When my year eight students first learned I’m a writer, they wanted to know why I was teaching, since I must be rich.
JK Rowling, you have a lot to answer for.
Of course, the reality is, most authors need second and third jobs to make ends meet.
So why do we write?
I can’t answer for other writers, but truth is, I’m trying hard to turn my writing into a viable business. I would love to be able to make a living as a full-time writer.
But that’s not why I write, nor is it the most important measure of success in my opinion.
More important to me are comments like these from readers and readers’ mums:
“I haven’t seen my son this excited by a book since Harry Potter!”
“I read your book in one day!”
“Three generations of our family read and loved your book.”
“My son’s not a big reader, but he’s devouring your books.”
“My kids sat with a map, tracing the travels of your characters.”
“You brightened our days.”
“Your books are as re-readable as Harry Potter.”
“You’re my favourite author.”
To me, one positive comment from a satisfied reader is worth a thousand sales. As a writer, I want to share worlds, introduce new friends, and communicate ideas. I want to make people feel things. If I’ve done that, it is enough.
Would it be nice to also be able to pay the mortgage with my writing? You bet. Maybe someday I will.
New Zealand punches above its weight when it comes to writers, and there are lots of local authors writing great books for kids. Come out and support them at the Tamariki Book Festival on 22 November. Who knows? You may meet your next favourite author!