  I write because it’s the only way to get my voice heard and yes, I do have a voice that has been screaming to get out for fifty years.

So should I give up or continue?  I don’t know.  Maybe I should just write and save everything to a disc or a memory stick and ask for it to be buried with me when I die, or kill myself, whichever is sooner.  Maybe I should stop.  One thing is for sure, I’m not giving everything away for free.  If I’m not worthy of a few pennies of your money, you’re not worthy of weeks of my time and energy.  If I write and no one sees what I write, the universal consciousness will know I’ve written and my words will be a part of the flow of the universe, whether heard or unheard by these creatures who were, so recently, grunting apes.

I read someone the other week who was also contemplating giving up, for similar reasons, and one thing they said stuck in my mind.  They said “you disappoint me greatly, all of you.  You stand with hands open when in need but turn your backs when in plenty.  You are so consumed by greed that you cannot even open your mouth and offer genuine encouragement to someone who is doing something that you cannot.”  I don’t know whether I’d go quite that far, but he’s got a point..!

The book market is over saturated with books, thanks to the indie publishing revolution, and much of it is tripe.  Those works that are good get lost amongst the trash, not because they are not worthy but because they are buried in rubbish and people are tired of wading through the excrement of uneducated minds to find those words that inspire and set their imaginations aflame.

I’m hoping the market crashes, and soon.  Maybe then a few brave souls will find my work and read it.


  1. Eighteen years ago, I gave up. There was no eBook revolution back then, but the results for me were the same. After some early successes all the doors were suddenly. It seemed working as a professional writer wasn’t going to happen. I packed it in and moved on to other things.

    Strangely, it didn’t depress me. I didn’t feel like I’d failed. I didn’t make excuses. The stars just didn’t seem lined up. I found a release for creative urges in other things; music, photography, and ended up making a good living as a freelance artist, of all things – something I had NEVER expected to do. Moving on ended up being a good thing.

    But I’m not saying that to get you to stop writing! Heavens, no! If you really have a burning desire to write, then you can’t quit. Writing won’t let you. Janis made a great point: Writing for the joy of it is essential.

    I quit. But I came back. After eighteen years, I too was approaching fifty. I knew that I had left some unfinished business on the table. That’s when I thought to give writing another shot, and I’m really glad I did.

    But writing for joy, and writing for sales are two very different beast, and one should never confuse the two. When I was much younger I made the mistake of thinking what I liked was marketable. It wasn’t (I wrote crazy, crazy shit). Writing to sell takes a different, more analytical approach. You have to understand your target market, and you have to thoroughly understand the strengths and weaknesses of your own writing.

    You ask a good question about whether your writing is shit or not. This is a question I wish more writers would ask of themselves. Friends won’t answer that for you, so you’ll need people around you who won’t pull punches. Sometimes brutal feedback is the best tonic. And having other writers read your stuff isn’t always a great thing. Writer’s have their own agenda’s. Submitting to publishers IS a good idea. They’ll tell you exactly what they think and whether or not you’re on the right track. Careful though, the results can be devastating.

    If you ever need some friendly encouragement I would invite you to participate in our Saturday SciFi-Fantasy web-ring .

    1. I agree Cary and I write because I have to write. It won’t let me be. I don’t write for sales and it’s a good job as I’d starve if I didn’t have a day job. The problem with submitting to publishers today is that most of them won’t accept submissions unless they’re through agents and no one, agents or publishers, ever critiques your work. They just say “no thanks.”

  2. I feel your pain! I have been in the same place for some time. I don’t believe in giving up though and I am learning not to write because other’s “might” like what I read. I write because I enjoy writing. It is fun and therapeutic at the same time. I write for me, and if I decide to publish then I will. At first I thought being an Indie author was awesome because it was a way for me to publish and not have to wait for another rejection slip to roll in. But you know what, I am finding that excitement was short lived and though I have a few books out there the Indie way, I have chosen to go back to traditional publishing and using a pen name to help differentiate from my “other” books. Being an Indie author just doesn’t give you that validation that “Yes! They accepted me! My work is good!” I am not against those authors who who do go the Indie route, honestly I have joined several Indie author groups and instead of talking about writing or critiquing work, it is all about whose book is free today, or “I just published this book. Check it out!” It grows old so fast. I agree the market is over-saturated with books now and it is a shame. So many good authors are getting buried by other “stuff”. Please, don’t give up. How can good writers rise to the mountain top, if we let ourselves get buried, one snowflake at a time?

    1. Hi Janis and thank you for commenting. I felt the same when I first self published, it was an awesome moment but yes, the drop off happens very quickly. I get sick of the competitiveness of other indies and as you say, it’s all ‘look at me, look at me.’ I will continue but will adjust my mindset from now on and concentrate on just enjoying it and bringing out the best product I can.

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